LOTERÍA CALIFERNE

A playful way to explore Baja California through an array of elements that attempt to represent the entire state. Created by Enigma Creative, the project features: a board game with seven distinct topic areas—each developed in collaboration with a panel of experts—as well as 54 illustrations for the cards; a series of three posters; three booklets by invited creatives under commission; five collectable pins; a tote bag and website.

Lotería Califerne is a project inspired by the traditional Mexican game of Lotería. The point of the game is to communicate the distinctive features of Baja California in a fun way. Our aim is to explore the characteristics, traits, and customs of the region and to bring together information that we feel brings us closer to defining who we are.

We firmly believe that this project is connected not only to the experience of design as seen and understood in this region, but also as part of an exercise to imagine the borderlands.

La lotería mexicana

The Mexican game of Lotería is a card game that originated in Italy in the 15th century, later reaching New Spain (Mexico) in the late 1800s. For a time, only the upper classes played the game, but with the arrival of the War for Independence (1810-1821) it became popular with Mexican families as a daily pastime. It was an important part of traveling fairs in several states in the country, finally becoming the most important traditional game of Mexico.

Lotería is played with a deck of 54 cards and as many boards as desired, each board with 16 squares. The game is played as follows:

  1. A card is drawn from the deck, and the name of the card is called out for the participants.
  2. If you have a square on your board that matches the card, you mark it.
  3. The winner is the person who yells “Lotería” after marking all of the boxes on their board.

Another important element of Lotería is the existence of its famous couplets, rhymed verses that have been part of the game since about the 19th century and which are written in a tone somewhere between riddles and folk poetry: each couplet or verse refers to the name of a card. The gritón* (announcer or yeller) has two options: the person can cantar* (sing) the couplet or just call out the name of the card drawn from the deck.

THE ORIGIN

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THE CONCEPT

It is true that on este lado*—on this side of the border—we have a different kind of relationship with Mexico. There is a very interesting, diverse cultural mix in this region, both because of influences from Mexico and due to exchanges with the United States. We are still in the process of discovering who we are.

Because of our state’s multicultural reality, it has not been easy to figure out how to define ourselves; this has led us to look for alternative ways of identifying ourselves: Baja California makes us special. 

Reflecting on this, we ask ourselves—in all sorts of ways—where we fit within the Mexican imaginary. Are we part of the Mexican national identity? Of that concept that includes an array of stereotypes about what it means to be Mexican? Read more

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THE NAME

We named the Lotería Califerne to harken back to our state’s past. Most historians believe that the name originated from a chivalric romance novel entitled The Adventures of Esplandián, which became popular during the era of Spanish expeditions to Mexico and the Baja California peninsula. It describes a fictional island called California to the east of the Indies, governed by Queen Calafia.

It is said that Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo, the author of the novel, revived the Arabic name Khalif/ Khalifa, but he could have been influenced by the term Califerne in the 11th century epic French poem, The Song of Roland.

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THE GAME

Like the traditional Lotería, the game is made up of 54 cards with images divided into categories related to the state. The images aim to honor and highlight the particular beauty of a place as cool* as Baja California.

The game is played just as it was at the beginning of the 15th century:  

  1. A board consisting of 16 images from the card deck, displayed in a 4×4 grid, is distributed to each player.
  2. The gritón* (announcer or yeller) begins to cantar* (sing) the cards, either by naming them or through verse, and the players mark their squares.
  3. Having pennies* or dried beans on hand helps to mark the images on each board.

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THE BONUS

The Bonus is a blank card that allows the players to identify with the region and to come up with their own suggestions about what food, places, indigenous cultures, spaces, etc. are representative of Baja California.

It is a way of introducing the possibility that ideas about our state can change over time and from person-to-person.

  1. Think of a place, food, or experience in the region with which you identify and propose it to the group of players before the game.
  2. Share your answers and vote for the one you like best.
  3. Everyone should write the chosen name on the blank card and on their boards. Remember to include the article + name and to capitalize the first letters. Try to keep it short!*

Read more

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THE DESIGN

Our aim is to present this large-scale project as a complete package grounded in design; as a process that included a variety of steps and moments, featuring the organization and assignment of specific tasks, and ideas, opinions, challenges, and transformations that have given rise to a rich experience.

