Mexico City, Mexico
Sergio Beltrán-García is an architect, activist, and researcher from Mexico City, Mexico. Beltrán-Garcia engages with the aesthetic and political practices of truth elucidation, judicialization, and non-repetition of human rights violations by using memory as an entry point.
His work focuses on the design and construction of memorial processes, emphasizing memory’s power to mitigate historic violences. His project, The Dispersed Memorial, responds to artificially heightened political and economic costs of memorial-building in Mexico for victims of human rights violations, the organizations which accompany them, and governments who support or oppose them. The project proposes a low-cost, modular and self-constructing memorial prototype which, assisted by mixed reality technologies, will bridge the gaps between attended and forgotten victims.
Beltrán-García also practices as a forensic architect and assists human rights lawyers, recently testifying as an expert witness in the case of a femicide. In 2019, the United Kingdom granted him the prestigious Chevening Award to pursue a postgraduate degree in Research Architecture at Goldsmiths University of London to deepen his knowledge on counter-forensic investigation. He is a member of the Memory Studies Association, and has also received fellowships at the Aspen Institute and at Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Featured WorkThe Dispersed Memorial is a contemporary response to a three-fold problem: an increasing demand from disenfranchised populations to exercise their rights to memory, an acceleration in State-sponsored production of monuments which reify political ideologies to convenience that avoid addressing structural and slow violences, and finally, to critically engage with theoretical and ethical inquiries on memorial production within public spaces progressively embedded with virtual architectures.
Thus, The Dispersed Memorial takes the form of a low-cost and modular DIY kit that allows memorials to be deployed as small-scale urban furniture with customizable parts that slowly build a network of remembrances which communicate with each other through both offline and online strategies. During his fellowship with Monument Lab, Beltrán-García will continue to develop proof-of-concept of the Dispersed Memorial, completing and deploying publicly the first versions of the project, as well as monitoring their interactions, affects, and political impacts.
Beltrán-García has contributed to the development of over various memorials for distinct events of violence in Mexico, such as the forced disappearance of 109 peasants during the 1970s Mexican Counterinsurgency, the fatal police raid of the New's Divine nightclub in 2008, and the collapse of buildings during the 2017 earthquakes. Although he always works in close accompaniment with and in defense of victims of human rights violations and their families, he is frequently invited to collaborate with municipal, state and federal levels of the Mexican government.
A forensic architecture expert report presented in a Mexico City criminal court during the prosecution of the femicide of Lesvy Berlin Osorio
Interior of the New’s Divine Memorial, built in 2015 in the outskirts of Mexico City, which functions as a cultural community center for vulnerable youth
Detail of the New’s Divine Memorial, a former dance hall where 9 youth were murdered by a failed police raid, whose graffiti murals were recovered, restored and reinterpreted to become part of the new memorial space
Memorial to the City, a 300 meter long bamboo structure built to protest against ongoing privatization of public space & gentrification processes in Mexico City
Our Memorial 19s, a 5 month-long campaign to stop the construction of a monument which sponsored forgetting and impunity in the wake of the 2017 Mexico earthquakes.