Amor Munoz is making an art project out of a message about the global economy, reports Damien Cave in The New York Times (12/31/12). Amor pedals around Mexico City on a white bicycle, megaphone in hand, offering a few lucky locals a chance to earn an extra $7.50 per hour for a couple of hours. She has no shortage of applicants, given that the “minimum wage in Mexico is about 60 cents an hour.” The first dozen or so in line are given “thread, needles, cloth, timecards and employment contracts.”
Their job is to create “interactive art pieces that combine the old craft of sewing with 20th century electronics and 21st century tags, allowing smartphone users to look up who worked on a given piece.” Experience is not necessary — recent recruits included both seasoned seamstresses along with “David Quiroz, 18, a taxi dispatcher” who “struggled to thread a needle without drawing blood.” When they’re finished, Amor pays them and takes their pictures, which are posted with their handiwork online.
“It’s about community,” says Amor. “I’m interested in sharing the experience of art.” But she’s also making a statement about Mexican wages, which she sees “as an insult to human dignity.” Her mobile maquiladora — or factory — doubles as message about “the power of work for reasonable pay … Like many other young artists in the capital, she is trying to push Mexico forward by combining older traditions with the interactivity of social media” and “dreams of finding financing” for additional mobile maquiladoras. “With technology, everything can be democratized,” she says. “It’s fabulous.”