[ISEA2017] Panel: Reynaldo Thompson, Gabriela Aceves Sepúlveda, Andrés Burbano, Ricardo Dal Farra, José-Carlos Mariátegui, José Manuel Ruiz-Martin, Andrea Sosa & Rejane Spitz — Archiving Digital Heritage: Pioneers of Fin-De-Siecle Latin America

Panel Statement

Introduction by Reynaldo Thompson                                                                                                        This panel tries to open a discussion on the history of the hybridization of art and technology in the last five or six decades, with reference to any specific country, in the Latina American region. It consists of 33 countries of all sizes, from the extensive Brazil to the small islands of the Caribbean. The idea and main purpose of the panel is to address the under-representation of this new form of art in the global discourse of the art – something that arises out of neglect and assumptions about the world order. Panelists focus their attention on the sunrise of an experimental art that began to embrace more and more of the new technology since the 50s; at times we witness the incipient promises of the art technology hybrid as early as in the 40s just as much as the phenomenon energy oriented art were visible in labs established in other regions of the developed world.

From Argentina, Ricardo Dal Farra, speaks of his experience of rediscovering, in a junkyard of the past, some of the most innovative electroacoustic music composers and creators of new forms and the new aesthetics of sounds and music. Dal Farra who has been closely working with the Langlois Foundation in Montreal has put together perhaps the most important archive on electroacoustic music of Latin American.

Our other panelist from Argentina Andrea Sosa complements this history with a discussion of the visual art of light effects from the same period, namely in the works of Julio Le Parc, active from the same era as when the Torcuato Di Tella Institute began functioning as the most important supporter of these emerging trends in art world.

The beginnings of art and technology in Brazil, the largest country in size and population of the region, are represented in the presentation of Andres Burbano who analyzes its artistic scenario. He finds the seed for electronic art and digital photography in the works of Geraldo de Barros who used punched card to modulate abstract photography and whose photography now remains as Burbano shows a pioneering landmark in computational art.

Representing the same geographical context, our other panelist Rejane Spitz brings into the discussion the work of three pioneers in Kinetic and electronic art, namely, Waldemar Cordeiro the precursor of electronic art in Brazil, Abraham Palatnik a precursor of kinetic art, and Otávio Donasci known for his theatrical video performances in the psychological dimensions of social relations. No doubt on about Spitz’ argument that electronic art in Brazil has found a fertile ground to grow and flourish.

Another important perspective in the evolution of kinetic, electronic or digital arts, as well as in evolution of a critical turn in art in Latin America, is valorized by Gabriela Aceves Sepúlveda’s presentation. Her objective is to highlight on women artists from Mexico. Aceves anticipates the importance of Telematic Art of the seventies, Lorraine Pinto (born in New York and working in Mexico since 1959) working with sound and light during the 60s, and Pola Weiss a pioneer of video art.

From Peru we have Jose-Carlos Mariátegui who studies the contribution of the Swiss born pioneer electronic artist Francesco Mariotti who is an established artist now in both, Switzerland and Peru. In his analysis, Mariátegui focuses attention on two works: the Project Geldmacher-Mariotti presented at the Documenta in 1968 and the Circular Movement of Light shown at the X Sao Paolo Biennial in 1994 representing Switzerland together with other three artists.

Speaking of recent developments in the new media arts, Jose Manuel Ruiz-Martin analyzes the evolution not of the work of any specific artist from Ecuador, but of the laboratories of digital experimentation, the first one of them being inaugurated in 2012. With that context in mind, it is meaningful to start documenting the history of those media labs that will most likely reap the harvest of the new art for the generations to come.
Thus the panel stands unique in its diverse range of interest and analysis of art and technology through the entire span of our geographical region and of our cultural identity in the new world.

  • Reynaldo Thompson is a Mexican scholar working at the University of Guanajuato, Mexico. At present, he is planning to launch a database on the evolution of Digital Art in Latin America (DALA) together with a team of international experts.
  • Gabriela Aceves Sepúlveda Gabriela Aceves Sepúlveda is an Assistant Professor at the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, where she directs cMAS, an interdisciplinary research and media creation studio. As both a practicing media artist and cultural historian, her work bridges the histories of art, media, and technology with Latin American, gender and women studies, and art and design practice. She is interested in exploring how different media practices intervene in the production and dissemination of knowledge and how the legacies of colonialism and patriarchy continue to silence the practices and histories of women in arts and technology. Her video and sculptural installations that explore the body as a site of cultural and gender inscriptions have been exhibited in Canada, Mexico, France, India, and Chile. Most recently, her interactive video installation Remediating Mamá Pina was exhibited at the 5th Computer Art Congress in Paris. She is currently working on a monograph on the histories of feminist media in 1970s Mexico, and her articles have been published in Platform: Journal of Media and Communication, Artelogie: Recherches sur les arts, le patrimoine et la littérature de l’Amérique latine, and Feminist Media Histories: An International Journal. criticalmediartstudio.com
  • Andrés Burbano Valdes, Andes University, Colombia. “Burbano, originally from Colombia, explores the interactions of science, art and technology in various capacities: as a researcher, as an individual artist and in collaborations with other artists and designers. Burbano’s work ranges from documentary video (in both science and art), sound and telecommunication art to the exploration of algorithmic cinematic narratives. The broad spectrum of his work illustrates the importance indeed, the prevalence- of interdisciplinary collaborative work in the field of digital art.” Andres Burbano is doctor in Media Arts and Technology form the University of California Santa Barbara, USA. Burbano is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Design at Universidad de los Andes and is Academic Chair of ISEA2017 and Gallery Chair of Siggraph 2018.
  • Dr. Ricardo Dal Farra, Argentina/Canada, Concordia University, Montreal. ISEA International board member. Ricardo is professor of electroacoustic music and media arts at Concordia University, Canada and director of the Electronic Arts Research Centre (CEIArtE) at the National University of Tres de Febrero, Argentina.  He has been director of Hexagram, the Centre for Research-Creation in Media Arts and Technologies, Canada; researcher on electroacoustic music and media arts history for UNESCO, France; director of the Multimedia Communication national program at the Federal Ministry of Education, Argentina; coordinator of the Documentation and Conservation of the Media Arts Heritage – DOCAM international research alliance, Canada; and senior consultant of Amauta – Andean Media Arts Centre in Cusco, Peru.  As an electroacoustic music composer and new media artist his work has been presented in more than 40 countries and recordings of his pieces are published in +20 international editions (including Computer Music Journal and Leonardo Music Journal by MIT Press). Dr. Dal Farra has received prizes and commissions from the International Computer Music Association and the Sao Paulo International Arts Biennial of Brazil, among others. Funded by The Daniel Langlois Foundation he created the largest collection publicly available of Latin American Electroacoustic Music.  Dal Farra started the Balance-Unbalance conference series focusing on how the [media] arts could play an active role in helping to solve our environmental crisis. Jointly with the humanitarian organization Red Cross Climate Centre he developed the “art! ⋈ climate” worldwide project.  He is an active member of several editorial boards: Organised Sound (Cambridge Press), Leonardo/ISAST (MIT Press), Media-N and professional organizations: Electroacoustic Music Studies Network, Earth-to-the-Earth.  concordia.ca/faculty/ricardo-dal-farra.html
  • José-Carlos Mariátegui, ATA – Alta Tecnología Andina, Lima , Peru
  • José Manuel Ruiz-Martin, Universidad Central del Ecuador  josemanuelruiz.net
  • Andrea Sosa, National University of La Plata National University of the Arts (UNA) Universidad Central del Ecuador
  • Rejane Spitz, Brazil

Full text (PDF) p. 737-738