Ten Years of Design and Mexican Politics

As a Mexican I have been strained to live in different parts of the world. One thing that I have noticed, is that there is there is a growing nationalistic appreciation for your country of origin every time you have to live abroad. Arguably, this phenomena takes place in the vast majority of immigrants of every single country, including Mexico. There is an intrinsic sense of belonging that we crave as humans, as members of the world.

Many of students at universities create a wide range of societies to convey to other people their particular convictions and/or interests. These can range from political, social, sports, or even cultural. In this case I will be focusing on the Mexican Society at the University of Southampton (MexSoc). This society was originally created (to my best understanding), to support Mexican and other spanish speaking students at the University, as well as promoting Mexican culture.

There has been a huge change in this society from the time I met them from the first time in 2006, until the last time I saw them in 2016. In addition, the Mexican society demographics changed throughout time. Nevertheless, as mentioned before, there is always a sense of belonging as a society, as Mexicans, as Latin-Americans and as students.

Among many of the different events that the MexSoc, many of them cultural, such as the Day of The Dead Altar, MexSoc Seminars, MexSoc Cinema and Political Discussions. In addition, there are also social events, such as the parties to celebrate some of the main Mexican holidays. Originally, I was not part of the University since I was teaching in another university. Therefore, the way I was able to collaborate with the MexSoc was through producing the designs for their events.

In a way, these designs describe the foot prints of what has been going on in Mexico.

mexsocposters

These posters will be described in chronological order.

posterlowresMay, 2014. Party Cinco de Mayo

During this time, the government had noticed that social network technologies could empower social discourse and demonstrations. For this reason, the government began to censor how the internet was going to be used in Mexico. Among many of the dramatic changes proposed, were the power to discontinue internet access and other telecommunication services whenever a ‘competent authority’ required so. This article 197 and 145 called for a full censorship of the Web, and there were even scenarios where demonstration where pages such as the 1DMX were taken down.

This poster depicted such censorship on the Web, a Web where Mexicans were not allowed to talk, hear or see anything that was nor previously approved by the government.

muertosNovember, 2014. Dia de Muertos

The assassination kidnap of the 43 students in the state of Iguala, Mexico had become a trending topic. Massacres in Mexico carried out by the government have been a recurrent strategy, that showcases the impunity and ineptitude of the government and public servants. Arguably, even Mexican academics tend to forget their (our) own history. There has been numerous mass killings in hands of the government such as the one in Tlatelolco, Atenco, San Fernando and Acteal. Ironically, people seem to have forgotten that the current president was the governor of Estado de Mexico (Atenco), where one of the most recent human rights violations took place. The data used for this poster represents only official government interventions.

This poster is a simple data visualisation of the total number of people killed in individual events. Each dead person is depicted with a skull and they are arranged together so it looks like a skull. The colours, and visuals of the poster emulates the papel picado technique used to ornate the altars in Mexico.

infras3May, 2013. Cinco de Mayo

When the current president of Mexico came in to power in December 2012, he already had a trajectory of abuse of power, corruption and negligence. It was a president, which arguably, risen into power thanks to the poorest 10% of the population, which at the same time is the core vote of his political party, PRI.

The emblematic president had already been called out as ignorant due to his interview at the International Book Fair in Guadalajara, where he was not able to mention three books that he had read, and confusing the authors of some of the books that he ‘allegedly’ read. Those news became viral, but not at much as the video of him giving a presentation in english at the World Future’s Society in 2008. No wonder he used an interpreter at the White House when he met with Obama as the ‘elected president of Mexico’.

revoNovember, 2013. Revolution Party

During this time the Mexican congress approved the privatisation of Mexican oil. This billion worth business was applauded outside Mexico, where many of them indicated that this was a sign of hope. Beyond, the media influence of such topics, it was expected that transnational companies would begin to pay attention to such opening in the market. Companies such as Exxon, Chevron and Petrobras showed their interest in this neoliberal process.

This year’s poster depicts, yet again, that privatisation process that Mexicans seem to forget over and over again. Now in 2017, we can already see who are the main beneficiaries of such transactions. The poster shows an image of Villa, Zapata and Marcos to highlight that the revolution process is still yet ongoing and very present. In addition, there are two ornaments: an Aztec on the left and a Mayan on the right. This aimed to include the diverse ranges of cultures, where although there are over 20 different cultures, it acknowledges that Mexico is not just conformed by Aztec culture. For this reason, it was decided not to use the traditional eagle and include these indigenous icons. To remind the audience about the privatisation process, the background is made of a pattern of Pemex, and other transnational oil companies, such as Exxon and accompanied with the emblem of the European Union, which hosts many of the companies that thrive on developing economies.

posteNovember, 2011. Revolution Party

The privatisation of Mexico’s natural resources seem to be a topic that tends to come up over and over. In fact, this is a topic that has been under discussion since the 1990s (Salinas-Zedillo terms). The long battle to privatise PEMEX seemed to be fought by a semi-united left. In hindsight, this also showcases how quickly the left disappeared in the Mexican politics.

