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Es Mejor Ser Rich Que Poor

Interactive installation, 2014

Quiénes somos, quiénes queremos ser y cómo llegamos hasta acá.

"Es Mejor Ser Rich Que Poor" is an interactive installation aimed at triggering self-reflection within Colombian society by means of language. By recurring to a considerably famous expression ("Es mejor ser rico que pobre" / "It's better to be rich than poor") the intention is to criticize the evergrowing "anything goes" culture, as well as the idealization of the foreign that lies in the core of Colombian identity.

Commonly attributed to famous Colombian boxer Antonio Cervantes 'Kid Pambelé', this sentence ("es mejor rico que pobre" in its original form) is often ridiculed and overlooked for its apparent obviousness within the realities of capitalism. However, by subverting it, this project is intended to make evident how over time it has become an slogan for corruption, that has impacted Colombia's understanding of nation and identity.

The installation consists of a two-layered poster. The first layer is an arrangement of postcards with the aforementioned sentence printed on top of a distorted abstract image of the Colombian map. Each postcard includes a popular expression or social label that addresses the idea of classes from different perspectives: economy, politics, sexual orientation and race. Spectators are encouraged to take a postcard, revealing the poster's second layer which depicts a pattern of world-known drug trafficker Pablo Escobar morphing into Donald Trump.

This is a visual representation of how "It's better to be rich than poor" legitimizes the use of any necessary means for personal benefit, and how that has become a behavioral pattern throughout the country. It also speaks to the prevailing notion of americanization as a way of social progress.

The words "Plata Or Plomo" are printed on top of the pattern. This expression was made famous by Pablo Escobar during his war against Colombian State. Originally, it was used to bribe people in exchange of not getting murdered.

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