I first came across the work of Pedro Reyes when I was working at the Cultural Affairs of the Mexican Embassy in London. Back then, I had the chance to discover his Atlas de Innovación Ciudadana (Atlas for Civic Innovation) (2009), a portable exhibition consisting of a box of a hundred informative posters presenting innovative initiatives in the social, cultural, environmental and cultural realms.
Last November, he presented a new exhibition titled People’s United Nations (pUN) at the Queens Museum. As you may (or may not) know, the Queens Museum building used to be the UN General Assembly meeting location between 1946 and 1950; Reyes’ exhibition is therefore a somewhat critical tribute to the transnational organisation.
The exhibition included a two day performance, during which a set of conflict-resolution techniques from a diverse range of fields (including theater and group therapy) was tested by a group of a 150 citizens-delegates to tackle what diplomacy has failed to do so far: solving the world’s problems.
I truly appreciate Pedro Reyes’ work and I am once again both amused and inspired by his exhibition at the Queens museum. He is an artist dealing with a multitude of different media and techniques with an ongoing focus on civic and community involvement, and the agency of art and design in problem solving within the educational, environmental, social and political realms.