Around 5pm I decided I needed a break from the computer, and I went outside for an evening stroll. I headed towards the Jardin del Arte, a peaceful and colorful park nearby in San Rafael.
I decided to walk the perimeter of the park, having never done so, and I stumbled upon the Museo Experimental El Eco. Founded in 2005, the museo presents contemporary art projects by both Mexican and international artists. It comprises part of a group of museums run by UNAM (the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) and was designed as an interdisciplinary space where artists are encouraged to present projects that draw from an array of diverse media including: film, dance, poetry, and music. I peered past the door held ajar, intrigued by the long dark hallway and the sign outside that advertised free admission.
I walked down the long corridor and was momentarily spooked by the lone guard sitting in the dark corner. A few masks of human faces were propped up around the room, and I scurried towards the direction of light and sound. I rounded a partition and sat down at the far edge of the cavernous room. A movie was being projected onto a tall partition at least two stories high. On the screen, an older woman practiced a ballet routine.
I realized after several minutes that the film was shot in the same exact space in which I was sitting. Sometimes, the movie would flash back to a younger dancer in the same exact position, both physically and locationally, as the dancing matriarch (maybe it was her in days gone by?). For me, as someone who had never set foot in the Museo Eco, it was a fascinating moment. I was experiencing the space in both its past and present, seeing black and white photos drawn presumably from the museum’s archive. Together, the old woman and I ruminated about her past, and I pondered the history of the building.
From the film, I learned that the space also had a courtyard, and as I bid farewell to the guard lurking in the shadows, I searched for its entrance. I had walked right past it when I first entered the museum. A bright yellow wall caught the corner of my eye, and I walked into the big, empty courtyard. The jacarandas are blooming in Mexico City, and this particular tree’s purple petals were strewn across the floor, creating a striking contrast to the bright yellow wall. I looked up towards the sky and attempted to capture the serenity of the moment.
El Museo Experimental El Eco
Col. San Rafael, Cuauhtemóc
México, D.F. CP 06470