During this time PEMEX accounted for 10% of the export revenues of the country with a $80.6 billion in revenue. The current political party in power, PRI, needed to have the connection to liberalise PEMEX and they finally got it in this current term with Enrique Peña Nieto. It has been argued that this is a common strategy plan to privatise state companies; break them and then sell them, or in this case call for investors such as Halliburton.

This poster aimed to rise the awareness that the oil privatisation was an ongoing deal. The illustrations depict the fight for the Mexican oil. The background shows a carved print from WWII made by the Taller de Grafica Popular,  that calls for the removal of fascism and applauds the victory of US and GB over the Nazis. In addition, the background also displays a small high contrast image of Zapata, to remind us that we are still being overpowered by fascists ideologies through transnational companies.

cartelmexconmonoMay, 2010. Cinco de Mayo

For some reason, the MexSoc had already established the 5th of May as one of the established parties at the university. Mexicans do not really celebrate this date as much as Chicanos (Mexican Americans). The 5th of May celebrates the Battle of Puebla. When ex-president Benito Juarez came to power (1806-1872), he was left with a Mexico in financial ruin and owed money to Europe. Britain, Spain and France sent naval forces to Mexico, where negotiations were only agreed with Spain and Britain. France carried out the attack with 6,000 troops under General Charles Latrille de Lorencez. Juarez gathered only 2,000 troops, where many of them came from indigenous background. General Ignacio Zaragoza, a man born in Texas, came up with a victory in Puebla, where France reported over 500+ casualties. The Mexican army reported less than 100 deaths. This date was later picked up and made popular by Chicano activists in the 1960s in the United States. They used the analogy of the victory of the indigenous people over Europeans. Now, the Cinco de Mayo celebrations are very important for many Mexican-Americans and Latin-Americans-Americans (Latino Community) in the United States.

This poster aimed to reiterate that Mexicans do not celebrate Cinco de Mayo, but the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla. The poster depicts a dancing Mexican army soldier dancing and smiling. He is currently wearing a wrestler’s mask in a kitsch combination of modern and past. The design and colours of the poster merge the French and Mexican flag colours. The overall design and ornaments were based on Art Deco style to depict France’s heritage in Mexico. It is an attempt to bring Cinco de Mayo back to its roots.

But not all of it is bad news.

Throughout these years, Mexico has seen a large range of changes in their economic policies, political corruption, and thanks to the World Wide Web, we are able to gather more information and evidence from politicians. Overall, what I can personally recognise is the disappearance of the Mexican Left and the immense connections that new PRI generations of politicians bring under their arm. Nevertheless, it is not all gloom, there is a growing number of Mexican scientists (not me), who are becoming world leaders in their fields. Many of them in Mexico, and many of them in other parts of the world. But if one thing is clear, is that when Mexicans get together, good things happen.

 

 

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TrinkerMedia Wrestling Project

Wrestling as a form of expression.

TrinkerLogoWhat is TrinkerMedia

TrinkerMedia is a branch of the alias I use on the industry to present my work. I started posting and developing as Trinker in 2003.
Unlike the Trinker word in german, the origin of Trinker comes from “trincado” which means  lucky streak, which then I anglicized in order for it to be more commercial and universal.

At the moment I teach several design disciplines on a university in the south east of England, I am also currently working as a freelance for several projects here in the United Kingdom as well as Spain, Mexico and Holland.

Introduction

As human beings we have been always hiding beneath masks, they do not have to be face masks; they do not have to be made of wood, silk or even iron. However, society encourages us to wear a mask in order to be accepted into it. Using a physical mask enables us to represent something that we are not, or possibly something that we really want to be, or even something that we truly are and we are not even aware of it.

What if we decide to use these masks, not because we have to, but because we want to? What kind of person would you become? A super hero? A villain?

Well, this is what wrestlers do. They create their own costumes, their own masks and impregnate on them all their memories, their culture, their history and their deepest hopes and dreams in order to be somebody in their world. The use of masks comes from ancient traditions in diverse cultures and the design of them represent the most important part of a character because through it, is communicated the essence of the character.

