Dualities in Equalities: Art, Technology, Society in Latin America

From 5.9. to 27.9.23 at Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz

(Linz, September 4, 2023) Nine art projects will explore new technologies and focus on Latin American identity, culture and history at Lentos during Ars Electronica 2023. On display are not only the three CIFO x Ars Electronica Award-winning projects this year, but also the six winners of the CIFO Awards.

The collaboration between the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) and Ars Electronica has resulted in the prestigious CIFO x Ars Electronica Awards, established in 2022. These highly regarded awards celebrate and support emerging and mid-career Latin American artists exploring technology in new media and digital art. Three recipients are granted up to $30,000, empowering them to bring their groundbreaking projects to life.

Dualities in Equalities opens up insights into a multi-layered art scene rooted in ancient, often indigenous cultural traditions, using new technology as a tool and dealing with the storm of digital capitalism,” says Gerfried Stocker. “The show, developed with the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation and the Lentos Kunstmuseum, enriches the festival with Latin American perspectives and helps to break down dominant European-American patterns of perception.”

In 2023, the second edition of the awards presents the exhibition Dualities in Equalities: Art, Technology, Society in Latin America, in the frame of the Ars Electronica Festival, featuring a total of nine artistic perspectives from the region and cultural context of Latin America. The exhibition invites the six winners of the CIFO Awards to showcase their works alongside the three recipients of the CIFO x Ars Electronica Awards.

“The CIFO-Ars Electronica Awards are a wonderful way to celebrate our 21st year as a resource for emerging artists, a commissioner of new work, and advocate for Latin American artists worldwide. These new awards and our partnership with Ars Electronica add an important dimension to our mission and to our Grants & Commissions Program as we support artists in expanding their practices and extending the impact of their work.”

Ella Fontanals-Cisneros, Founder and Honorary President of CIFO

Dualities in Equalities: Art, Technology, Society in Latin America is a compelling blend of artistic expressions, united by shared themes while distinct in their individual expression and use of tools.

The exhibition delves into the circumstances under which artists create their art and investigates the profound impact of global transformation and innovative digital technologies on their work. These themes hold widespread relevance and are actively embraced and explored by traditional art disciplines.

“The examination of artistic positions from South America has a long tradition in Austria. The themes of the artists presented this year at the Ars Electronica Festival in Lentos are diverse, but follow on from those of the pioneers of the 1960s – such as Marta Minujin, Luis Camnitzer or Ana Mendieta. It is about media interaction and current technologies, about social questions and the reappraisal of history, as well as an examination of the local indigenous heritage. Connecting to this tradition and deepening the exchange with artists from Latin America is a great concern for us and an important enrichment of the Western art field.”

Hemma Schmutz, Lentos Director and Jury Member CIFO x Ars Electronica Awards

Representing a vibrant, critical and diverse art scene, the exhibition emerges from a shared cultural foundation. It offers a unique opportunity to explore the concept of Latin American culture through various artistic lenses, rejecting a singular viewpoint in favor of a richer and more nuanced understanding.

“This exhibition at the Lentos Kunstmuseum as part of the Ars Electronica Festival impressively shows how interconnected technology, society and art are. Linz, as UNESCO City of Media Arts, is an excellent location to present this diversity of Latin American art. The cooperation with CIFO at the festival has proven its worth and brings impressive art works from Latin America to us at the Lentos.“

Doris Lang-Mayerhofer, City Councillor for Culture, Tourism and Creative Industries, Linz

Nine different artistic positions have been selected, showcasing the works of individuals from various generations, dialects, life situations and artistic genres. Together, they provide a fascinating and comprehensive insight into the mission of the collaboration between CIFO and Ars Electronica. Dualities in Equalities: Art, Technology, Society in Latin America invites you to delve into the complex interplay of artistic perspectives, where diverse voices converge to illuminate the rich tapestry of the Latin American art scene

Technology, Society in Latin America lädt dazu ein, in das komplexe Zusammenspiel künstlerischer Perspektiven einzutauchen, und so die unterschiedlichen Stimmen in der reichen Vielfalt der lateinamerikanischen Kunstszene zu beleuchten.

