EDELO (En Donde Era La ONU)

Looking out into the crowd at the Creative Time Summit year after year, it has become clear that the divide between those presenting on the stage and those seated in the audience is barely distinguishable. In an effort to acknowledge the impressive scope of our community, the lineup this year will include a special presentation by Caleb Duarte, whose project was selected through the first-ever Open Call for a Summit presenter. Duarte comes to the Summit on behalf of EDELO, which he co-founded with fellow artist Mia Eva Rollow in San Cristobal de Las Casas in the Chiapas region of Mexico. EDELO began in 2008 out of the occupation of the city’s United Nations offices by over one hundred displaced indigenous community members. The peaceful protests hoped to attract international attention from humanitarian organizations. Instead, after three months, the United Nations moved out. In its wake, Duarte and Rollow invited artists, activists, cultural workers, and community members to inhabit the abandoned facility, which they named EDELO, an acronym for En Donde Era La ONU that translates as “Where the United Nations Used to Be”. The project suggests the possibility that art can effectively imitate the role of institutional bodies by transforming their inherent bureaucratic into a venue for open dialogue and experimentation. Today, EDELO continues to act as a residency program where artists and activists from around the globe can collaborate with the local inhabitants, often Zapataist members, of rural Chiapas. As a Mexican immigrant who relocated to California at an early age, Duarte holds a personal connection to the questions of social protection, migration, and social mobility addressed in the space of EDELO He now resides in Chiapas where oversees EDELO and maintains his own practice. His work has exhibited in Mexico, Italy and across the United States and has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Art LTD Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, and SPARK public television, among others.