“Some of my fellow Mexicans might not have their official citizenship papers, but they live and have experiences of creation of that space, not only in the kitchens, houses they clean or build, but with their creation, their poetry, their imagination...”
Diego Medina 2004
By Cesar Gordillo Aguilar
I have only been an immigrant for six months in Spain, that doesn’t make me a person with a life experience as a real immigrant; although, six months are enough as an “Immigrant” to understand that in the root of the migration experience lays a daily reflection on identity and personal idiosyncrasy as a way to adapt in a new social-spatial-cultural context where we emigrate to.
Within been equal or different from the “other” exists the problem of identity; between doing the same or what makes us different as a group of the “others” positions the idea; and between adaptation or transformation of the space of the “other” develops our own capacity to build a place, understood as our own space.
All this process of reflection proper to migration, as Diego Medina points out, has to do with the idea of construction, that is, understanding personality not as a fixed concept, but as a permanent construction of our sense of reality, and with the daily sense of the day to day, the construction of our identity.
Diego Medina moves this metaphor of “construction” to the terrains of transformation and appropriation of the space-time we inhabit, understanding that the action performed as an artist (with the groups of immigrants he works with) is specific to the here and now, a common creative action that starts with an “alert state, where one is ready at any moment to do a work of art as a immediate response to reality”.
However, different from inhabitants of supposedly stabilized cultures, the creative and reflective processes of Diego Medina’s work (and in general the processes lived by any immigrant) don’t start from constant renovation processes or from “the ashes of the past”, but from the construction of “bridges” that allow the transit from one place to another, from one culture to another, from one person to another. That is, from an identity to another: Union ties that allow to maintain an identity, to integrate to a new culture and to create a third identity which is a complex structure in the form of a “bridge”, that allows to go from one place to another and to have a new point of view to observe and translate reality.
Starting from the idea that the immigration process is a process of death and rebirth of the identity, Diego Medina recognizes in this process a great opportunity to deconstruct and rebuild our own persona, so, in that process, building an appropriation relates to the surroundings through small (or large) acts of transformation of daily space-time. A process of understanding oneself, belonging to a precise group to finally “acknowledge oneself in a space, with the right to intervene and modify it”.
In this process, the work of Diego Medina jumps from the traditional conceptualization of considering the spontaneous and the aesthetic as the essence of the artistic experience, to recognize in the subject his or her belonging to a specific space-time and by consequence, the capacity to create art, the capacity to meditate, create and transform his or her own identity, own idiosyncrasy, own space and by consequence, his or her reality.