Felipe Barbosa

(Brasil, 1978)

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Barbosa and Ricalde proposed covering the Puente Mexico (the pedestrian bridge that crosses the Tijuana River and leads from Avenida Revolución toward the international border crossing at San Ysidro) with a carpet of painted names: a “welcome mat.” The project, entitled Hospitality, was inspired by the way in which color, typography, and first names are employed as marks of identity, much like the woven bracelets sold in handcraft market stalls along the border. The work encourages reflection on the notion of “welcome” through an exploration of the nature of hospitality. This meditation is tied to the specificity of the area—a border zone where we alternate between the role of guest and host. Hospitality transforms the Puente Mexico, as a space of transit, into a site that generates connection between strangers. Barbosa and Ricalde invert the idea of the souvenir, by encouraging pedestrians to print their name—identity on the bridge—like a series of fingerprints superimposed over the city as it receives them. In August 2005 the visual carpet, created in collaboration with Tijuana sign-makers and art students, began to grow as passersby requested that their first names be added to the bridge. This continued until the entire surface of the bridge was covered in brightly colored first names.

Curators: Osvaldo Sánchez and Tania Ragasol
Venue: Puente Mexico, Tijuana, and San Ysidro