About VEXTRE’s Background

The origins: The Virgin of Guadalupe Doesn’t Come to See Me

The Virgin of Guadalupe Does not Come to See Me was born as the artistic proposal by Maite Cajaraville for Cáceres Abierto 2017. It was an installation that extracted electrical impulses from agri-food products made in Extremadura to generate, in ceramics and through 3D printing, a socioeconomic map of the region.

In June 2017, and for four days, the sculpture of Extremadura was being printed in situ in the Plaza Mayor of Cáceres, nourishing itself with products from the land: hams, cheeses, etc. When the energy that powered the 3D printer decreased, visitors interacted with the piece, adding more food or moving the polarized plates to increase energy production.

The printed map integrated values ​​related to the economic growth and the social reality of the region as a whole, but analyzed village by village. In an intuitive way, people who visited the installation could recognize their municipality and delve into its reality.

To develop the 3D modeling of the map, a meticulous investigation, compilation, analysis and normalization of data from Extremadura and each of its municipalities had been carried out, referring to the period 2014-2017. The positive coefficients generated elevations in the map surface, and the negative ones depressions. Both were calculated based on the number of inhabitants of each population and in relation to their wealth, their economic activity and the services offered to their inhabitants during the analyzed years.

To establish the situation of each municipality, the following factors were considered as positive coefficients: economic activity index, number of companies, number of registered trademarks, number of industrial designs, number of patents, number of registered trade names, number of communication and marketing agencies, number of companies with R&D, number of consulting and business management companies, language centers and schools, existence of a functioning passenger train station, existence of a freight train station, number of daily trains, rate of population expansion and being the headquarters of one of the 50 companies in Extremadura with the highest business volume.

On the other hand, these other variables were considered negative coefficients: unemployment rate, female unemployment rate, negative population growth rate and closure of a train station.

After four days of interactive installation, the three-dimensional map of Extremadura was finally created, and made of ceramic. To develop the three-dimensional plane, the profile of the region was taken as the main figure. The socioeconomic parameters of the towns were added to that flat profile, generating a third axis, which drew the third dimension. Next, The Virgin of Guadalupe Does not Come to See Me was exhibited in El Brocense Art Gallery.

Subsequently, between April 30 and September 30, 2021, the piece was part of VEXTRE, Extremadura in Places, an individual exhibition by Maite Cajaraville at the MEIAC, in co-production with the Center for Art and Culture (CAC) of the Eugénio de Almeida Foundation (FEA). The virtual piece VEXTRE was presented at the exhibition, which transfers to augmented or expanded reality the meticulous data investigation carried out for physical sculpture.

As of February 19, 2022, The Virgin of Guadalupe Does not Come to See Me ceramic sculpture will be part of ALVEX, an exhibition at the CAC_FEA in Évora, in co-production with the MEIAC, which will transfer the VEXTRE spirit and gaze to the Portuguese Alentejo, simultaneously generating a physical sculpture in 3D in situ and a virtual piece based on socioeconomic data from this Portuguese region.