The City Was the Trail of the Redeemed
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
For the second year in a row, New York photographer Spencer Tunick filled the streets of San Miguel with nude bodies. More than 120 women of all ages and nationalities attended and adorned their bodies with garlands made of marigold flowers. “This is for México,” said Tunick, and after the “three, two, one” countdown he asked the women to take their clothes off. According to some women, after they took their clothes off, they felt free for the first time.
At 5am the press—wich had not been summoned—arrived and waited outside the Matilda Hotel door and waited for instructions. The models started arriving from across the country; some of them from San Luis Potosí, Jalisco, Querétaro, and Veracruz; most of them were Mexicans but there were also women from the United States, Canada, and other countries. They sat at the bar of the hotel where they grabbed coffee, smiled, chatted, and got ready to face the cold — temperature of six degrees Celsius was registered during the first of Tunick’s clicks.
The women left the hotel in a procession, carrying on their shoulders garlands of approximately 100 marigold flowers each. They arrived to the first location, calle Aldama, behind the Parroquia, and listened to the instructions. When Tunick screamed fuera ropa! the women posed for Tunick’s lens—kneeling, laying on the street, and standing up. They posed making arches with the garlands and raising them onto their heads. The same dynamic was repeated on calle Sollano for the second photo shoot. Among members of the press, traffic officers, and curious observers, the 120 women walked toward the Bullring for the third session.
This event marked the beginning of La Calaca Festival activities. According to the director, Klaudia Óliver, what they were looking to achieve with the images was more than art and peace. They were also trying to unite the society with a prayer of purity; the state of purification through the marigold flowers. Óliver made it clear that they will continue the photo series for the next eight years, and after that they will prepare an exhibition. In the meantime, those who posed for the photos will receive an autographed image within the next three months.