I thought of the past five years I had lived in the Netherlands. I thought of how scholarships for non-EU students allow for a European dream, but don’t pay rent. I thought of all the restrictions imposed by my visa which make it impossible find another job, and impossible to continue accepting barely-paid cultural internships. Without the income of my job at the port, I would have to leave graduate school and go back home, to Mexico. There, as in the rest of the so-called “global south,” the pandemic had kicked in with much more force and unfairness, and poverty and precarity has always been more violent.

Workplace is a collaboration between e-flux Architecture and the Canadian Centre for Architecture within the context of its year-long research project Catchip Up With Life. Edited by Nick Axel, Albert Ferré, Nikolaus Hirsch, Megan Marin.

Denisse Vega de Santiago is a Mexican architect, independent curator, and editor based in Rotterdam. She writes about labor, race, and decolonial feminist practices in contemporary art and architecture.

Image: Denisse Vega de Santiago, 2021.