At the beginning of the project, we asked ourselves: why did we want to design a Lotería? What could we investigate about our state? How could we ground this work in solid research? What aesthetic approach and which parameters would we use to create the design? How could we do it with a multidisciplinary team? What other elements could we develop through this search for representation?

Read more

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SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN

Audience participation has a big impact, especially when people share their own opinions. For this reason, we have decided to offer a space for suggestions in regards to “El Bonus” card:

Tag your suggestions with the hashtags #ElBonus and #LoteriaCaliferne. You’ll be able to find them on our social media pages and on this website. This is just the start of the conversation!

We think it’s incredibly important for a record of this project to exist in digital and physical form in order to highlight the construction of a visual culture for Baja California, and at the same time, to honor our collective imagination.

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THE GALLERY

A natural blowhole positioned between a cliff and sea caves, in Ensenada.

A landscape made of rocky formations along the highway between Mexicali and Tecate.

An astronomical research center located in the mountains of the Sierra de San Pedro Mártir.

A valley full of giant cactus that reach almost 56 feet tall, just to the south of San Felipe.

A sandy dry lake bed flanked by mountains and hills in Mexicali.

A fishing and agricultural area with nine volcanos in San Quintín.

San Luis Gonzaga: a paradise-like bay featured beaches, desert, and native flora and fauna.

Guadalupe Island: a biosphere reserve with unique native species.

The scenic highway between Tijuana and Ensenada with impressive views of the Pacific Ocean.

The little devil. Kumeyaay petroglyph—featuring the winter solstice—in El Vallecito.

Santo Tomás, a commercial winery declared part of the state’s cultural patrimony, in Ensenada.

A community center and former casino (1930) declared cultural patrimony, in Ensenada.

Teniente Guerrero Park, founded in 1924 and declared cultural patrimony, in Tijuana.

Since 1930, now the Casa de la Cultura of Tijuana, also declared cultural patrimony.

The Leona Vicario Elementary School (1923), declared cultural patrimony, in Mexicali.

The religious missions and settlements established by the Spanish between 1683 and 1834.

The Ensenada-style fish taco born in the Mercado Negro in the 1960s.

An original lobster dish served in Puerto Nuevo since 1954.

Salad invented in Tijuana, created by Caesar Cardini in 1924.

Baja California boasts more than 195 craft breweries.

Baja California is the number one producer of wine in all of Mexico.

Shellfish. Mussels, clams, and abalone are part of the cultural heritage of the native peoples of Baja.

Brought over by immigrants from China, Mexicali is known for its Chinese food.

Tuna is farmed in the region for local, domestic and international consumption.

Old palace for jai alai tournaments built in 1947 in Tijuana.

Old palace for jai alai tournaments built in 1947 in Tijuana.

The Chinatown neighborhood established in the 1920s in Mexicali.

The Tijuana Cultural Center built in 1982, notable for its striking design.

The Tijuana-Tecate railway, a binational corridor also connecting San Diego and Arizona.

Since 1924, this hotel has attracted Hollywood stars and moviemakers.

Puerta México (1961-2015), a bridge built at the San Ysidro-Tijuana border checkpoint.

The Agua Caliente casino in Tijuana (1927-1935), with California Mission-style architecture.

A bike ride along the free highway between Rosarito and Ensenada, begun in 1979.

Isla de Todos Santos is known for its impressive waves.

Music and partying are two of the main draws for the region.

Marked paths with a diversity of ecosystems.

Gray-whale-watching in Bahía de Todos Santos, Ensenada.

Nado y snorkel con tiburón ballena en el golfo de California.

Kumeyaay basket made of reeds and willow branches, to store fruits, seeds, and clothing.

A classic of Cucupá attire, made of beads.

Dolls made by Kiliwa women out of tree bark, human hair, and cotton.

Pots made by the Paipai out of clay and yucca to store food and water.

Ceremonial rattles made by Indigenous peoples.

By Purépecha, Zapotec, and Oaxacan Indigenous migrants.

The vaquita (Phocoena sinus), an endangered native porpoise.

Kumeyaay basket made of reeds and willow branches, to store fruits, seeds, and clothing.

Gymnogyps californianus, the largest flying bird in North America.

The bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), a distinctive animal of the region.

The elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris), saved from extinction on Isla Guadalupe.

Quercus, a genus of trees that includes a variety of oaks.

