Artist: Cintia Segovia Figueroa
Exhibition: Mexico Already Changed
Media: Video Projection, Robotics
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Max L. Gatov Gallery East
About the Artist
Cintia Segovia Figueroa was born in Mexico City and attended Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education. In this private university, she completed her undergraduate studies in Mass Communication. It is during this time that she was exposed to privileged and wealthy kids. Cintia moved to the United States six years ago and learned the English language as an adult. Cintia became interested in photography when she was seventeen years old. Currently, Figueroa is a graduate student pursuing her MFA in the School of Art’s Photography program. Besides being a student, she also teaches digital photography at Cal State Northridge.
Upon entering the exhibition, one is greeted by a projection of slogans and words in a white font with a black background. The projection’s lines are perfect straight lines. On the wall right next to the projection is a video. In the video, we can see Cintia filling in the role of a news reporter dressed in a suit. The video is in color and lasts for around two minutes and thirty eight seconds. Lastly, there is a robot resembling a car going around the room asking questions. If I’m not mistaken, it is the voice of Stephen Hawking. There is a miniature Mexican flag protruding from the robotic car. There is also overly cheerful music that raises expectations playing from the projection of slogans and words.
In her work, Cintia explores the corruption of the Mexican government as well as classism in Mexican society. To start off, the projection of slogans and words in a white fond are the presidential slogans of Mexican presidents that never delivered what they promised. The music playing is overly cheerful in order to raise one’s expectation. However, the Mexican presidents have done the opposite and have never met the expectations of the Mexican people. Then, in the video, Cintia portrays a news reporter. In the video, Cintia uses sarcasm to address the unfair treatment of the indigenous people of Mexico. She also uses the video to highlight the working class issues plaguing Mexico’s society. Many indigenous and low income people living in the country side do not have access to education. It is because the people in power are so corrupt that the rest of the Mexican people must suffer.
Finally, the robot that moves around and asks questions in Stephen Hawking’s voice shifts us to the United States. Cinitia deliberately chose to have the robot represent the immigration officers that interviewed her. The questions that the immigration officers asked her ranged from asking if she was a polygamist to asking her if she was a member of the communist party. The latter question goes to show how outdated and robotic the questions are – just like a robot and Stephen Hawking’s artificial voice.
Synthesis / My Experience
When I first entered the exhibition, it did not catch my attention until I saw the word Mexico in the title of the exhibition. However, I walked out of the exhibition without watching the video or giving it much thought. A couples of minutes went by and I saw a couple of my classmates gathering around Cintia, so I decided to check it out. My interest was piqued after hearing about her life and the themes and ideas she was exploring in her work. It hit home as I am Mexican. It truly saddens and breaks my heart that the Mexican people are suffering due to a corrupt government. It makes me angry that not too long ago the government brutalized the teachers protesting in Oaxaca.
One of the things that I truly loved was that Cinita recognizes the privilege that she holds due to being a white passing Mexican. In her work she explores the unfair treatment of the indigenous people of Mexico. The indigenous people of Mexico are treated as second rate citizens by the government and this treatment will not change as long as corruption is the reigning power. Growing up, my mom would watch a lot of Mexican telenovelas and I remember the main actresses always being very white and white passing Mexicans. The only representation that telenovelas gave Indigenous people was that of the maid or the nanny. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being a maid or a nanny, but telenovelas never bothered to show that there was more to Indigenous people than their occupation. This portrayal of them definitely influenced my young mind and it wasn’t until I was older that I started to realize that classism affects all aspects of society.
Overall, it is disturbing how much the government affects our lives. Mexico’s corrupt government has done nothing to alleviate classism, just like the government in the United States treats immigrants in a robotic way. Cintia is definitely someone I admire as she is using her privilege and exhibitions to expose and inform others of the issues talking place in Mexico right now. I will definitely look forward to Cintia’s future work. I hope she never changes and continues to highlight the injustices in today’s society.