In the winter of 2009, over one hundred displaced indigenous community members occupied the offices of the United Nations, located in San Cristobal De Las Casa, Chiapas Mexico. The offices where taken over in hopes of gaining international attention from humanitarian organizations. After three months of the occupation, the United Nations simply decided to find another building and moved.
A few months later, two artist that had become disillusioned with the institutional proposed purpose of art, wished to believe that art could be a radical form of communication, and soon moved into the building and began an experimental art space and an international artist residency of diverse practice. They began to invite artists, activists, cultural workers, inventors, healers, gardeners, PhDs, jugglers, and educators to take part in creating an experiment on activism and art. This group of artists, disenchanted by the continuing linear path of art history, came to EDELO in favor of art as a vehicle for possible transformation.
Inspired by the 1994 Indigenous Zapatista uprising, where word and poetry are used to inspire a generation to imagine “other” worlds possible, EDELO has retained the name of the UN. It is a part of an investigation of how Art, in all its disciplines and contradictions, can take the supposed role of such institutional bodies: in creating understanding, empathy, and to serve as a tool for imagining alternatives to what seem to be a harmful and violent system that we have come to accept.

An open-artist-run space makes visible the confrontations that an economically polarized society can often keep hidden. Their are relationships built with rural indigenous and autonomous communities that are building a “better world” from the ground up. Through the use of contemporary art, such as social sculptural performances, participatory actions, and installations, and to more traditional forms, such as mural painting, art festivals, and musical events, artist are gaining both physical and political immediate access to issues and communities that would normally take long organizational, governmental, or institutional planning. Our residency program invites artist and activist from the rural areas of Chiapas, often Zapatista members, coffee planters and weavers, to collaborate with international artist. This puts artist within different economic and social backgrounds into one space often bringing into light the results of globalization and wealth inequality. It is an example of how artist can become cultural promoters with in their own artistic practice, encouraging them to leave behind the ideas of "artist as celebrity" and move towards the integral part of living a creative life while engaging with a wider public.  

We see EDLEO as a single project because it is based on less administrative overview and cultural programming and more on the idea that an art space, initiated and structured by artist, is rather a place for experimentation, where the ingredients of chaos, mistakes, production, and relationships building are at its core for the discoveries of an open language.

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