In November 2014, a scandal erupted around Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto after the media discovered that his enormous family mansion was actually owned by a construction company to which the government had recently awarded a multibillion-dollar contract. The mansion’s ownership raised suspicions of a quid pro quo agreement between Nieto and the construction company. In a country fraught with crime and violence, Nieto’s house—often referred to as the Casa Blanca—for many became a symbol of government corruption.
The group Vngravity explores the topic of illicit luxury in a new online art installation that shows the house in all its extravagance: white marble, sports cars, and rolling lawns. Titled D.R.E.A.M.H.O.U.S.E, the installation gives viewers a 3D perspective on the mansion, sprinkled with a collection of artifacts that lend the piece a surreal atmosphere. A mottled sports car rests in the center of the lawn. Money spouts from multiple images of Nieto’s head on the roof. Songs like 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P.” and Gucci Mane’s “El Chapo” blare in the background, contributing to the sense of satire.
Salvador Loza, one of the installation’s artists, describes his inspiration for the piece to The Creator’s Project: “One day, while looking at pictures of the house, I noticed that it looked a lot like a contemporary art museum—one of those white boxes we liked to mock—so I started to imagine what it would be like to have an exhibit in there.”
Of course, an open exhibit in the first lady’s old home is improbable, but that’s part of what makes the project intriguing: It explores the complicated relationship between public and private spaces. The Casa Blanca is a private home allegedly built with public funds. D.R.E.A.M.H.O.U.S.E. is free and easy to download for anyone with an Internet connection. By revealing the interior of the president’s mansion so openly, Vngravity offers a democratized version of the space. Unlike the supreme wealth of corrupt government officials, it’s available to everyone.