Six artists working in art and technology from across Latin America debut major new commissions within the Ars Electronica Festival at the Lentos Art Museum. The exhibition showcases the works of the inaugural CIFO-Ars Electronica Award recipients, Dora Bartilotti (MX), Electrobiota Collective (AR/MX), Thessia Machado (BR), Amor Muñoz (MX), and Ana Elena Tejera (PA). Their works reflect the ways Latin American artists employ technology such as electronic textiles and AI computers as media to explore individual and collective identity, culture, and history.
Launched this year, the CIFO–Ars Electronica Awards celebrate and advance the practices of emerging and mid-career Latin American artists working with technology in the field of new media and digital art, providing up to $30,000 per recipient to develop a new project. In addition to the exhibition the resulting works join the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO)’s renowned permanent collection of modern and contemporary art, with a special focus on Latin American art.
The five new works created by the CIFO-Ars Electronica Award recipients represent how artists across Latin America are using technology to grapple with the complex global challenges of our time. Projects were awarded by a selection committee of curators and scholars in contemporary art and new media: Tania Aedo, Sergio Fontanella, Hemma Schmutz, Martin Honzik and Christl Baur. The evaluation was based on conceptual merit, including the artistic and research motives for the project, as well as the context in which the work was created and the artist’s entire body of work.
The result of the submissions, overwhelming in their diversity, has more than provided proof of the excellence of media art while addressing the required social-ecological transformation of our society. A cross-section of the submitted works clearly demonstrates the unique nature of Latin American Media Art as a distinct category owing to its cultural and historical imprint. As such it represents an important extension of the Ars Electronica network and perspective on Media Art. This inaugural exhibition demonstrates the integral role that the Latin American cultural sphere has played in technological developments worldwide, and how critical artistic positions have long accompanied and reflected on those developments.
Amor Muñoz (MX)
Chimera, Expanded Bodies is a biotechnological poetic installation in which a series of bio-automatons generate performative gestures through a biological process and a textile nervous system activated by the public.
Gabriela Munguía (MX), Guadalupe Chávez (MX)
Cenizas del Paraná is a tactical and speculative research into the Paraná wetlands. Embracing the resilient forces of vegetal and rhizospheric communities endangered by local wildfires and global climate change, this sound art and transmedia project encompasses a collaborative network nourished by environmental associations, local activists, artists, biologists and communities that fight for the conservation, protection and sustainable use of the Paraná wetlands.
Ana Elena Tejera (PA)
The old School of the Americas in Panama still stands: a three-story building, long corridors and few people. The halls witnessed a rigorous military education founded on oppressed soldiers of Latin American dictators and leaders. Today these same walls enclose a hotel, and the terrifying past is still present. The immersive installation is an artificial intelligence performance grounded on military manuals, archival images, what lies behind the sensations and memories and remnants of the place.
Thessia Machado (BR/US)
A sound and light installation, featuring two wall-mounted, light-sensitive string instruments played by a video projection. The architecture itself functions as the resonating body, singing through its structure and filling the space with a composition of evolving drones.
Dora Ytzell Bartilotti (MX)
Participatory art piece that seeks to generate a poetic gesture of search and collective demand to make present our missing women, victims of forced disappearance in Mexico. The project seeks to bring together a polyphony of voices around the question “La has visto…?” (“Have you seen her?”) through a sound sculpture and a series of fabric strips. Each strip corresponds to a missing identity, to each of them the question: “La has visto?”