CIFO x Ars Electronica Awards

Ana María Gómez López (CO/US), Inoculate

Scale: $ 30.000

The primary motivation for presenting Inoculate is to share information on ocular germination to a broader public. Audiences will gain access to this procedure via a multi-lingual instruction manual and a kit of specialized instruments used in this process, as well as related samples of lacrimal fluid and seed strains. The display at Ars Electronica supported by CIFO is intended to encourage reflection on the limits of the human body within the context of this intimate inter-species encounter with an external botanical entity. Likewise, Inoculate raises critical questions on the anthropocentric mediation of plants in colonial and contemporary contexts, from biodiversity extraction and the creation of new rainforest plant hybrids in European hothouses, to the patented manufacture of molecular chimeras in pharmacological and biomedical industries.

Credits: Graphic and object-based design for this presentation of *Inoculate* was provided by Matteo Casarin and Current Matters (Nicolas Bolay and Nicolas Leuba). Medical assistance was administered by Dr. Jelle de Wit.

Bio: Ana María Gómez López is an artist, writer, and researcher from Cali, Colombia, currently based in The Netherlands. Her practice centers on self-experimentation and archival research in the history of science. Ana María’s work has been shown at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Fonds d’art contemporain Genève, Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, V2_Lab for Unstable Media, Rencontres Internationales, and DOK Leipzig. She is a tutor at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam and the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.

Jonathan Torres Rodríguez (CR), Wild Machines. Knots, tangles and the becoming of mechanical beings inside compost

Scale: $ 15.000

Wild Machines proposes the creation of two biodegradable machines made from biological materials collected from two Costa Rican ecosystems. The goal is to install them in these ecosystems and document on video the processes through which they degrade and reintegrate into the environment.

These videos will be presented in the exposition room as well, along with a third sculpture, which will degrade in the room through a humidity system activated by the guests visiting the exposition. Conceptually, the project aims to make speculative technologies visible, namely technological devices created with materials and manufacturing techniques that are closer to ancestral knowledge, with materials of biological origin belonging to ecosystems that are specific, renewable and respectful of the environment. These devices turn into speculative design pieces by reconnecting with organic materiality with the new technologies. This allows us to imagine a scenario where machines become hybrids with their environment, where they expire and reintegrate.

Wild Machines makes use of the power that speculative thought provides to imagine a present world that revalues to matter, a place of technologies whose preprogrammed expiration is in relation to the needs of the environments and not those of the economic system. Technologies that use energetic and material resources with a degree of balance. If technological devices generate discourse and create knowledge (Deleuze), it is urgent to think of the nature of these technologies. What if machines could become compost? Compost that decomposes in the modern world and blends in with the leaves and bugs. How could we achieve it? What new processes would we need? How can we all conceive of such a thing?

Precarious machines, soft, fragile. Possible machines with functions still unknown and uncertain. Wild Machines

Videos: Idea/dirección: Jonathan Torres; Fotografía: Jonathan Torres, Oscar Herrera, Fabián Castellón; Dop y Edición: Óscar Herrera  Naranjo ( FotoSono ); Musicalización: Alex Catona; Montaje de sala: Control electrónico: Daniel Sánchez; Museografía: Jonathan Torres, Lucía Araya.

Bio: Visual artist /Professor of design and prototyping at the University of Costa Rica (UCR) at the schools of: Plastic Arts (Material Workshops), Biology (Biomimetics Laboratory) and Medical Technologies (Design and Manufacturing of Orthosis and Prostheses).

Investigator at the Institute of Investigations in Art (IiArte – UCR): coordinator of the EnTrópico Project: Experimental Laboratory in Electronic Arts from the recovery of electronic waste components generated at the UCR. In charge of the Hybrid Lab: Experimentation Laboratory for methodologies in manufacturing practices both by hand and digital. Constantly playing with the active force that curiosity implies, his pieces confronts the viewers with images and objects whose structures invite thorough scrutiny. The use of fragile materials along with complex mountings in unconventional spaces turn the spectator into a co-creator, a co-destroyer, eliciting games where interaction is crucial. His recent artwork explores the concept of the post-natural, focusing on materiality as a symbolic element and questioning the techno-scientific discourse.

