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  /    /  Olivia Vivanco

Los Días, 2016

These objects were gathered with Central American migrants. They were found at the edges of roads along La Bestia’s (The Beast’s) route across the whole country. We can’t tell whether the objects collected on the roads are from migrants or not. However, being in the context in which they are found makes them triggers of evocation: the migrants are in search of what could be their own fingerprints, the ones from who preceded them in that specific place, and the ones they probably left before or will leave later on.

We carried out a detailed investigation, with criteria based on experience, where we distinguished whether the objects could be from another migrant and if they were suitable to gather. The fragments of history follow each other and build a common memory, identified and validated by all the participants. The recovery of that which will have a garbage connotation one day, becomes a moment of intimacy from the migrant with the evocations provoked by what is found, with its memories, and its own trajectory. In this way, a ritual in which an object stops being garbage and becomes a testimony takes place.

‘La Bestia’ (The Beast) is the nickname for the freight train. It goes along the Republic of Mexico through different railroads; starting from the southeasternmost extreme of Mexico to the different border towns at the border between the southern US and national territory, where the different border crossings are distributed.

Guest photographer


Olivia Vivanco

Born in Ciudad de México. She has a degree in Graphical Communication and a master’s degree in Visual Arts from the Faculty of Arts and Design from the UNAM. She studied photography at the Program of Contemporary Photography, PFC (2013) and was part of the Seminar on Contemporary Photography at Centro de la Imagen (2007).

She has exhibited her work at the Museo Carrillo Gil, Museo Universitario del Chopo, Centro de la Imagen, Centro Cultural de España, and the French Alliance from Mexico among others. Her work has been displayed in Germany, Colombia, Chile, Denmark, Spain, United States, France, Morocco, and Puerto Rico.

She was selected in 2017 at the exposition La Gran Maquina IV at the Embarrat Festival of Contemporary Creation in Spain and at the photographic exhibition Caleidoscopio Steadycam, with a single-channel video curatorship made in Mexico. The previous was presented at the 1st International Week of Video-creation from Lanzarote, Spain. In 2016 she was selected at the XII FEMSA Biennial and at the 2nd National Biennial of Landscape. In 2013 she was awarded the First Place in the 19th Latin American Documentary Photography Contest, and then the Third Place at the XXXII Contest of Anthropological Photography from the ENAH.

In 2010, she won the scholarship of Support to Projects and Cultural Co-investments of the FONCA for the publication of the book ‘Guadalupe’. Her work has also been awarded with: Selection of the short film ‘Isalia’ at the Pantalla de Cristal Film Festival and at the Women in Film and Television Festival (2009). She also won First Place in the Report Photo Contest ‘Stories of Mexican Women’ summoned by The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner in Mexico for Human Rights. Besides she was awarded the Honourable Mention in the XXV Contest of Anthropological Photography from the ENAH (2006).

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