Zócalo, Mexico City, May 22, 1999 | Francis Alÿs


Zócalo, Mexico City, May 22, 1999


Video projection with sound

Variable duration


Francis Alÿs

Antwerp, Belgium, 1959


© Francis Alys
Courtesy of the artist

Zócalo is one of the watershed videos within a series of works that Belgian-Mexican artist Francis Alÿs completed during the 1990s. In this video, the artist transformed downtown Mexico City into an extension of his studio, as well as a physical and conceptual arena that could be used to explain social and economic life in the region. On May 22, 1999, Alÿs filmed—in collaboration with filmmaker Rafael Ortega—the expanse of the city's main square in order to register a phenomenon that tends to go unnoticed: the way pedestrians seek the shade projected by the flagpole. People formed a line that acted like a sundial, moving three degrees for each of the twelve daytime hours. This quotidian anecdote has become one of the most lasting images in regional contemporary art and a key example of Alÿs' concept of how community life can be transformed by the emergence of an urban myth.

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pleca institucional