Photo essay originally published online at Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at New York University
Superbarrio’s urban politics collapse the thin border between the “inside” and the “outside” of the wrestling ring. For the legendary Mexican wrestler El Santo, wrestling assumed the risk of dying. “Not many have, but some did.” El Santo explains that the highest risks took place in seconds, for instance, when he “flew” outside the ring into the audience’s chairs. The “outer ring” was the easiest location to break one’s head, or the head of somebody else in the audience. Lethal accidents had to be controlled during actions that took place in seconds. “To think in a second, while I am flying, so that by the time I am landing, I know almost simultaneously how to hit the floor and what to do next.” Superbarrio, like El Santo, performs in the confines of the “outer ring”; he risks his head, and his mask, in the dangers of political activism. Superbarrio inverts the wrestling rings inside out turning the streets into a ring of urban politics and performance.