Melanie Smith has lived and worked in Mexico City since 1989, an experience that has enormously influenced her works ever since. Her work has been characterized by a certain re- reading of the formal and aesthetic categories of avant-gardes and post- avant-garde movements, problematized at the sites and within the horizons of heterotopias. Her earlier pieces considered Mexico City itself, recording its multitudes, its violence, its banality, and its clandestine nature and at the same time its inherent decomposition.
The most outstanding piece from this cycle is the video Spiral City (2002). In another of her works, she broadens the notions of place and non-place by documenting the small town of Parres on the outskirts of the city. She produced a trilogy of 35mm films and a series of paintings and installations that rework the modernist idea of the monochromatic. Her production is intimately related to a critical view of modernity in Latin America: the relationship between precocity, life and different forms of violence in contemporary industrial society. In earlier works she has analyzed the aesthetic and political implications of multitudes, violence and the abnormal forms surrounding the contemporary.