IPAF international public art festival on Holbox Island in Quintana Roo, Mexico. The theme of the festival was “Dreaming Holbox” and its premise was that a group of 30 artists spend a week on the island and create work that in some way reflected the dreams of its residents. This tiny island is a very special place which has seen a large amount of tourist development, some largely controversial and of dubious legality, over the last ten years. It is part of the protected Yum Balam ecological reserve and is a seasonal destination for migratory species such as whale sharks, flamingos, giant manta rays, and horseshoe crabs. For my piece, I created a flotilla of miniature sailboats using recycled tin panels. On the sail of each boat I attached text cut from discarded aluminum cans, with phrases in Spanish that translate roughly to “I wish…”, “There are dreams of…”, “It would be awesome if…”, and etc.
After installing the boats on the village plaza, I asked local residents to tell me a dream or wish that they had for themselves, their local community, or the world at large. I used a set of handmade acrylic letters to create “ocean currents” of dreams on the ground around the boats. I got a lot of good input from the local population, and some of their children helped create and install the text of their wishes themselves. As I had hoped, the piece helped to provoke dialog between myself and the people of the island, and I was able to directly include their ideas in creating the installation. While I retained control of the general scope and aesthetic appearance of the piece, viewers were able to collaborate with me in order to make it meaningful. As trash disposal is a huge problem on Isla Holbox, I removed the installation at the end of the festival, and plan to recycle the materials in future artwork.