by: Scott Goodson

One can find wisdom in the most unlikely places they say. For me last week, it was on a beach in Mexico. This house (below) and it's owner got me excited about understanding what's happening in Mexico.

I've been increasingly inspired by the wondrous creativity of the 'passion' countries. Ie: the countries creating some of the most ravenous and enchanting, most inspiring and inventive creative stuff out there. Ideas in marketing, in the arts, in design, in architecture. Passion countries for me are those places on earth which are applying new forms of creativity and in doing so have achieved first nation status in the global mash up (my list includes a number of countries, such as Argentina, China, Brazil, Kool Korean, India, Nouveau Zealand, Thailand, and Turkey). In each of these places, I've seen some amazingly inspiring stuff by some very talented people.

This past week I was in Mexico. Check out this beach house in Cancun. Intoxicating. It's more than bricks and rocks, it's harmony.

The closest I can come to describing the new Mexico and it's youthful dynamism is "pre-Almodovar pre-Barcelona Olympic Spain. Back then, I spent time doing TV commercials with Peppe Sol, who also creative directed the Barcelona Olympics and his protégé, Jao Daniel. In those days Mariscal was reinventing the Olympic city and, in the glare of publicity, the entire country. Beforehand, my experience with Spain was via Spanish nannies in Europe or as a cheap charter destination symbolized by Costa del Sol. Afterwards, it was all Vincion where I plucked the latest work from the new crop of Spanish designers.

Fast forward to March 2007, past Pan's Labyrinth, and the feeling that Mexican directors, actors and film makers dominated this year's Oscars. Now a New Mexico is born. I'd like to name it: "Alto Mexicano" or Haute Mexique.

Feast your eyes on WOW, the only Mexican publication to cover topics like design, art, film, music, politics, culture, and ecology in a glossy magazine format with bold, chaotic graphic layouts. They've included a John Waters interview, a look into burgeoning Chinese influences in Argentina, a profile of Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A, who we had up for our Champion's League Heineken campaign, and a piece about contemporary bicycle culture. Their wide scope and anarchic design can be daunting, but their catch-all approach allows for features like a spread on painter Luc Tuymans alongside a report on AIDS research in Cuba that keeps the magazine feeling fresh and full of energy.

The energizing creative movement is everywhere. In fashion, check out Pineda Covalin.

In Music, groove to the awsome jam of Kinky or if you're looking for something way of the track go for the Nortec Collective - formed 99 by the different individual projects that created Nortec music. As a complement, there's also a "Colectivo Visual" a group of designers and VJs who take care of the visual side of Nortec live shows. The term Nortec is a conjunction of Norteño ("of" or "from the North") and Techno, but mainly describes the collision between the music, style and culture of electronic music with those of norteño and tambora, two music genres indigenous to the North of Mexico.

Mexican food in Mexico? This ain't the same planet as Taco Bell. The light-filled, lofty Contramar in Mexico City draws a crowd of models in tight jeans and stilettos. The windows of Capicua open onto the street, and the sounds of a lively after-work crowd waft down the block.
Regulars linger for hours over tasty tapas. There's often a wait to sit outside at Fonda Garufa in the center of Condesa's restaurant row. And Kaiten Sushi a hot spot for playdates (kids love the Japanese animé on the flat-screen TV's) and real dates.

Real big ideas? World changing ideas? Read Fernando Romeo's Hyperborder 2050.
A project about the contemporary U.S.-Mexico border and its future presenting an interdisciplinary overview of the border region and future visions and scenarios towards the year 2050 that have the potential to transform the world's most contrasting and dynamic border region in the world. The project encompasses a publication and is extending to other outcomes. It is being produced in collaboration with different experts in Mexico and the United States.

Mexico City's contemporary art scene has exploded because of an emerging generation of forward-thinking galleries that have helped give local Mexican artists visibility internationally. For example, works from Galeíra Enrique Guerrero, Galería OMR and Kurimanzutto make the rounds at Art Basel, Frieze in London and Arco in Madrid. I'm a fan of he artists Miguel Calderon and the famous Francis Alÿs, a Belgian who has lived in Mexico for two decades. He recently filmed himself walking through the area's cramped streets brandishing a pistol and timed how long it would take before he was stopped by the police. (The answer was 12 minutes.) Then there is the huge buzz generating México Arte Contemporáneo international art fair. Known by its acronym, MACO.

And finally, if you're still not convinced breathe in the Centro Art Center where many of the Haute Mexique creatives are being groomed.

What does this mean for marketers in America and elsewhere? Those old perceptions of Mexico are fading fast with a new generation of modern creative minds challenging the dusty image of Tijuana and tequila shots in belly buttons. Tap into this energy and you can go someplace very new.

Sounds like fun, no?

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