Gravity in a Water Glass

Monday artist Adriana Bustos was exhibited at the Latin America focus at the Armory Show, held March 4-8 2011 in New York at Piers 92 and 94 on the West Side Highway. A Buenos Aires gallery, Ignacio Liprande Arte Contemporaneo, showed Bustoss Antropologia de la Mula or Anthropology of the Mule. The artists photographic record is of human drug trafficking in which the “mule” that beast of burden, is the “weakest link” in the drug chain, per the artist. Humans, usually females, are hired to swallow capsules full of cocaine and be couriers to an endpoint of cash. Think Kings of New York. The mules survival from intoxication, poisoning, and traveling many hours with balloons in the stomach is by no means assured. Bustos has written that if the mules survive but do not expel the drugs their bodies are treated with as little mercy as that of an animal dead on a mountain pass, by the drug dealers who see them merely as warm storage.

Bustos, 45, lives in Córdoba, Argentina. Her work begins in documentary and also is interested in the life of the nocturnal when things are shadowy and diffuse. This image of powder in a water glass had a transparent effect as shown by the photograph in which the viewers themselves became visible as reflections. A quiet potent installation in a very strong arena of the fair showing new work from Latin America. 2011.

The term “Mule” refers to those people, true human mails, that deliver important amount of cocain inside their stomach by swallowing capsules, or on their bodies or in their luggage. The mule is the weakest link in the drug trafficking chain, since he or she can easily die of intoxication if one of these capsules explode. If they are lucky enough so as to survive such an experience, they will have to overcome drug dealers, who, in the need to get their merchandise back, open up their mules and once they get what they wanted, discard the lifeless bodies of their victims out in the open; or they can be discovered by police authorities and be subjected to sentences for drug trafficking.



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