San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery SUR:Biennial 2023

SUR:Biennial > 2023 > San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery

Address: 7250 Mesa College Drive, FA103, San Diego, CA 92111
Phone: (619) 388-2829
Instagram: @sdmesacollege_gallery

Gallery hours: Monday - Thursday, 12 - 5 pm. Closed Fridays and Weekends. Or by appointment outside of regular hours. Email request to: 


Francisco Eme: The Resistance of the Echo & La Eco-Resistencia

Curated By Alessandra Moctezuma

On View August 21 - September 14, 2023
Opening Reception: August 31, 2023. 4pm-7pm
Artist Talk and Concert: September 14, 2023. 5pm-7pm

Free Parking During Opening Reception, Artist Talk and Concert Lot # 1, in STAFF parking ONLY. 

Exhibition Ad

Crisscrossed by canyons, the urban area of San Diego is unique; nature resists as homes and developments encroach on the native ecology. When Francisco Eme and his wife Monica moved to a new house in the suburbs, the wild area behind their home looked like a barren steep slope with little potential. During the pandemic, artist Francisco turned his attention to this canyon. He removed the invasive plants and nurtured the growth of indigenous species; he observed the flora and the fauna, listened to the call of coyotes, birds, and recorded their comings and goings. The work in this exhibit is inspired by this act of eco-resistance. In the past five years, Francisco has taken hundreds of photographs, videos and audio recordings of the canyon. He has collected objects, organic and manmade, and created others. These documents and artifacts, are the foundational materials for the artworks in the exhibition.

The Resistance of Echo & La Eco-Resistencia turned into a contemplative multimedia art project, an urban ecology study focusing on the biological dynamics of a canyon situated in a suburb of San Diego. This project connects us with the activity in the canyon as it resists “guerrilla style” against the monstrosity of urbanization, against human intervention. The artistic process also highlights the spiritual connection between a human, and a small oasis of wildlife. Gallery director, Alessandra Moctezuma, worked to include this exhibit in the 7th SUR:biennial which takes place during the fall of 2023 with exhibitions at sixteen different locations throughout Southern California.

Francisco Eme studies the canyon using a scientific approach and data visualization techniques. In one of the installations, a sensor registers the amount of CO2 particles in the air and produces sound to quantify the effects of this compound in the atmosphere. Animal sounds emerge from speakers-vessels molded with the clay from the canyon. A video intersperses aerial views of the ravine with thermal camera captures of Nature’s nocturnal life. An altar memorializes the remains of a tree that a neighbor removed to be replaced with fake grass. A wooden core, a trunk and root heart that represents both mourning and acceptance. The exhibit also presents the transmutation of human-made objects back into nature, or the transformation of creatures into magical instruments.

This project was also envisioned as a way to collaborate with craftsmen and artists from Mexico. Consultations with biologists and botanists have taken place along the project as well. The exhibition dives into complex dynamics and tensions in the canyon to find an ecological balance within the small wild areas enveloped by big city civilization. The exhibition also incorporates Mexican crafts, urban myths and personal experiences to connect the animal and the human, the scientific and the spiritual.

Links: Video journal of the canyon

Instagram Journal

Francisco Eme

Francisco Eme (1981) is from Mexico City and Oaxaca, Mexico. He currently lives and works in San Diego, California. Francisco is a music composer, artist and curator. As an artist, he mainly works with sound, but various disciplines are integrated into his practice such as photography, video and installation. Music compositions and artworks have been presented in museums, galleries and concert halls in Mexico, the United States, Europe and South America. He has released albums as a soloist, and in collaborations and musical projects in various genres, mainly electroacoustic, experimental, electronic pop music. Francisco is the Arts and Culture Director at The FRONT Arte & Cultura, a binational art space in San Diego, US – Tijuana, Mexico border region, where he curates art exhibitions, workshops, concerts and performances. 


San Diego Campus Map
COLLEGE MAP: Gallery is by Student Services Building. During Regular Gallery Hours Pay For Parking in Lot 1.
Fine Arts Building is located by the Marlesta/Genessee entrance to the campus.