“La68 is a project that is born out of enthusiasm – real enthusiasm,” Daniela explains between sips of coffee. “When you think about the origin of the word, enthusiasm is carrying a god or goddess inside you. That energy that drives us is what ultimately convinced me to take this risk,” she concludes.
The creator of this new artistic and cultural project in the Yucatecan capital certainly doesn’t lack passion. With her eyes wide open and a poised yet strong voice, she tells me how she came about adopting Mérida as her home, and afterwards, producing a space of engagement and creation for both locals and visitors alike.
If you live in Mérida, you may remember afternoons outdoors enjoying documentary films at La68. You may also have felt disappointed when the Casa de Cultura Elena Poniatowska closed its doors in 2015. Five years later, with a restored Casona and a new group of collaborators, La68 opens its doors to create community, think collectively, and undergo art as a shared experience.
We ordered carrot muffins and deviated a bit from the subject, speaking about her time living abroad in Egypt, Switzerland, and Japan; and finally, about the need to have a space to “make” culture. “But by ‘making’ culture,” Daniela mentions, “I don’t mean presenting and consuming, film, theatre, music, literature, etc., but rather reflecting on our own place in the world through art, critical thinking, and conversation.”
The new project is still named La68 because there is a history there. It is located on Calle 68 in Santiago and keeping the name is a way of honoring the effort and energy of those who brought the house to life. Within the space you’ll find La Retorno, that rescues, repairs, and extends the life of second hand and vintage clothing; an initiative for conscious consumption that creates reflection about personal narrative and construction of personal identity. Its gallery, library, workshops, and talks open up dialogue; while Plants of Wonder, a small vegan coffee shop and deli designed by Scott San Román, invites us to explore food alternatives that respect animals’ lives.
La68 is drawn towards alternative and experimental artistic works that might not have had an opportunity to be shown elsewhere. Daniela insists on the importance of diversity and dissidence; she states how artists building their art from a more social, inclusive, and critical perspective will have a home there.
Culture, conscience, and collectiveness are the three pillars of La68. There is a certain kind of magic behind a conversation that arises from a play, movie, or concert – that magic that makes us all so different yet unites us.
This project is centered on empathy and interconnectedness. The ideas, intentions, and efforts of all those involved aim to find and share kinder and more exciting ways to spend our time on Earth.
Doors open February 20.
Editorial by Greta Garrett
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