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SAMPLE BOOK 1011 Alarma! (2012)

In 2006, and only ten days after assuming the presidency, Felipe Calderon made a head-on declaration of war against drug cartels. This action led the country to an avalanche of deaths that had in the “red top” tabloids a mean of visualization and distribution.

In Mexico, it is common practice in tabloids to make a spectacle of death and publish enormous amounts of violent images. These images are accompanied with headlines that, making use of black humor, massively circulate the death of the other. The amount of blood visually consumed by the Mexican people, both actively and passively, ends up trivializing human life.

Throughout the year 2012, Andres Orjuela carried out a taxonomic study on the media diffusion of violence in the tabloid Alarma! By taking all those liters of red ink to its minimum unit, he hides the scene and gives rise to a broad and critical mental image.

The procedure used, similar to the one applied to real blood samples, is the following: photographs in which blood is present are identified; a small circle of red ink is extracted from each of them; it is placed over a laboratory coverslip and then cataloged using name, age, city and cause of death, according to the information registered by the magazine. The total number of pieces obtained was 1011.

Far from the coldness of the official numbers and the sensationalist morbidity of the tabloids, Orjuela honors each victim and gives light to his or her identity. After six years of government, the numbers of violent deaths were overwhelming. This work becomes a memorial that points out the need for critical reflection on the effects of violence in today’s Mexican society.

Publisher: CHACO

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