Media art from Latin America honored

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Website CIFO-Ars Electronica Awards
Website Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO)

(March 6, 2023, Linz/Miami) More than 115 artists from 13 countries submitted entries and three of them have now been honored with the CIFO-Ars Electronica Awards: Ana María Gómez López, Jonathan Torres Rodríguez and Joaquín Aras will receive prize money for the development and realization of their submitted concepts.

The most important at a glance

The CIFO-Ars Electronica Awards
The Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) – Ars Electronica Awards, first presented in 2022, recognize and promote the artistic work of Latin American artists working in new media, digital art and technology, and support the development of new art projects with up to $30,000. The finished works will be presented in a separate exhibition at the 2023 Ars Electronica Festival at the LENTOS Kunstmuseum Linz, after which they will become part of the permanent collection of Latin American art at the renowned Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO).

Multi-stage selection process
An advisory panel of 20 scholars, curators and artists from 11 countries including the 6 winners from the previous year invited Latin American artists to participate in this year’s competition. 115 artists from 13 countries finally submitted their inedited projects. Sergio Fontanella (Director of Operations & Collections CIFO), Hemma Schmutz (Artistic Director LENTOS Kunstmuseum Linz), María Fernández (Art Historian, Researcher and Author) Martin Honzik (CCO & Managing Director Ars Electronica Festival-Prix-Exhibitions) and Christl Baur (Head of Ars Electronica Festival) made a preliminary decision for the 2023 CIFO-Ars Electronica Awards. The final selection was made by the CIFO Board of Directors together with Gerfried Stocker, Artistic Director of Ars Electronica.

The 2023 award winners

Ana María Gómez López (Colombia): Inoculate
30.000,- Dollar prize money
Inoculate aims to provide the public with information about ocular germination, that is, the sowing of a plant seed in the tear duct of the human eye, a procedure that the artist has used on herself. In the exhibition at the festival, visitors will have access to this procedure: multilingual instructions, a set of special instruments, and samples of tear fluid and Begonia seed strains. Redesigning the organ of sight to promote botanical life sheds light on the anthropocentric mediation of plants, from the extraction of biodiversity and the creation of new plant hybrids from the rainforest in European greenhouses to the patented production of molecular chimeras in biomedicine. Ana María Gómez López is an artist, writer and researcher from Cali living in the Netherlands. She is a lecturer at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam and at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague. Her work focuses on self-experiments and archival research on the history of science and has been shown at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Fonds d’art contemporain Genève, Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, V2_Lab for Instable Media, Rencontres Internationales, and DOK Leipzig.

Jonathan Torres Rodríguez (Costa Rica): Máquinas Salvajes
15.000,- Dollar prize money
Máquinas Salvajes envisions the creation of two machines made from biological materials from two Costa Rican ecosystems. The machines will be installed in these ecosystems, then the degradation processes and reintegration into the environment will be documented on film. These videos will be on display in the exhibition space, along with a third sculpture that will decompose through a humidification system activated by visitors. The work creates a scenario in which machines of biological origin follow a pre-programmed sequence related to the needs of the environment rather than the economic system. Speculative technologies that use energetic and material resources in equilibrium become visible. Jonathan Torres Rodríguez is a visual artist, researcher, and professor of design and prototyping at the University of Costa Rica (UCR) In his recent work, he explores the concept of the post-natural, questioning the techno-scientific discourse.

Joaquín Aras (Argentina): Añoranzas (Yira Yira)
10.000,- Dollar prize money
Añoranzas (Yira Yira) is a tribute to Argentine film pioneer Federico Valle, who after a fire in his studio was forced to sell the remains of his films to a comb factory that used the celluloid as raw material. Joaquín Ara’s poetic work aims to reverse Valle’s cultural loss. He experiments with today’s technology to recycle old plastic combs and turn them into
projectable films. Through a mix of historical research and film recycling, an experimental abstract film will be created and screened using a 16mm projector. Joaquín Aras is an Argentine artist and filmmaker. His work focuses on the emotional space between the audience and the media, and how narrative experiences can preserve memory while challenging historicity. His work has been exhibited at MAC-Niterói (Brazil), Museo Moderno (Argentina), Grand Union (UK), Bienalsur and Bienal de Arte Joven. He was part of the CCA Kitakyushu Fellowship Program (Japan) and received a residency at Gasworks+URRA (UK) with the support of Érica Roberts and arteBA.

Ella Fontanals-Cisneros founded the non-profit Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) in 2002 with the mission of supporting and promoting cultural understanding and educational dialogue between Latin American artists and global audiences. CIFO serves as a platform for emerging, mid-career and established Latin American artists through its Grants and Commissions Program, including the new CIFO-Ars Electronica Award, the CIFO Collection, and other related arts and cultural projects in the United States and internationally.

“The CIFO-Ars Electronica Awards were designed to stimulate the production and presentation of media art from Latin America. In a statement that could apply to all the continent, Carlos Fuentes once said that “Mexico used to export utopia and now we export apocalypse”. Beyond the tired stereotypes of what might constitute contemporary identities in the region, these awards illustrate that there is a wealth of research and creation in themes and approaches that are clearly global, networked, digital, decolonized and environmental. Poetic and critical, the artists that participate take the spotlight not because of what they do with technology but what they say with it.”
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, CIFO Board of Directors

“The horizon of artistic projects at Ars Electronica is broad – our collaboration with CIFO makes our radius of influence even more international and multifaceted. The Latin American media art scene is outstanding in its vibrant creativity and is definitely an asset in addressing the central issues of the 21st century.”
Gerfried Stocker, Co-CEO and Artistic Director of Ars Electronica

Inoculate / Ana María Gómez López / Photo: WagenigenUniversityElectronMicroscopyCenter / Printversion

Máquinas Salvajes / Jonathan Torres Rodríguez / Photo: Jonathan Torres / Printversion

Añoranzas (Yira Yira) / Joaquín Aras / Photo: Joaquín Aras / Printversion