Friday, February 11, 2011

"Dog piece," by Jose Maria

"JM: One of my favorite pieces was the dog piece. In Anapra there are a lot of stray dogs, the kind where the females have had so many litters that their stomachs and nipples almost drag across the dirt as they walk around. These were all “mutts,” as you call them, so I thought it would be interesting to bring in a pure-bred dog and let her roam free in town and see how people react. So I went to Juárez and bought a Chihuahueño and let her loose, but someone must have stolen her.

GF: Oh.

JM: I never saw her again after that first day. Then I got another one in El Paso, a long-haired one, and smuggled him in. People were mystified seeing this little guy–so clean and out of place. He had a refinement that was obvious. Initially he had trouble socializing with the other dogs. People started calling him El Pequeño Diablo. They thought he was either a gift from God, a curse of the Devil, or some sort of message being sent by [the most prominent drug-dealer at the time]. No one ever found out where he came from. El Pequeño was still roaming the town when I moved to El Paso. He was kind of a mascot.

GF: What makes you like this piece?

JM: It’s basically invisible. What I did–bring a dog to town–just added one more dog. There has to be over 500 dogs in Anapra. Probably more. So in terms of things added, it’s basically nothing. But everyone–kids, adults, criminals, nuns–they all loved seeing a little Chihuahua running around. So it had an impact, but nothing tangible. It’s also an intervention–if you want to call it that–that I had no control over. Once I introduced the dog to the environment, it was out of my hands completely."

from AFC interview by Guy Forget