The Day Mankind Faded Away, n.d.

Still: Courtesy the artist

Single-channel video installation (transferred from 16 mm film), color, sound
2 min 21 sec
Commissioned by Manifesta 11 and co-produced by TBA21 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary

Every year, monarch butterflies embark on a marvelous migratory route. Despite the many ways their habitats and flight paths have been disrupted by human-induced degradation, the butterflies continue to migrate from forests in the United States and Canada to the same ancestral valley in Northern Mexico. There, the butterflies hibernate in the mountain forests, where a less extreme climate provides them better chances of survival. The area from the footage is paradoxically thriving because of its status as wildlife sanctuary, but also, perhaps even more so, because of the violence in the region that prevents visitors from safely accessing the park, making it an almost secluded oasis within a troubled stretch of land. Presenting some difficult but plausible scenarios about the state of our world and its possible collapse, Mario García Torres mediates on what might happen, had mankind faded away. If there are no humans left to testify the existence of humanity, then perhaps we never existed at all.
The Day Mankind Faded Away is a video work based on stock footage from a protected wildlife sanctuary in Northern Mexico depicting a dense swarm of endangered monarch butterflies without a human in sight, accompanied by a vocal performance by the Zurich-based tenor Eelke van Koot. The work was produced on the occasion of Manifesta 11, held in Zurich in 2016, which involved each artist selecting a local person outside of the artworld to collaborate with on the production of an artwork. The libretto was written by the artist.


Group exhibition: Abundant Futures
Venue: C3A Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía, Córdoba  
Curator: Daniela Zyman
Exhibition 1 April 2022 - 5 March 2023
Cory Scozzari, "Failures, reconfigurations, and fading Away. Mario García Torres as told to Cory Scozzari" in Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary: The Commissions Book,, eds. Eva Ebersberger and Daniela Zyman (2020: Sternberg Press)
Born in Monclova, Mexico, in 1975. Lives in Mexico City, Mexico.