A multidisciplinary, collaborative and dialogical space for the exchange of knowledge in the native community of Santa Catarina Ayotzingo, State of Mexico.
Left side, the field of Basalto Futbol Club 7; Right side, the warehouse and in the center, the cornfield during the summer of 2021.
Basalto revolves around issues such as decolonization, ancestral knowledge, the rural-urban frontier, the division of between Mexico City and the State of Mexico and cultural processes from the periphery; by means of workshops, encounters/collaborations, conversations, and an artist residency program, connecting national and international artists academics and craftspeople with cultural agents from the southern region of the Valley of Mexico.
Basalto was founded by the Dignicraft collective in 2019, whose members run the programs and manage the space.
Basalto Futbol Club 7
An important program of the space is Basalto Fútbol Club 7, which currently has a soccer court for men's and women's leagues, where matches are held five days a week. This year 38 teams have participated and children’s activities will begin soon. Soccer 7 is a key activity for Basalto because it gives life to the space and helps to generate a community around this sport that is very popular in the area, bringing together families from Santa Catarina Ayotzingo and neighboring towns such as Tezompa and San Pablo Atlazalpan.
Detail of a match at Basalto Futbol Club 7 during the women's league on Saturdays.
La Nave (warehouse)
Basalto has a 500-square-meter multipurpose warehouse where cultural activities have been carried out such as the Documentary Photography Workshop given by Peter Eversoll, a Serigraphy Workshop by Dewey Tafoya, a Photography Collage Workshop for Children with Filomena Cruz, and the Drawing Workshop with Antonio Nieto. In addition, it has hosted the first Conversatorio Encuentros Ayotzingo conference, the photography exhibition “Ayotzingo Microcosmos”, and the serigraphy exhibition "Periferia Gráfica".
La Nave is also available for members of the community who want to offer, in a self-managed way, courses or events. Basalto exists as an option in response to the lack of artistic and cultural programs and institutions in the South Valley of Mexico region.
Children outside the Basalto warehouse taking photos as part of the Photography and Collage Workshop taught by Filomena Cruz. August 2021.
Luis Guzmán, Director of the museum 'El Hijo del Lago' on Janitzio Island, Michoacán, during the panel on community museums of the "Conversatorio Encuentros Ayotzingo" conference in the Basalto warehouse. November 2019.
Detail of the Documentary Photography Workshop given by Peter Eversoll in Basalto. August 2021.
Detail of the Photography and Collage Workshop for children taught by Filomena Cruz in Basalto. August 2021.
Detail of the Drawing Workshop for children taught by Antonio Nieto in Basalto. August 2021.
Basalto also has a milpa that provides maize, corn, squash, beans and radishes, among other foods, to the families who collaborate in the project and residents of the place. To date, we have planted the cornfield for four years, and as part of the project, we are implementing a system to capture rainwater for both planting and daily use.
The issue of water is very important in Santa Catarina Ayotzingo, especially in Rancho San Miguel, the neighborhood where Basalto is located, because there is no potable water and sewerage service. Reason why we contacted the Decentralized Public Organization for the Provision of Drinking Water, Sewerage and Sanitation Services of the municipality of Chalco (ODAPAS in Spanish) and donated a portion of land, right in front of the soccer field, so that authorities build a well to supply water to the area. In December 2021, the well was inaugurated, providing water to the nearby community.
Guillermo Salinas, Basalto Chief of Operations, in front of the Basalto milpa. Summer 2021.
Santa Catarina Ayotzingo
Santa Catarina Ayotzingo, the community where Basalto is located, is part of the Metropolitan Area of the Valley of Mexico that includes Mexico City and 60 agglomerated municipalities, mostly from the State of Mexico. In 2020, this area had a population of around 22 million inhabitants, approximately 1 in 5 Mexicans.
The Community of Santa Catarina Ayotzingo is a place full of history and symbolism for the region. In pre-Hispanic times it was part of the shore of Lake Chalco, it had its own jetty, it was a node of communication and commerce. The first Chichimeca settlers coined the name Ayotzingo, which in Nahuatl means “Where the turtles sunbathe”, approximately 8 centuries ago.
In Santa Catarina Ayotzingo the first meeting between Hernán Cortés and Moctezuma's envoys took place; during the Mexican Revolution, Zapatistas and Carrancistas passed through its streets; Fidel Castro, “Che” Guevara and the group of combatants who accompanied them in the Cuban Revolution trained in its hills; today it is a center of commerce and transit, and a place that contributes to the development of the cultural movement of the periphery.