The Shape of Freedom


Carlos Motta

From the 9th of April till June 30th, 2013

Newspaper The Shape of Freedom (spanish version) Download PDF

Proyecto Fachada presents Shape of Freedom by Colombian artist Carlos Motta –a proposal initially generated at the New Museum in New York.  Shape of Freedom is an interdisciplinary project that investigates the political developments of sexual activism in Mexico and other Western countries. The work recovers the historiography of the pink triangle and other representational symbols to promote sexual difference as a real alternative for individual autonomy and self-determination.

While stressing the importance of collective processes for the advancement of the notion of social freedom, the proposal focuses on various milestones to approach the complexities of the Mexican context: a mural, a timeline produced by the artist and a conversation with local activists, the general public and Motta.  Specialists such as Alonso Hernandez, Susana Vargas, Omar Lizarraga and Xabier Garcia entered in dialog with Motta to further the discourse on the issues at hand. The chronology was developed in collaboration with Vargas, a researcher from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. It includes dates, emblems and other significant moments in the history of sexual activism. In this sense, a pink a triangle painted on the façade of the museum is only the beginning of the Shape of Freedom.

During World War II, the symbol was used by the Nazis to identify homosexual prisoners in concentration camps. Later on, American activists in the 1970s appropriated the image as a sign of social empowerment, which represented progressive ideals such as the abolition of marriage, patriarchy and capitalism –as a movement that strived for a society free of sexual exclusion. In the midst of the HIV/AIDS crisis, the emblem was adopted as part of the efforts to fight the epidemic. In the middle of the same decade, the rainbow flag replaced the triangle as a “symbol of freedom,” but it also emerged as a different type of activism that slowly abandoned the desire for a fundamental systemic change, while assimilating a heterosexual normativity.

From the geometric harmony of a pink triangle and the complex history of its social connotations, Motta questions the present and future of sexual activism. It is an attempt to reassess the implications of a movement that achieved legislative milestones, such as the rights of same-sex couples, but in their quest for inclusion reenacts regulatory norms of exclusion.

Locus Sexualis by Wenceslao Bruciaga
Jotitour by Miguel Alonso Hernández Victoria