Design and Crime

Luis M. Castañeda
Jun 27, 2014 8:08PM

Milagros de la Torre's Armored is comprised of five photographs of armored cars, each of which suspends in time a moment in the recent design history of these types of vehicles. The photographs implement the "three-quarters" view, a convention primarily used to make portraits where sitters are placed at an angle in front of the camera. Historically, this technique was believed to bring out a sitter's "best" angle. The physical dimensions and material presence of the photographs is as central as their subject matter. De la Torre made each of the photographs about as wide as a human face in order to encourage viewers to look at them up close. This intimate relationship with the artworks brings into view the minute details of each photograph and allows viewers to perceive the changes between each of the examples of armored cars that the series shows. While it possesses a historical dimension, the series is also rooted in the context of Mexico City at the turn of the twenty-first century, the place and time when it was made. As such, it offers a subtle commentary on the climate of urban violence to which the design of these vehicles has responded over time. As the viewer looks at each of these portraits and observes the increasingly forbidding form of the vehicles, she will bear witness to the close relationship between changing social conditions and our design environment.

Luis M. Castañeda
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