project: Antonio Vega Macotela

Time Divisa

Fulfilling wishes of prisoners for their artworks

Time Divisa (2006-2010) is a project by Mexican artist Antonio Vega Macotela, that explores the possibility of replacing money with a time-sharing system. It consists of 365 individual exchanges with inmates at the Santa Martha Acatila prison in Mexico City.


Time Divisa, Time exchange 148 - In exchange for witnessing his son’s first steps, “Super-­‐Ratón” spent three hours cataloguing the cigarece bucs in his cell.

On a specific day and time, mutually agreed upon, the tasks are undertaken simultaneously. Each party does the task as it was demanded by the other. The documentation of each task is the currency.

Macotela documents the tasks he does for prisoners, like visiting their mothers birthday, in audio or video, while the inmates draw and/or create an artpiece. Macotela considers the outcome of each exchange as an individual artwork. He presents this work as his own, since it is the outcome of their time exchange which was his concept. He chooses not to present his exchange because those documentations represent the time that belongs to the inmates.

With Time Divisa, Macotela shows an emotional example of what a swap could entail, which is very different from clothes or food swaps. Another interesting aspect of this work is ownership, as Macotela sees the artwork of the prisoners as his own artwork after the swap.

At the Ruilen exhibition several art pieces are shown, made by the inmates at the Santa Martha Acatila prison in Mexico City.

Antonio Vega Macotela an artist who lives and works in Mexico City and Amsterdam. His work is multidisciplinary, site-specific and often engages particular communities.