photographic portrait of Tonatiuh López

Tonatiuh López

T. is a writer, art historian and activist. The topics his practice addresses range from gender studies to the theory of love, as well as exploring the possibilities to effectively link art and society. Since 2014, T. has been researching on Mexican and international art produced from the experience of those living with HIV, in order to use art in sexual health education. He also incorporates art and writing in activism around harm reduction, drug policies and public and mental health of the LGBT+ community. T. is a member of the Museo Arte Contemporáneo Ecatepec (MArCE) collective; a museum without walls that seeks to rescue the region’s traditions, spaces, affections and particular ways of living, as well as being a platform for other creative activisms, from feminisms, socio-environmental regeneration and defence of the territory. For T., living consists of solving the problem of love, including sexuality and the pedagogy of the bodies; three acts through which we create a community that is vulnerable but powerful, with possibilities of revolution and justice. 

T. was also head of the educational department of Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, and Museo Morelense de Arte Contemporáneo Juan Soriano, Cuernavaca, Mexico. He has received grants and recognitions, such as the Museums Connect award from the American Alliance of Museums; the Trust Fund for the Visual and Performing Arts, Trinity College Dublin; the William Bullock’s Critical Museology Award, British Council / MUAC, Mexico, among others.

Testimony

I’m a drug-love-sex addict faggot. I brought that to the seminar. I brought myself to the seminar. How? I tried to show the others how I wish to love. I tried to dare them to do it. I map my city – Mexico City – with the places where I used to find bodies to act out love with. I tried to make the people of the seminar occupy that city together with me and their beloved ones. I tried to make them trace out a map in the rooms where they have been locked in. I try to think about those spaces as a universe to explore. I realise, and I hope they did too, that it is possible to wander the digital space looking for others that respond to your gaze, and to open their bodies, rooms and cities to find love.
This experience was quite a big discovery to me. I’m always sceptical and suspicious about the online realm, I would even confess to being a bit technophobic. My whole life can be defined as an anxious search for physical contact with people, combined with periods of complete isolation, so technology is unimportant. I thought I was prepared for the situations that this pandemic could bring, but I was wrong, and it has hit my life and mental health terribly in unexpected ways. These past months I’ve been forced to exist in a space that I was rejecting; I lost my apartment and returned to the town where I grew up. There I had to invent for myself a digital voice and body. Reluctantly, I started to „connect” with people that way. This seminar was the climax of that connection; when I attended the first session, I discovered that we can inhabit the digital space together, that we can dream there together, that we can make it a space for cruising and discover how others love, sharing our lives and resisting politically. Digitally, together we stand.