A Farmer in the City

Cordiox is a four-meter acoustical tower, which rises up in the old church of San Lorenzo in Venice: a hyper sophisticated musical instrument created by Ariel Guzik. In its depths resides a quartz cylinder, which constitutes its central acoustical axis and took up almost half of the budget of this work. Cordiox pushes the spectator to listen to his surroundings without the need of any speaker, making invisible resonances become perceptible, woven by a very complex net of wires within, as well as by four interconnected towers that seem to be futuristic reverbs inside a baroque building – reminding us of the scene in 2001: Space Odyssey where the astronaut Bowman, the astronaut, finds himself lost and isolated in the middle of a room decorated in the style of Louis XVI.

Perhaps what is more surprising about the piece is its bet on nihilism; Cordiox proposes a continuum where only the present exists instead of an answer to current social events in México. This nihilism is a break with the art of the previous editions of the Mexican pavilion: from the narrative of Melanie Smith’s package, to the asphyxiating consequences of drug trafficking in Teresa Margolles’s piece. Cordiox, instead, proposes a void – or a sort of conceptual emptiness – in which the only thing that exists can be understood only by its own existence or through sensoriality. This turns upside down the often repeated idea that what should be exported from México has to be a concise comment on certain moments in political history.

Guzik is part of a new wave of Mexican artists strongly supported by the state to create a type of work of art that requires big budgets and agents outside the world of art: engineers, programmers, physicians, etc. This fascination with technology is enabled only by grants, trusts and multimedia centers, and seems to give a veil of modernity to México without the structure that can make this fascination a sustainable reality. Cordiox is a demonstration of a present that is only accessible to an elite – both as creator and spectator. Guzik is part of a generation of artists that have been focusing in the use of the so called white cube as a scenario for scientific illustrations, where technology imposes itself as an unquestionable fact closing the possibility of dialogue and revealing itself as an impenetrable truth in front of the spectator.

Cordiox stands in an ambiguous space, where one can move between this technological unfolding and a meditative present. Perhaps the question that Cordiox opens up is may not be the one that refers to nihilism, but to an epistemological problem that questions the use of scientific knowledge, its distribution and circulation. In this case leading to the question: has art privatized modernity?

Erik Tlaseca for Cráter Invertido


Gaston Ramirez Feltrin
Ariel Guzik
Itala Schmelz


Itala Schmelz
Mexico, 1968
Lives and works in:
No. of participations in the venice biennale:


Ariel Guzik
Mexico, 1960
Lives and works in:
No. of participations in the venice biennale:

Politics & Economics

State System:
Federal presidential constitutional republic
Ruling Political Party:
Social-democratic Institutional Revolutionary Party
Population (World Bank, 2011):
GDP per capita (World Bank, 2011):
Unemployment (World Bank, 2011):
5.3% of the labor force
World Bank credit:
Net OECD ODA Aid Received (2011):
Military Expenditure (SIPRI, 2011):


IMF debt
World Bank debt
International Criminal Court recognized
Non-Aligned Movement


Country independent since:
1821 (from Spain. Declared: 1810)
Last Major Border Revision:
1854 (Gadsden Purchase by the USA)
Colonial History:
Former Spanish colony
International Court of Justice cases:
Global Militarization Index (BICC, 2011):
Nuclear Force?
Ongoing Conflicts and Disputes:
Non-state conflicts between armed criminal gangs and ongoing drugwar.