They have never been my presidents, but they have always ruled my history | 2016
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Studying in New York in November 2016 I witnessed the traumatic response of that city, mostly liberal and progressive, after the election of Trump. The reactions were widespread, but what became evident was that a group of privileged citizens felt threatened by the new political reality and decided to demonstrate publicly against it. Almost immediately after the election, the protests in the city then changed. From an almost exclusive context of minority groups they switched to a more "universalized" form, taking advantage of the massively increased visibility brought by these new protesters.

People began to use a "Not my president" pin badge. My first thought on seeing the pin’s message —originating in the historical consciousness of Latin America’s colonial relationship with the United States— was "They have never been my presidents, but they have always ruled my history." I decided to respond to the portable statement that is a pin badge with a similar action. After the first wave of almost daily demonstrations in the city, the initial energy vanished, and I began to carry a sentence with me all the time: a protest sign —a typical one, a white rectangle held up on a wooden stick— reading: “ellos nunca han sido mis presidentes” (Spanish for “they have never been my presidents”). During the space of a week I carried it everywhere: walking down the street, in the subway, at the university, at the market, in public bathrooms, and in restaurants. The object entered into the common narrative that existed in the city at that time but distanced itself from the majority by connecting only with those who understood its language and the specific context of Latin America.
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© 2019 Andrés Martínez Ruiz | contact@andresmartinezruiz.com