Spotlight: Mexico City—Lucía Hinojosa
May 15, 2020 by Vanessa Machir
A photograph of three books on a display

In the fall/winter 2019 edition of the Visual Arts Journal, the magazine of the School of Visual Arts, writer and alumnus Vanessa Machir (MPS 2016 Branding) profiled three SVA alumni who live and work in Mexico City, one of the world's great cultural centers, home to progressive galleries, eclectic architecture, a wide-ranging array of museums and ZONAMACO, the biggest contemporary art fair in Latin America.

Earlier this year, we featured photographer Carlos Álvarez-Montero (MFA 2010 Photography, Video and Related Media) and Jennifer Emmons (MFA 2015 Design for Social Innovation), whose eco-conscious business, Verde Permuta, aims to change perceptions about pre-owned clothes. Our latest and final entry in the Spotlight: Mexico City series is interdisciplinary artist, writer, and editor Lucía Hinojosa (BFA 2013 Visual & Critical Studies). Read on to learn more about Hinojosa and her work.

A black-and-white photograph of a woman sitting at a desk or table with her head in one hand and looking at the camera.

Interdisciplinary artist, writer and editor Lucía Hinojosa (BFA 2013 Visual & Critical Studies).

Credit: Joshua Faudem

Lucía Hinojosa’s publication diSONARE is hard to define—and that’s the way she likes it. “You can’t name it exactly,” she says. It’s bilingual (Spanish and English), features work by established artists (Paul Chan) alongside emerging ones (Eugenio Camarillo, a writer and translator of Triqui origin) and brings together a variety of disciplines.

Case in point: Though it’s a printed piece, the sixth issue’s theme was “sound” and it was launched at Fonoteca Nacional de Mexico, the national library of sound. “It’s about how ideas intersect between one medium and another,” Hinojosa says. “It’s a photograph, it’s a performance, maybe it’s both.”

It’s fitting that when we met last year, it was at Juarez’s Café La Habana, long a favorite of creative minds. While she sipped suero, a combination of lime, soda water and salt that’s said to be good for a hangover (though she didn’t have one), she briefed me on Habana’s history. Chilean author Roberto Bolaño wrote there, and it is said to be the inspiration for the Café Quito setting in his novel Savage Detectives. Rocker (and Bolaño fan, and 2019 SVA commencement speaker) Patti Smith performed at the café in 2017.

Hinojosa—also a writer and multidisciplinary artist—grew up in the south of the city and moved to New York City in 2009. She came up with the idea for diSONARE while at SVA, and launched it in 2013 in Mexico City with co-founder and partner Diego Gerard Morrison. “There wasn’t a literary magazine with that kind of slant in Mexico,” she says. It’s now available at Mexico City institutions like Museo Jumex and Museo Tamayo, and Artbook @ MoMA PS1 and Printed Matter in the United States.

DiSONARE’s eighth issue, due out later this year, explores the theme of the moving image and Mexican imagination through magic, shamanism, experimental film and more. And the ninth issue’s theme? A familiar source of inspiration: Savage Detectives.

A version of this article appears in the fall/winter 2019 Visual Arts Journal.