Web: https://entropicoucr.wixsite.com/repositorio, https://labhibridosia.wixsite.com/my-site-1

Joaquín Aras (AR), Añoranzas (Yira Yira) / Longings (Yira Yira)

Scale: $ 10.000

Through his projects, Joaquín Aras presents a poetic approach to film preservation. Many of his works have brought attention to films that have been lost or forgotten. Moving away from scientific methods, public policies and hegemonic narratives, his practice embraces myth, memory and emotion along with their limitations.

Añoranzas (Yira Yira) is an homage to Argentine cinema pioneer Federico Valle who produced the world’s first animated feature and started Argentina’s first news program. Tragically, most of Valle’s films were lost in a fire in 1926 and he was forced to sell what was left of his films to a comb factory to use their celluloid as raw material. The project, which aims to revert Valle’s cultural loss, consists of experimenting with current technology to recycle old plastic combs and turn them into projectable film. Mixing Historical research and film recycling, the process will result in an experimental abstract film that will be screened with a 16mm projector.

Collaborators: Engineering and Process Consultant: Adríán Unger, Film Preservation Consultant: Lucía Ferreyra (Médano Lab), Archival Research Assistant: Agustina Pérez Rial, Artistic Production Assistant: Adríán Unger, Sound Design: Jorge Espinal

Bio: Joaquín Aras (1985, Argentina) is an Argentine artist and filmmaker. His work focuses on the emotional space between audience and media, and how narrative experiences can preserve memory while challenging historicity.

His works have been exhibited at MAC-Niterói (Brazil), Museo Moderno (Argentina), Grand Union (UK), Bienalsur, Bienal de Arte Joven. He was part of the CCA Kitakyushu Fellowship Program (Japan) and was awarded a residency at Gasworks+URRA (UK) with the support of Érica Roberts and arteBA.

CIFO Awards

Natalia Espinosa (EC), The Ark, Let’s go back…

This project grows in a context of environmental emergency. It takes the old tale of Noah’s Ark as a starting point, imagining a future embarquement with whatever little life is left after we have predated most natural resources. The beasts to be saved have mutated: they are a mix between animals, artifacts, archeology and garbage.

The audience will see a worn-out wooden ramp with creatures climbing in pairs. Their formal solutions recall ancient ceramics, especially from Central and South America. If viewed carefully, it is recognizable where their shapes come from: egg cradles, corrugated cardboard, disposable plastic receipts, packaging for tech items, etc. The work reflects on the ambiguity of humankind: capable of creating and destroying with the same inventiveness. It mixes two sophisticated technologies, developed all over the world throughout history: ceramics and packaging, and places them in a simple tale of apocalypse with no ark at the end of the ramp.

Project sponsored by the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation. Made at Cerámica Suro, Guadalajara, MX.

Bio: Natalia Espinosa (EC 1976) is a visual artist and ceramicist. She chooses her starting points intuitively, usually reflecting on her immediate environment. She is interested in the unofficial heritage of her territory, either natural or cultural. She has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the G. Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, 2004 and a Master’s Degree in Cultural Studies from Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Quito, 2014. For the last ten years she has directed Perro de Loza, a ceramic workshop where art and design projects are created and produced.

Among her most relevant exhibitions are Esto será demolido 2019, at Gallery N24 in Quito;,Fábulas de la vida ordinaria 2009 at Arte Actual FLACSO. Her latest work Corrugados Arqueológicos, was shown at the 15 Cuenca Bienale in 2021.

Instagram: @perrodeloza

Adrian Melis (CU/ES), Tales from the Mountaintop

Tales from the Mountaintop is a three-channel sound performative audiovisual work in collaboration with people who live in extreme poverty and sociopolitical disenchantment in different parts of the island of Cuba, mostly in the vicinity of the mountains of the Sierra Maestra: a place located in the east of Cuba loaded with a historical connotation in the 1950s for being the battlefield and conquest of the Cuban Revolution. From the confines of their homes, inhabitants of these regions were invited to reproduce the soundscape of what was once a glorious journey through the mountains made by Castro’s guerrillas. By using Foley Art (a technique used in cinema to reproduce sounds absent from our environment) each person was invited to create specific sounds from the objects and materials found in the rubble and garbage dumps where they live. The sequences of sounds responded to key moments of such heroic battle. A glorious battle that can only emerge from the garbage and ruins of the present times.

