Sergio Vega

ARG (1959). Lives and works in Miami.

Modernismo chamánico, 2014
Photographs, models, video

Natural palm trees (10)
2 meters tall

Modernismo tropical, 2014
Mural, photomontage
Variable dimensions

Utopian Specimen: Banana-Building, 2002
Mixed media, 43 x 112 x 112 cm
Utopian Specimen: Toad Villa, 2006–2013
Mixed media, 92 x 106 x 232 cm
Utopian Specimen: Crocodilian Hall, 2013.
Mixed media, 25 x 152 x 92 cm

Pasajes de Paraíso en vivo, 2014
Video, 8’ approximate

Sergio Vega examines historical and current systems of representation in order to understand how culture is created and to question the world’s social conditions through the looking glasses of colonial paradigms.

Like previous works, his piece for the Cartagena Biennial, Modernismo chamánico (Shamanic modernism), takes on modernist architecture, posing that tropical architecture establishes a dialogue with nature, not in order to camouflage itself, but rather, to contend with it. Following the example of the shaman that imitates animals, speaks their tongues, and emulates their movements, when modernist architecture forgot Cartesian logic it entered a sinuous terrain that left it under the shelter of shamanism, driving architecture into a performative space, cross-dressing as an animal or plant. Though modern, the idea of a building dressed up and presented as a message to the skies is certainly an old one.

For Vega, it seems plausible that the next trend in architecture will be to openly embrace shamanic strategies. “In the near future we may come to see a bizarre array of organic buildings acquiring the status of natural specimens. Parrot color-chart architecture, banana institutional buildings, pineapple churches, crocodilian houses, snake promenades, toucan theaters, orchid subway stations, etc. If in the process, all species end up being represented, cities could become entire inventories of the natural kingdom and the whole of the modern world a monumental paradise.”