Approximately 2467 miles / 3970 kilometers separate West Lafayette (USA) from Medellín (Colombia). Although this distance represents geographic, cultural, and social differences, it also offers a bridge to creative possibilities that connect the two cities by an intercultural dialogue around new media. This paper describes the process professors Esteban Garcia from Purdue University (USA) and Isabel Restrepo from Universidad de Antioquia (Colombia) developed in 2013‑2014 to teach the course ‘Interactive Art and 3d Animation’ in the city of Medellín, Colombia. This interdisciplinary course deals with cultural questions related to location and society by integrating art and technology.
This course combines research expertise on interactive visualization and open source software to develop socially interactive projects. Following the idea of an open studio, and the pedagogy proposed by the artist Luis Camnitzer, in which students are in a horizontal relationship with the professors, students in the course played the active role of co‑investigators. Garcia and Restrepo developed the course as a research experience that integrates faculty members and students of both institutions to explore creative reflections about the topic of location in the city of Medellín. The continued methodology for the class integrates field trips inside and outside the city, brainstorming sessions, technical training, conceptual dialogues, and input from all co‑investigator participants. The planning and development process has been documented in a variety of media that combine analogue and digital tools, such as handmade sketches, digital modeling, audiovisual recording, and GPS mapping. The resulting projects were available for public view at the Centro Cultural of Universidad de Antioquia (Colombia), and online as multimedia interactive experiences accessible to people across the world.
- Isabel Restrepo, Universidad de Antioquia, CO. As an artist, Restrepo has explored multimedia narratives that deal with time, memory and social quests. Her research in 2002, Espacios Vitales, obtained the highest recognition in the School of Art and was awarded the third best thesis on a national level in the category of symbolic production by Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
- Esteban Garcia Bravo, Purdue University, US, is a Colombian born artist who researches computer art history and digital media art practices. He earned his MFA from Purdue University in 2008 and a Ph.D. in Computer Graphics Technology, also from Purdue, in 2013. His research has been featured in the annual meetings of international organizations such as SIGGRAPH (2011) and ISEA (2012, 2013), as well as in the publication Leonardo Journal of Art, Sciences and Technology. García has participated in artist‑residency programs including Estímulos (Colombia/Venezuela, 2004), Lugar a Dudas (Colombia, 2007) and 8550 Ohio (USA, 2013).
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