In 2017, Sabrina Fernández acquired the informal license and the complete inventory of a pirated-film shop in Peru called Mondo Trasho, consisting of approximately 5’000 films in DVD format which besides mainstream movies, include an amazing collection of B-movies, independent films, amateur films, queer films, art selections and documentaries.
Mondo Trasho was an emblematic independent store in Lima, which thrived until the arrival of streaming platforms. As internet became faster and content became digital, DVDs became obsolete and Mondo Trasho stopped being profitable. The owner announced the sale of his inventory just as Sabrina was doing research about informal market and piracy in Peru, and after exchanging many emails, she became the new owner of Mondo Trasho.
Under the premise: « instead of users, capitalism turns us into consumers, killing the opportunity to experiment, and exchange experiences and knowledge”, Sabrina transformed Mondo Trasho into a collective project that constantly activates and intervenes the film archive to generate artworks, new knowledge and experiences.
Following the logic of piracy, Sabrina gives free access to the entire catalogue of Mondo Trasho and to her own graphic work derived from it: 55 artists books made with the original copies of the DVD covers. She has also invited artists Jorge Raka, Veronica Luyo & Alvaro Icaza and Isabel Guerrero to create artworks and artefacts derived from the film archive (which is still located in Peru). The resulting works can be seen in this website that Fabien Duperrex and the artist designed for the project (similarities to Netflix are not coincidental ;)).
The exhibition at la_cápsula consists of the installation of the 55 books made by Fernández Casas, and a room to navigate the website of Mondo Trasho. Visitors will be able to sit down in cushions made by the artists from the plastic bags that contained the film archive when she first bought it — and which will be very familiar to people who have been in a street market in Latin America.
Mondo Trasho and the artworks/interventions around it are a collective reflection of the systems of informal economy that exist in Latin America, which have normalised practices such as piracy. At the same time, it is a strong criticism against capitalism and the privatisation of knowledge that it promotes.
Adriana Domínguez Velasco
Curator La Capsula, Zürich