This research will be focused on understanding the background and history of each mask design through an extensive graphical analysis in order to achieve a wider knowledge of how graphical components plays a fundamental role in the identity construction of a character.

As a Mexican graphic designer, my work is imbued with a mixture of cultures, colours and ideologies.  For this material compilation, the work itself is a combination of art and technology which encompasses the identity of my culture.
The idea itself is to present Mexican wrestling and the mask designs especially. There is an immense cult following for Mexican wrestling notably in Japan, the United States and, of course, Mexico.  My work introduces the audience to the hidden world behind the wrestling mask and furthermore, opens doors to the mexican wrestling world.

Most of my work is meant to interact with the audience so they are able to become involved with the characters and the sensations invoked by their designs. This interactive material, combined with the printed material function together thus creating an integral and multi-skilled project.

Objectives

  • To generate a general understanding of the use of masks in the Mexican wrestling world (historiography, social context and iconography).
  • To generate an understanding regarding the graphical aspects of the wrestling masks.
  • To create a wrestling mask typology (Purpose, character and visual composition).
  • To compare the relation Wrestler – Designer, Designer – Wrestler, within the creation of the mask and development of the character.

Context of the Research

In the last years, several books about Mexican wrestling have been published. However, all these books have always been photographic journals and nobody has attempted to analyse in depth and categorise the masks used. One of the principal tasks as a graphic designer is to deliver proper visual information in the most accurate way. In this sense, it is fundamental now to analyse the empirical information that designers and wrestlers use to develop their own designs, and search for a visual understanding of the process and result.

The research about the wrestling phenomenon has been focused almost exclusively on the social aspect of the sport, becoming necessary a study of the artistic aspect of the characters and specifically of their masks, which are the central part of the personage. Through this investigation will be revealed an unexplored facet of this sport and its relation with graphic design, fine arts, fashion, popular culture, marketing and Mexican history.

Methodology

For the development of this project four (so far) stages have been considered.

  • Gathering information of the personal and professional process of each individual to develop the character and design. This will be achieved by several interviews directly with the wrestlers, the mask designers and the people who knit them, documenting the information on video and photo.
  • The creation of a photo graphical journal.
  • The graphical, social and historical analysis of the characters.
  • Typological catalog for each one of the wrestling masks.

Current Outputs or Media

Wrestling Data Visualizations

Data Visualization.

Through visual representations of data, we can be able to communicate any kind of information to any type of audience.  Data visualization is directly related to information graphics, information visualization, scientific visualization and statical analysis graphics.

Data Visualization is the study of the visual representation of data, meaning – information which has been abstracted in some schematic form, including attributes or variables for the units of information –
Michael Friendly (2008)

Combining Data Visualization with several Graphic Design processes, I was able to design some media focused on the Mexican Wrestling Society.

Data visualization 1Data Visualization 01 // Bets & Teams.

In Mexican Wrestling there are bets in which wrestlers gamble their masks against other masks, hair or ever careers. This data visualization poster displays these relationships between wrestlers and who has won against who.

The arrangement of the elements can be presented in several ways.  The poster can be placed facing up to be in Spanish, and upside down to be in English.  On the left side we can appreciate the main rudos (heels), and on the right side the tecnicos (faces).  Inside the main wheel, the relationships of the matches are presented with a colour line, depending on the character, along with the year the event took place.

On the external circle we can view the teams that wrestlers created as alliances depending on their wrestling style or by the type of character they represent.

Digital Print
13.2 cm x 19.2 cm


Data Visualization 02 // Fractal Bets

Data02

©Trinker//Javier Pereda

This is another poster that represents Social Networking in Mexican Wrestling.

The poster is using over 120 wrestlers on the database.  The information displayed covers the wrestlers who lost the masks, hair or beard and who did they lost it against.

The information is displayed like fractals in which the winning character behaves as a main cell from where the rest of the elements expand representing the defeated making an exponential division for each wrestler. The poster contains a grid to allow the viewer to locate faster a desired wrestler and find its coordinates.

The methodology  for this Visualization was based on centrality mapping.  This means on the number of direct connection that each node has and analyzing the nodes that contain the biggest network reach and boundary players to increase the amount of peripheral players and increase the size of the visual, since they will become then the central node.

Mind mapThe first step was to pre-visualize which nodes were the longest and had more network reach.  In a sense I knew ( as it has been part of my research ) which wrestlers had more reach, taking in considerations issues like: family member, championships and time in the industry.  So the first thing that I did was a mind map to have a clear idea of what I was going to need.

