mountain moving faith
Francis Alÿs already proved that faith can literally move mountains, in his project based on linear geological displacement. Last week the holiest moment in Mexican pilgrimage annual calendar took place. Millions of believers crawl, walk, ride or fly to Guadalupe Basilica in Mexico City to venerate its popular Virgin in those days. A massive displacement occurs, and the congregation carries thousands of images of their beloved Guadalupe with themselves along the journey to the faith-mountain.
“Six Million Pilgrims (2009) is a photographic typology of the backs of three hundred Mexican Catholic pilgrims on their journey to the Basilica de Guadalupe in Mexico City. This yearly pilgrimage, undertaken by approximately six million people every year takes place on the anniversary of the five apparitions of the Virgin of Guadalupe between the 9th and 12th December 1531 [...] (T)he image of the Virgin has been of central importance in the history of Mexico. Her image was used by political leaders as a symbol of faith and freedom during the Independence movement in 1810, and again during the Revolution a century later.” [Alinka Echeverría]
By taking the images from their own homes as their most precious object, pilgrims synthesize their everyday dwelling to the minimum during their road-trip.
The Basilica itself needs to prepare for the masses. As expected from such an incredible amount of devotees, they come up with new devices to deal with them. Three airport-like moving walkways have been installed underneath the most revered image, so that pilgrims do not spend more than a few seconds, after their weeks-long journey in some cases. But they can comfort in the temporary shelters surrounding the Basilica, which offer spiritual assessment. Not only such kind of need is required among believers. The increasing demand to be buried in the adjoining cemetery have led to develop an important speculative market of “niches” (a deep recess in a wall used as a tomb). For a reasonable price, one can acquire it directly on-site, inside the travel-agency like stands.
[image1> via tóxico: cultura contemporánea] [image2> by Geraldine Vásquez] [image3> When faith moves mountains by Franis Alÿs via hammer] [image4> via googlemaps] [image5> via mexicowoods] [images 6&7> by deconcrete2007]