THE GEOGRAPHY OF OBJECTS (2014)
Betsabeé Romero interrogates prevailing ‘vertical metaphors’ of North-South relations, presenting a site- specific installation depicting a dismembered car body riding on a sea of small tyres, that have been pierced by 50 spears. The lightweight tyres representing the South miraculously support the heavy industrial car body of the North, which is simultaneously ‘trampling and crushing’ them.
The Spanish word Romero uses to describe the supporting wheels is llantitas (little tyres), which in Mexican slang also refers to rolls of body fat, like the English expression ‘love handles’. This delicious ambiguity references the interrelationship between the seductive products of the developed North, and their consumption by the South. The car body encapsulates the conundrum of modern consumerism – an expensively engineered
and marketed product of a particular brand, styling, year – with its planned obsolescence, ultimately destined for landfill. By contrast the small wheels signify the low-tech ingenuity and ‘make-do’ of the developing world, and
its daily toil, where materials are endlessly re-used and re-purposed.
Linking these two ‘worlds’ the 50 spears, capped with crafted arrow-heads, evoke in Romero’s words: ’a history of losses and massacres, the incisive and unforgiving tip of history, each containing a unique memory, rising with dignity, looking at the sky’.