Teresa Margolles addressed this theme in a surprising way once before in 2003 with an exhibit titled En El Aire, or ‘in the air’. This exhibit consisted of a room filled with bubbles, which delighted visitors until they realized, with horror, that the water forming the bubbles had initially been used to cleanse corpses at the morgue. She continues this commentary insisting that resources such as water and air unite the human experience. In her new piece, she gathered raw materials from scenes of murders from around the city, oftentimes sponging water over the evidence or whatever mark of the homicide that she could find in order to use it in her piece.
Titled La Sombra, meaning ‘the shadow’ or ‘the shade,’ the overpowering structure located in a corner of Echo Park certainly provides much-needed shade to park goers. But it also reflects the shadow that these deaths throw over the sunny façade of the city, revealing the morbid and terrible and, therefore, ignored reality of violence and suffering. However, after it draws visitors near, the shelter itself is so massive that it is hard to ignore as it seeks retribution, or at least remembrance of the greatness of this tragedy. This is also evinced in the over five-hour long video that accompanies the installation in which all of the victims’ names and ages are stated, in the hopes that the city where they died will pay them due tribute.