"We are part of Tijuana’s cultural community and we are opposed to the appointment of Virgilio Muñoz as the new director of CECUT (Cultural Center of Tijuana). We are opposed to his appointment because he doesn’t meet the requirements needed to lead CECUT today. As it has happened with many other institutions, his appointment is contaminated by political favors and isn’t based on the desire to choose a professional who is dedicated to culture and art.
Citizen participation is the best way to build a better country, therefore:
We demand transparency in the designation processes
We demand a stop to political impunity
We demand an acknowledgement that culture is for citizens, not for politicians
We demand democracy TODAY"
Todos Somos Un Mundo Pequeño - (We Are All A Small World)
was formed in May 2009, to protest mismanagement of the most important cultural institution in Tijuana, the Centro Cultural Tijuana (CECUT), after the arbitrary designation of an unqualified director. The group includes dozens of artists, writers, video and filmmakers, journalists, academics, and performance and theater artists. It aims to provide a forum for the dissemination of information concerning local and national cultural policy, as well as to set up and organize alternative cultural events and workshops to fill the vacuum left in the city by the use of culture towards partisan ends.
Functions and responsibilities are collaboratively shared by all participants, who utilize the blog as a form of communication within and outside the group. Internet activity (e-mail, blogs) is key to generating a sense of belonging and community in Tijuana. Todos Somos un Mundo Pequeño taps into this existing system in order to establish a community-oriented and grassroots watchdog organization made of multiple stakeholders that track and observe the administration of the governments’ cultural affairs.
The blog is structured with three types of information: an archive of texts and news items; video interviews and statements; and photographic documentation of street actions and protests.
Texts by participating writers and activists, as well as a growing archive of journalistic items with reference to Mexican cultural politics, are constantly updated. Collaborators present their own texts or suggestions to others to expand the depth of information and approaches to changing a culture of nonparticipation widespread throughout the country. Censorship and information blackout on cultural affairs is a strategy utilized by the government to implement arbitrary measures, and the blog attempts to reverse the disinformation using the Internet’s viral mechanisms.
The collaborative began with a single public protest in which participants stood silently during a public presentation by CECUT’s director. The group wore the same black t-shirt with the inscription “Todos Somos un Mundo Pequeño”—a reference to dismissive remarks made by the director towards Tijuana’s cultural community, where he characterized it as “a small world” undeserving of the institution’s attention. Conceptually designed as a non-violent confrontation, it gave a face to many of whom have given shape through their work and commitment to Tijuana’s cultural scene. The black t-shirt has become emblematic of the group, and the comment gave its name to the collective, thus turning on its head the offensive characterization by appropriation.
Other actions include the distribution of water bottles bearing the sign “¡Aguas! El CECUT se está cecando; la cultural como el agua es vital” (Beware! CECUT is desiccating; culture, like water, is vital). Performance art, political activism, and what Hakim Bey calls “poetic terrorism” come together in these actions.
Documentarians and video artists form a key cohesive group within Todos Somos un Mundo Pequeño. From the start they established specific parameters for the use of video documentation as a form of protest through the formatting of first-person interviews with creators in multiple disciplines. All shot and edited in the same way, these interviews also individualize and particularize the nature and complexity of the complaint, providing a first-person account by informed members of the cultural community.
Frequently Ask Questions:
(also part of the blog)
What is We Are All A Small World?
It is a community of dozens of artists, cultural producers, academics and citizens concerned with the contemporary political processes of Tijuana’s cultural environment. We propose to maintain a critical position regarding the present problem at CECUT. We also look to build new and independent possibilities for artistic expression and education.
Why are you called We Are All A Small World?
The name isn’t important. It’s just a name, that’s all. It’s not what we care about. We care about our cause: ending corruption in cultural institutions. We have to keep focus. The name comes as a critical response to Virgilio Muñoz, who, during an interview, stated referring to independent artistic efforts: “I don’t work with small worlds, I don’t work in small worlds, that has to remain clear.” His despotic attitude can be seen in the interview for Frontera newspaper on Youtube: LINK
Why do you reject the designation of Virgilio Muñoz as the director of CECUT?
Because he doesn’t meet the requirements needed to lead an institution such as CECUT. If you look closely at the professional requirements of a museum or cultural institution director such as CECUT, it would become apparent why he doesn’t fit this profile . He himself has stated that many times, as when he said to the Frontera newspaper: “Of course, I am not the only option. There are those better for this.” So we want to ask him why he doesn’t cede his position for the sake of the “best options.” As it has become clear, he is an officer who uses nepotism and who has been disrespectful toward the cultural community in his declarations. We think this type of situation can no longer exist in our country.
Why are you protesting now and not when Teresa Vicencio was appointed?
Vicencio’s administration had many deficiencies, but the crisis at CECUT is happening TODAY, not yesterday. To look at this matter from this point of view would stall any critical position. What we propose is a real change in the way cultural institutions function. If Teresa Vicencio’s management had mistakes, why should we repeat these by picking somebody who has no experience in leading a cultural institution?
Are you protesting because you will no longer receive any more grants or money form CECUT?
CECUT had never given grants to artists. The only support that CECUT gave at some point was economic help for transportation (airplane tickets, buses, etc.) EVERYONE applying for this support was accepted. Moreover, this economic support, such as APROMAC , had to be repaid to the institution by working several hours for free. Our movement is not linked with money but with the desire to end corrupted practices that are supported with the mediation of equally corrupted characters.
Who is financing your movement?
We have supported every action of our movement ourselves, through the individual economic participation of all of us and by putting together fundraising events.
Who is your leader?
There are no leaders. We are dozens of artists, writers and independent people who work daily towards this end not being directed by any one in particular. We work horizontally as opposed to vertically. Decisions are taken collectively. We know that politicians decide everything according to their leaders, but we work differently. If someone has a proposal, it is discussed, voted, and decided upon.
Is there anybody affiliated with you who wants to be CECUT’s director?
No. What we propose is a transparent and democratic process regarding the appointment of directors. We want this decision to be based on consensus and not a hand picking by the president. Today CECUT requires someone experienced in cultural management rather than someone inexperienced who has benefited from political camaraderie.
When will the movement stop?
The protest will continue until CONACULTA names someone prepared and who shows respect. In the news we recently saw the sad consequences of having given day care centers to inexperienced people in Sonora. We are not going to allow cultural institutions to be given to people who only want their job as a bone. We will not stop until the appointment process that allows this kind of damage is reconsidered. Stop the abuse of power.