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The series Valle San Pedro, named for a district in Mónica Arreola’s hometown of Tijuana, responds to the 2008 global recession and its impact on the city. Arreola, who trained as an architect and developed a database on Tijuana housing during a period of government work, began photographing these developments after they were abandoned mid-construction—ruins in the making. She would only photograph on overcast days in order to avoid romanticizing the sites. Her direct style emphasizes form and building typology, creating an archive of the effects of the United States’ housing market crash and financial collapse on Tijuana, which shares a border with California. “These are places that are very silent,” she has explained, “but at the same time violent.”

“The landscape of Tijuana,” Arreola has explained, “is always changing and changing quickly. These photographs are documents of a specific period, something that has passed, like the contents of a family photo album or a personal archive.”

Texto: Whitney Biennial 2022

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