Credits: I want to credit all the participants who performed and gave shape to this project.

Bio: Adrian Melis is a multidisciplinary artist based in Cuba and Europe. He is a former resident of the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam (2014/2015). He has exhibited in several museums and institutions around the world, such as Kunsthalle Basel (Switzerland); Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (Poland); Wiels Brussels (Belgium); Centre Pompidou (Paris, France); Pinchuk Art Center (Kyiv, Ukraine); Pori Art Museum (Pori, Finland); De Appel Center (Amsterdam, The Netherlands); Queens Museum (New York, USA), Rotterdam Film Festival (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) and the 10th Shanghai Biennale (Shanghai, China). Since 2010 he has been represented by ADN Galería (Barcelona, Spain) where two of his solo shows were awarded by GAG (MACBA) His work is in private and public collections, including Pori Art Museum (Finland); MAS Santander (Spain); MACBA Barcelona (Spain); Collection Alain Servais (Belgium); Collection Lemaître (France); Collection A. de Galbert (France) and Collection Teixeira de Freitas (Portugal).

Web: https://adrianmelis.com/

Andrés Ramírez Gaviria (CO), 0.0.

0.0. depicts the destruction of two glass cubes that unfold in time both forward and backward and in a constant loop. The video sequence is composed in such a way that the destruction of one cube begins just as the other cube regains its original form. In this pendular oscillation of time a scene is constructed that undermines the linear and climactic nature of the original video footage. The video explores ideas around the concepts of time, space and minimalism, interpreted through the notion of zero point, as suggested by the title.

0.0. can be seen as referencing an aesthetic of reduction that inspired many abstract modernist movements. Using a process of extraction (the destruction of the cube is produced by a vacuum pump) to extrapolate concepts of reduction and singularity, an event is set in motion in which two opposing impulses coexist: on the one hand, an act of destruction that seems to speak against a spirit of categorical rationality and control and, on the other, the controlled and systematic process by which that same destruction is accomplished.

Bio: Andrés Ramírez Gaviria is an artist born in Bogota, Colombia. His work has been exhibited in venues such as the BA-CA Kunstforum in Vienna, Kunsthaus Graz, the Museum of Modern Art in Bogota, and La Casa Encendida in Madrid, among others. He studied media theory at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Boston University as well as a Master of Arts degree from the Winchester School of Art at the University of Southampton.  He lives and works in Vienna.

Website: https://andresramirezgaviria.info / Instagram: @andresramirezgaviria

Rosemberg Sandoval (CO), El cuarto del artista en Bahareque / The artist’s room in Bahareque

This piece is a fabric of the survival of the artist’s working-class family, an open and essential dialogue through time fueled by the observation of the sky in their daily tasks; the sky as a reference in the construction of them as social individuals in their individual myths. The universe contained in the artist’s room indicates consciousness as a memory where the point of origin is in the white slipper located on the central wall of the work from which a constellation of objects with history emerges as a collective, infinite calendar. The artist’s room in Bahareque is a tribute, an objective portrait of the artist’s family treated with glazes and transparencies of mud and dust that somehow represents millions of Colombian people and particularly indigenous people forcibly displaced from their homelands. The technique used for this work is an installation-intervention made with paper, wood, metal, bone, plastic and various objects. The artist’s room in Bahareque is built in a walkable space of 3 x 3 x 3 meters and once inside, on each of the walls, the public will be able to observe dozens of metal mesh boxes containing various objects collected by the artist.

Web: http://www.rosembergsandoval.com / Instagram: @rosembergsandovalg

Alba Triana (CO), Vibrant Self

Vibrant Self explores the inseparable relationship between the fundamental structure of the natural world, the human being and human artifacts. An essential “reality”—driven by vibration and interconnectedness—manifests through the human body as mood, action, meaning, agenda and ideology. These complex expressions emerge from the constant dialogue between the body’s natural essence and the individual’s environment, sociocultural context and personal construct.