After finding out how roughly the information was going to be displayed, I needed to define the main iconography system.  So I needed to represent:

  • win/loose
  • bet
    • mask
    • hair
    • beard
  • central node (main node)

Here is the result of my icon system and representation.

A main circle is designed to contain the main elements.  The circle at the same time will contain a ring on the outside that will appeal to the character and the inner circle will be always the same colour.  The colour of the ring then will be used as the connection line for the vectors.

Since not all the characters will behave as central nodes, I placed them within a dark magenta circle.  This circle will be used mainly for all the loosing wrestlers.

After defining the circles I could just place the representation of the mask and their name in gray just underneath it.

Since I wanted to keep focus on the central nodes, I developed a template mask that is used on all the non-central (loosing) nodes.

These two icons represent the hair and the beard.

The mask, beard or hair icons can be placed on big scale on the center of the circle to represent the character.  If the icon is placed on the ring of the node, then that represents the type of wage that took place on the event.  The wage icon will be placed on the loosing node.

full example

Digital Print
200 cm x 100 cm

Data Visualization 03 // Bets Moowheel

This is an interactive interface developed with Moowheel, a JavaScript library licensed under an MIT-style license.

Using the output of the last data visualization poster, I developed another interface allowing the user to interact with the information.  The user can click the name of the wrestler, redirecting him to the a database in LuchaWiki, in which the personal biography of the wrestler will be displayed.

The main wrestlers have an icon next to the name, in order to recognize them faster.

Ideally this interface is meant to be projected on a wall as static artwork, regardless of its interactivity.

Through this visualization we can appreciate that the wheel is mainly connecting to the same side where the original node (wrestler) starts.  Usually wrestlers have popularity periods in which they are promoted to have more bet matches to promote the character.  There are a few characters or nodes that actually cross the circle and go to the opposite side of the wheel, these nodes are mainly the wrestlers who have a big wrestling tradition or big names in the industry only a few wrestlers manage to continue winning these type of matches even after their siblings also start winning these bets.

Here is an example of how the interface works.  The interface can be also displayed on a full screen in Firefox.

CubeeCraft©//TrinkerMedia©

Cubeecraft Wrestlers.

I have been developing this project of how the wrestling masks are developed; mainly I have been focusing on Mexican wrestling masks.

At the moment one of my many outputs are these CubeeCraft pieces.

Atlantis.

This has been one of my favorite wrestlers and one of the most famous and sucsessful wrestlers in Mexico.  I love mainly the design on his mask, very simplistic and balanced.

After being a career tecnico, Atlantis was changed to a rudo in 2005. It did not appear to be his idea or even the promotion’s idea, but the fans forcing a change. CMLL had been building up Atlantis, including weekly Seccion Azul features trumpeting his work with kids or focusing an award being given to Atlantis, to push him as the ultimate good guy. The build was the setup for a Dr.Wagner Jr./Atlantis mask match, the culmination of a long rivalry.
-LuchaWiki

cubecraft mistico by Trinker

Mistico

Mistico.

I picked Mistico because he is a very popular wrestler at the moment.  Personally I don’t like him as much as other wrestlers, but he has a very good high flying movements. Another element that motivated me to pick him to do a CubeeCraft was the acutal style of the mask and the trousers.  He uses a gold andwhite colour combination.

Part of a wrestling family, but portrayed as an orphan who learned the sport from mentor Fray Tormenta, Mistico debuted in CMLL in 2004. Mistico rose to the top of the promotion at a record pace, and was arguably the top star in the promotion a year later.
-LuchaWiki

tinieblasTinieblas.

This is one of the most mystical wrestlers in Mexico.  Tinieblas is an extra terrestrial who is supposed to be blind, that is why his mask has a black cover on the front; he doesn’t have any eyes.  He was also known as the Wise Giant.

From the 60s to the early 90s, there was a very popular magazine in Mexico called “Lucha Libre”, run by Valente Pérez (though it was renamed “Lucha Libre Mundial” when Benjamín Mora Jr. took over, and not coincidentially, the magazine didn’t last a lot with Mora in charge). LL also had a bodybuilding sister magazine called “Muscle Power”, whose editor also was Valente Pérez. Pérez, who was well liked and respected in the business and had a very good relationship with the Lutteroth family, had a special talent to come up with names and personalities for new luchadores, the most successful one being Mil Máscaras.
-LuchaWiki

sibeliusSibelius.

He is a wrestler from Mexico City.  The concept of this CubeeCraft is based on the original design which is mainly covered with yellows and oranges.  The tights have this S with a tribal style.  It seem to be the same S from the Brazilian band Sepultura.  In real life Sibelius is a musician, that is why he picked the name of the famous German composer.