In the fall of 2009, over one hundred displaced indigenous community members occupied the offices of the United Nations, located in San Cristobal De Las Casa, Chiapas Mexico. The offices where taken over in hopes of gaining international attention from humanitarian organizations. After a few months of the occupation, the United Nations simply decided to find another building and moved.
A few months later, Caleb Duarte and Mia Rollow, disillusioned with the institutional purpose of art, wished to believe that art could be a radical form of communication, and soon moved into the building and begin an experimental art space and an international artist residency of diverse practice. They began to invite artists, activists, cultural workers, inventors, gardeners, PhDs, jugglers, and educators to take part in creating an experiment on art and social change. This group of artists, disenchanted by the continuing linear path of art history, came to EDELO in favor of art as a vehicle for possible transformation.
Inspired by the 1994 Indigenous Zapatista uprising, where word and poetry are used to inspire a generation to imagine “other” worlds possible, EDELO has retained the name of the UN. It is a part of an investigation of how Art, in all its disciplines and contradictions, can take the supposed role of such institutional bodies: in creating understanding, empathy, and to serve as a tool for imagining alternatives to what seem to be a harmful and violent system that we have come to accept.
Since 2015, EDELO has become a nomadic collective realizing project with communities in India, Palestian, Mexico City, Ayoztynapa, San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Canada, Oaxaca, Fresno CA, and Chiapas. EDELO is currently forming a performance network of Mexican indigenous and US performance artist and is continuing with the Zapantera Negra project.
EDELO (En Donde Era la ONU) Where the United Nations Used to Be
A house of art in movement and an intercommunal artist residency of divers practices.