In January & February 2016 I was invited by "Foro Cultural de Austria" as an artist-in-residence to Mexico City. During these 2 months of residency i was collecting my material (waste, sounds and photo-series). Back in my studio in Berlin I animated "Mexico Recyclers".
Cantina "La Mascota"
Cantinas are very popular bars in Mexico. You get served food for each order of a drink. I was in "Cantina La Mascota" when next to me a very drunken couple requested songs from the hanging-around mariachis. I recorded them secretly and animated my cantina-scene.
Most of the time i didn't dare to enter these lively bars on my own. But i was always very curious and spied through the doors in order to get some impressions of the ambient inside. Thats why i animated the cantina scene from an outside point of view.
In the metro people sell the most absurd items. They have their particular calls and cadences when offering their products.
Organ grinders in their beige soldier uniforms are seen all over Mexico City. They originally arrived in the late 1800 from Europe, the organs were mainly manufactured in Berlin, Germany. They don't own their instrument, but need to rent them daily. Most of the organs are quite out of tune, it is an acoustic challenge to pass them.
The figures in the little screen (skeleton with his organ and monkey) were part of an exhibition i saw in CENART during "Los Dias De Los Muertos".
"El Camotero" is a very special figure in Mexico. In the evenings he passes through the streets, pushing his self-constructed oven and sells sweet potatoes ("camote") and bananas. When you hear the whistle of his oven, you know he is close. In this scenes i invented my own whistling construction, as a reference to the "camotero".
The dancing figure exposes the faces of all sacred animals of the aztec culture during his performance.
When the garbage truck comes, the working men ring a giant bell while walking through the streets to announce their arrival. You take your waste and go out to the truck.
This marimba music i recorded at the cemetery "Panteón Xoco" during "Los Dias de Los Muertos". A family paid the musician to perform at their grave. The visual design of this scene is a reference to a typical Mexican gift: little box in which skeletons are installed in a daily situation. It expresses the Mexican way of dealing with death: "The deaths are still among us".
"Piñatas" are colorful papier-mâché containers filled with toys or sweets. At birthday parties or Christmas you chop them till they break apart. My "Piñata" is filled with weapons, a reference to the obscure and violent side of the Mexican reality.
My mariachi sings one of the most famous Mexican songs: "Besame Mucho". He nearly gets shot during his performance, but he luckily survived.
Animation · 6:50 min · Stereo · 16:9 DCP
Direction | Animation | Sound: Nikki Schuster
Mixing: Sebastian Müller
Financing: Land OÖ & FFA Berlin
© Nikki Schuster, DE/AT/MEX 2016
Mexico - mariachis, marimbas and vivid skeletons. In the urban hideouts of this city little creatures come to life. These are digitally composed with collected waste from the streets and typical local products. The clatter of the limbs of these creatures interacts with the soundscapes of Mexico City.
Interfilm Berlin 2017