Spea hammondii, a bumpy toad native to California and Baja California.

The boojum tree (Fouquieria columnaris) with its odd look and perpendicular branches.

Shawii, succulent plant. A very rare species in extreme danger of extinction.

Write something here that you think is representative of Baja California.

We are grateful for the easy access and use of the images to: Photo Library of the Tijuana Historical Archive, of the Municipal Institute of Art and Culture; Enigma Creative Image Archive; Gabo Lozano, and Christopher Salvatierra.

THE COLLABORATION

We deeply believe that the best results are achieved through teamwork. It is a simple fact: many minds and specialized talents have transformed the Lotería Califerne. Thank you to each person who helped!

  • Web Development, Alina Vera
  • Translation, JP Pluecker
  • Video Production, Tesoro Audiovisual
  • Music, Pepe Mogt
Committee of Experts
Comite-04

Alan I. Bautista Plascencia

Adventure

Master in Tourism Administration from the Universidad de las Islas Baleares (UIB) Palma de Mallorca, Spain (2006). He has taken additional coursework offered by… Read more

Comite-05

María Eugenia Castillo (Curry)

Architecture and Urban spaces
Cultural patrimony

Architectural Engineer with a master’s degree in Restoration of Monuments from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) where she obtained the Gabino Barreda medal… Read more

Comite-02

Horacio de la Cueva

Landscape
Flora and Fauna

PhD from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada studying the mechanics of animal flight. Currently he is Investigador Titular C at CICESE. Teaches ecology, evolution, statistics, wildlife…Read more

Comite-01

Olga Lorenia Urbalejo Castorena

Indigenous peoples and cultures

Is Is a researcher at the Instituto de Investigaciones Culturales-Museo de la Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC). She received her MS in Human Geography from El Colegio de Michoacán and her Phd… Read more

Comite-03

Ismene Venegas

Gastronomy

Bachelor degree in Culinary Arts at the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana; has led the kitchens of La Contra Restaurant in Ensenada and El Pinar de Tres… Read more

Comite-04

Alan I. Bautista Plascencia

Adventure

Master in Tourism Administration from the Universidad de las Islas Baleares (UIB) Palma de Mallorca, Spain (2006). He has taken additional coursework offered by… Read more

Comite-05

María Eugenia Castillo (Curry)

Architecture and Urban spaces
Cultural patrimony

Architectural Engineer with a master’s degree in Restoration of Monuments from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) where she obtained the Gabino Barreda medal… Read more

Comite-02

Horacio de la Cueva

Landscape
Flora and Fauna

PhD from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada studying the mechanics of animal flight. Currently he is Investigador Titular C at CICESE. Teaches ecology, evolution, statistics, wildlife…Read more

Comite-01

Olga Lorenia Urbalejo Castorena

Indigenous peoples and cultures

Is Is a researcher at the Instituto de Investigaciones Culturales-Museo de la Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC). She received her MS in Human Geography from El Colegio de Michoacán and her Phd… Read more

Comite-03

Ismene Venegas

Gastronomy

Bachelor degree in Culinary Arts at the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana; has led the kitchens of La Contra Restaurant in Ensenada and El Pinar de Tres… Read more

THE ENIGMATEAM

This project has been developed by a team of people passionate about what they do and what they believe. Muchas gracias to each one of them for enriching the Lotería Califerne with their talents:

  • Creative Direction, Art Direction, Katalina Silva
  • Curation and Creative Planning, Ingrid Hernández
  • Strategy and Project Production, Arturo Elenes
  • Illustration and Graphic Design (Senior), Tania Valencia
  • Illustration, Abigail Peña
  • Illustration and Graphic Design (Junior), Mayuko Zúñiga
  • Illustration and Graphic Design Assistant, Alexa Silva
  • Copywriting, Marlon PV
  • Social media content, Diana Fernández
  • Community manager, Samara Nava
  • Production Assistance, Miguel A. Gómez

THE CONTACT

Enigma Creative is a space for multidisciplinary collaboration. People who are passionate about what they do and what they believe.
People who love all forms of creative expression and use them to develop communication strategies, creating a distinct voice similar to a digital fingerprint: unique and impossible to replicate. People driven by a spirit of teamwork. People investing in ideas that make our community stronger and more powerful.

 

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