Red Shoes: bringing the spirit and intent of Zapatos Rojos to Second Life

Red Shoes image by Mexi Lane
Red Shoes image by Mexi Lane

There’s a new art exhibit opening at MIC Imagin@rium at 14:00 SLT on Monday December 2nd. it is a unique collaborative venture featuring works by 25 SL artists, and which involves the exhibition in a real-life cross-over with the Il Margutta Gallery, Rome.

Elina Cahuvet at the 2012 El Paso, Texas,
Elina Chauvet

Red Shoes builds on the work of Mexican visual artist Elina Chauvet, who created Zapatos Rojos,  a display of red shoes and boots of all  designs and sizes, used to commemorate the high number of women and girls killed in the city of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

The piece came about as a result of Chauvet becoming increasingly aware of the high numbers of women and girls who were dying or simply vanishing within the city, a place where violence had at one time escalated to the point where the Mexican military were asked to intervene, a move which actually exacerbated matters. “In my visits downtown I was alarmed to see how many posters for missing girls were stuck to the telephone poles,” Chauvet explained to Canadian broadcaster and journalist Joyce Janvier in an interview about the origins of the project. “That’s when I realized that the women in Juarez were dying or disappearing. Then and there I began to ask questions but did not find answers. Stories of women went under-reported.”

She selected shoes as the focus for the display for two reasons. Firstly, as she had previously used shoes and a metaphor in the past, she felt they were a means by which she could give expression to her concern for the missing or dead women. Secondly, in researching the disappearances herself, she discovered that many of those who had vanished either worked in shoe stores, had been buying shoes at the time of their disappearance or were seeking work in a shoe shop.

Initially, the exhibit started with 33 pairs of red shoes donated by the women of Ciudad Juárez, arranged in a silent line, representing the missing women walking along the city’s Benito Juárez Street, which leads to the town’s oldest border crossing bridge into the United States.  Since that time, the piece has grown to over 200 pairs of shoes and boots and has become viral in nature, having been exhibited in cities in both the United States and Europe, and coming to represent broader aspects of violence many woman around the globe suffer in their daily lives. In May 2013, Zapatos Rojos returned to Ciudad Juárez.

Zapatos Rojos, Piazza Vecchia, Ciudad Juárez, May 2013
Zapatos Rojos, Piazza Vecchia, Ciudad Juárez, May 2013 (image courtesy of Alice Peretti, You + Me Equals)

The Second Life exhibition opens on December 2nd, 2014 and continues through until midnight on January 7th, 2014. It features individual installations by twenty-five SL artists, all of whom have taken their lead from a pair of red mesh shoes created for the project by Rumegusc Altamura, and the exhibits are displayed in an ultra-modern space designed by Colpo Wexler which sits atop the waters of the region, with a magnificent Romanesque backdrop also created by Rumegusc Altamura. The participating artists are: Swina Allen, Alpha Auer, Solkide Auer , La Baroque, Lookatmy Back, Giovanna Cerise, Cica Ghost, Viviana Houston , Kicca Igaly, Violetta Inglewood, Giorgio Mayo, Merlino Mayo, Myyns Mayo, Rubin Mayo, Paola Mills, Daniele Daco Monday, Nessuno Myoo, Sniper Seimens,  Mitaki Slade, Mila Tatham, Nexuno Thespian, Blue Tsuki, Maddomxc Umino, Nino Vichan, and MIC Imagin@rium’s own Mexi Lane.

Red Shoes: Rubin Mayo
Red Shoes: Rubin Mayo

Previewing the installation, I found that Coplo Wexler’s minimalist approach to the actual exhibition sets to be highly effective, allowing the observer to focus directly on each piece in turn with little or no visual distractions. Some of those on the “outer” ring of exhibit spaces are featured in their own three-dimensional “frames”, providing further focus on their subject matter, while others are open to the far horizon, blending with it to create great depth of experience – such as with Alpha Auer’s evocative piece. I mentioned earlier that the installation also has a unique real-life cross-over. This is because on December 10th, 2013, the Il Margutta Gallery in Rome will be inaugurating a new exhibition entitled, “Woman in Rock & Red Shoes”, and a machinima of the Red Shoes exhibit at MIC Imagin@rium will be screened at the gallery as a part of the inaugural activities.

Red Shoes: Alpha Auer
Red Shoes: Alpha Auer

Red Shoes is a powerful installation; I’ve no idea if Elina Chauvet is aware of it – if not, I hope someone does contact her concerning it. I’ve little doubt she would admire and appreciate the way her message is being carried forward in an immersive manner to again reach a global audience.

Related Links

Red Shoes: Giorgio Mayo
Red Shoes: Giorgio Mayo
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2 thoughts on “Red Shoes: bringing the spirit and intent of Zapatos Rojos to Second Life

  1. Pingback: The Green Lanterns

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