Javier Téllez

(Venezuela, 1969)

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As is a common feature of his work, Javier Téllez’s project One Flew Over the Void (Bala perdida) involved a collaborative partnership with a group of psychiatric patients. On this occasion he worked with patients from the Centro de Salud Mental del Estado de Baja California (Mental Health Center for the State of Baja California) in Mexicali. This collaboration was initiated with the aim of co-creating an event and video recording the process and the final performance. Téllez employed the traditional circus figure of the human cannonball as a means of exploring the idea of spatial and mental borders in the context of San Diego-Tijuana. The event appropriated the model of a town fair, and climaxed with the firing of a human cannonball over the border between Mexico and the United States. During successive workshops, and an intense ongoing dialogue with the world’s most illustrious human cannonball, David Smith, the patients and Téllez developed the entire spectacle, from the stage design to the music program, to the wardrobe and print, radio, broadcast, and television publicity. The human cannonball’s provocative trajectory from one country to another illustrated in a playful way the tensions inherent in the border zone. The poetic gesture was not only a political parody that garnered significant publicity, but also served to stimulate a new experience of critical association between the psychiatric institution and border demarcation. The event took place on August 27, 2005, at 4:00 p.m., where the border fence enters the sea and divides Playas de Tijuana and Border Field State Park.

Curators: Osvaldo Sánchez and Tania Ragasol
Venues: Imperial Beach and Playas de Tijuana