Interacting visitors listen to a musical composition conceived as an Audible Score, comprising natural, urban, media and music archive recordings. This Audible Score is designed to induce various reactions in the visitor-performer, which are captured by a Brain-Computer Interface. The BCI data is transformed into soundwaves that unveil, audibly and visually, the brainwaves and muscular responses using a laser system. The resulting installation is presented as an involuntary performance for non-interacting visitors.

Credits: Alba Triana Studio, Technical assistant: Juan Sebastián Amaya, Installation development assistants: Catherine Serrato, Camilo Martín, Photos: Camilo Martín, Support: Pro Helvetia — Swiss Arts Council South America; Scientific consultant: Prof. Christophe Galland, Laboratory of Quantum and Nano-Optics Director, Institute of Physics, EPFL

Bio: Alba Triana (CO) is a sound/intermedia artist and composer. Delving into vibration, interconnectedness and nature’s self-organization, she explores the natural world’s fundamental structure and its manifestation through human expressions such as art and music. Recognitions and commissions include the Ars Electronica Award of distinction (AT), Civitella-Ranieri Fellowship (IT/US), Pro Helvetia (CH), South Arts Fellowship, Kronos Quartet, American Composers Forum (US) and Ministry of Culture (CO).

Web: www.albatriana.com / Social Media: https://www.instagram.com/albatrianastudio, https://www.facebook.com/albatrianastudio

Jhafis Quintero Gonzalez (PA), Reflections

This project seeks to create a parallelism between prisons, due to the nature of these places as a space of high social contrast, and the symptomatology of the “free” society (outside prisons).

My ten-year experience in a prison for bank robbery allowed me to see and be part of the affiliation process in the prison, and the eventual loss of the image and jurisprudence of your own body, which becomes the intellectual property of the justice system. Outside of prisons, society has compacted, the methods are much more subtle, the walls are conceptual, ideological, religious: a simple yellow line is already a bi-dimensional wall able to socially redesign.

Always more subtle, technology and its sensors around society have transformed human beings into simple, quantifiable data, such as temperature. We are in anyway, although still free, stripped of our own image. Creativity inside of prisons has always been a topic of life and death, a necessity for those stripped of freedom, to break with the architectural limitations that have been designed to limit the human beings that live in them. It allows them to find ways to re-signify their own bodies to establish new ways of communication when silence is a punishment. Simple but strong ways to affect their environment and even the physical laws that keep them away from the rest.

Bio: J Jhafis Quintero (Panama, 1973) lives and works in Europe as a sculptor and writer. Jhafis Quintero began his career as an artist while serving ten years in prison in Costa Rica, at the hands of the artist Haru Wells, who was determined to demonstrate that art is an effective substitute for crime. His prison experience plays a prominent role in his work, with a unique perception of the passage of time and its implications for a body immersed in that particular time frame, and a constant reflection on death that slides over the life of those interned. His artistic practice arises from his personal experiences in the prison world, silence, insecurity, but also imagination and creativity aimed at finding a means of survival. He has had personal and group exhibitions in museums in New York, Texas, Madrid, London, Barcelona, Istanbul, Brazil, Argentina and Tasmania, among other places, and his work is part of private collections, such as Daros (Switzerland), Cisneros and the Centre national des arts plastiques Paris. He is the author of Máximas de seguridad, Los dueños del mundo and La Casa de los Geckos.

Web: https://www.jhafisquintero.com

Guided Tours

Do 07.09.23 14.00–15.00
Tour with Sergio Fontanella, CIFO (EN)

Fr 08.09.23 14.00–15.00
Tour with Hemma Schmutz, Lentos and Martin Honzik, Ars Electronica (German)

Sa 09.09.23 14.00–15.00
Tour with Christl Baur, Ars Electronica (EN)

Vibrant Self / Alba Triana (CO)

Credit: Andres Henao, Alba Triana Studio

Stories from the Mountaintop / Adrian Melis (CU/ES)

Credit: Adrian Melis

Reflections / Jhafis Quintero Gonzalez (PA)

Credit: Jhafis Quintero