Gabriella Gomez-Mont

Mexico City: the largest dance floor in the world

Mexico City is the epitome of both all the potential and all the challenges that the city of tomorrow holds. As a megalopolis of the developing world, it shares many of the problems that cities in Latin America, Africa and Asia are facing. But as the 8th largest city economy in the world, it also has the necessary infrastructure to create important experiments and become a city capable of prototyping, testing and implementing ideas that can later be exported to other cities. In that sense, Mexico City is the perfect bridge between first world and emerging world, since it is both a complex and enticing mix of both.

Despite the bubbling cultural scene and its inherent vitality, Mexico City faces many challenges, including an enormous health problem. Diabetes in Mexico is now the leading cause of preventable disease death in the country, and ninety percent of the cases stem from obesity. This has the potential to overwhelm the health system in Mexico in a decade, if important measures are not taken.

If framed with such dire circumstance, the lifestyle changes necessary to combat this problem becomes overwhelming, and change becomes difficult. Instead, TED Senior Fellow Gabriella Gomez-Mont – in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of experts, including Pablo Landa, Clora Romo, Constanza Gómez-Mont and Taxidermie – is creating a citywide dance competition that will be held both on virtual and real space in 2015. By using the celebratory nature of Mexican society as a common ground for change, dance will become a part of the solution. The event will promote dance as exercise while simultaneously starting a dialogue about health and vitality. The whole city will become a dance floor—the largest in the world.

From older couples dancing salsa, to young people dancing techno, to 14,000 people getting together to set the record for most people dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” dance has always been part of Mexico’s social fiber. Gomez-Mont wants to concentrate that energy to tell the story collectively and use it to challenge a very real problem – “What if we could turn a whole megalopolis into one gargantuan dance floor, and promote an active lifestyle while having fun and tapping into the playful, social and happily competitive side of the city?””

This project bridges digital and physical space as it heightens awareness. Crowd-sourced entries of people dancing in all neighborhoods will be submitted for awards with the help of a new website and Gomez-Mont’s independent culture lab Tóxico, as well as Laboratorio para la Ciudad, a new creative urban think tank that she directs and recently co-founded with Clora Romo. Social media will also allow people to vote and connect with other communities. Plus Mexico City’s Government has been very open to new frameworks and to tackling city problems ingeniously, in collaboration with its citizens, helping spread good ideas throughout the city streets.

A citywide dance competition that will be held both on virtual and real space.

About Gabriella Gomez-Mont

Gabriella Gomez-Mont was born in Mexico City. She divides her time amongst parallel projects that converge at different points, always interested in working at the borders between disciplines. As a visual artist Gabriella has been part of exhibitions in Europe, Japan, the USA and Mexico; and her work has been published in various magazines and books such as “From Chaos To Order and Back” by Electa. She has also done creative work for companies such as MTV International, Nike, Benetton and the WWF. In the year 2004 she founded Tóxico: Cultura Contemporanea and Cine Abierto (dedicated to promoting independent cinema). In that same year Gabriella co-founded Laboratorio Curatorial 060, an experimental collective made up of artists, philosophers, art historians and architects that are interested in questioning the ideas that define and contain contemporary cultural practices. In May 2009 she was selected as one of 25 international TED Fellows and served as a TED Senior Fellow from 2010-2013. She is now filming her first feature-length documentary with the support of the FOPROCINE national cinema grant.

Sara Cantor Aye & George Aye

Designing Chicago

Emily May