Much of the information (data) about pre-Columbian and early colonial Latin America which has survived to our days has come to us in the form of reports and narratives created by civil, and scientific agencies under the auspices of the Spanish empire. It is a fact that in many cases the agenda that permeated the gathering of this data, was that one of maximum exploitation of resources in the colonies. Any attempt at understanding the process through which colonial history is encoded should begin with a deconstruction of the hierarchical structure in which the data is contextualized.
This can be done through the collection of a sample of data into an hypermedia ‘assemblage’ that allows for a network-like configuration of electronic space. The space in such configuration
provides the ability to transverse the data in a non-linear, interactive, manner. Because we can forge our own trajectory, we can examine the data in an associative manner which fosters the creations, by the reader, of new relations among the diverse elements. Engagement in such task can enhance our ability to discern historical constructs which deviate from the established (or sanctioned) historical framework. Further investigation into the information-gathering
techniques utilized, such as observation and representation via narration and illustration, and its incorporation into the network in a manner in which it can be accessed from any point in the system provides us with the ability to create a dynamic landscape in which the concept of point of view is no longer applicable, except as an identifier of our diverse paths through the data.
In additon to these, acknowledgement of the technologies utilized for the production of this information, and their role in the process of hegemony, could lead to a disclosure of the conditions which create (and maintain) intellectual colonialism.
- Lily Diaz (The University of Rochester/Ahead Energy Institute, USA) is a multimedia specialist at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island. She has a B.A. in anthropology from Brandeis University and received an M.F.A. degree in computer art from
School of Visual Arts. A Fulbright scholar and graduate of the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Ms. Diaz has lectured and shown her work in México, Puerto Rico, Spain and the United States.