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Category: Contributor: Pablo Hadis

A Visit to the “Electronic Aquarium” (El Acuario Electrónico), by Pablo Hadis

Image: fishes swimming on carpet

Wandering down the halls and inner forking paths of the Centro Cultural Recoleta (CCR) in Buenos Aires is a pleasant experience, every door leads to some type of art display that stimulates the senses. These days, however, there is a special door at the CCR. One that leads to a puzzling world that conjures up unlikely images in a household space.

The first thing one notices when entering this exhibition is darkness, then water. Lots of water. Projected water. And then one starts to see the patterns, pulsating. There is a choreography taking place in this submersion, schools of fish swim on the surface of sofas, tables, carpets, windows. Dancers, or better said, submarine dancers composed of animals plus hands, feet or heads of human characters gracefully move along with other aquatic animals, all contributing to producing a hypnotic effect on the viewer. The playful, humorous nature of the display and the beauty of the submarine choreography are striking.

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REVIEW: Cultura y Media: En Construcción, A preview of things to come, by Pablo Hadis and Alejo Petrucci

Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn, “Llamadas”

Something has been gathering steam in Buenos Aires. An ambitious project to create one of the largest new media exhibition and experimentation centers in Latin America is being developed and implemented at the Centro Cultural San Martín. The building is conveniently located next to the traditional Teatro San Martín in downtown Buenos Aires, and has been known through the years for offering a wide range of cultural activities.

“Culture & Media: Under Construction” is the first edition of a multi-disciplinary exhibition that focuses on art and technology and makes the renovation and expansion of the San Martín Center (which is expected to be finalized in two years) part of the exhibit itself.

Colectivo: Multimedia por simpatÃŒa, “Camas Calientes”

“This event is organized to celebrate the construction of the new cultural center” says Lic. Graciela Taquini, curator of the show, “the ‘Under Construction’ theme is also related to the digital medium because digital works are in a sense always ‘in progress’ due to elements [specific to the language of the medium.]”

There are lots of things to see at “Culture & Media”, the exhibition featuring a broad sample of artwork being produced by both renowned and emerging artists using new technologies, provides screenings of documentaries and experimental shorts, and includes a collection of web-related art curated by Argentine artist Gustavo Romano. There are also various activities to attend and participate in.

Luis Ter·n, “Cartelera”

So what gives “Culture & Media” its distinct Latin American, or to be more specific, Argentine flavor? What makes the artwork being displayed different from that shown recently in ZeroOne San José (California), for example? Interestingly enough, subjects such as work and working conditions were present in some installations, such as “Camas Calientes”, by the group “Colectivo: Multimedia por simpatía”.

Work as a subject has been brought once again to the limelight due to the harsh economic crisis the country has had to endure and it’s being addressed by focusing on the situations created by this crisis. The term “camas calientes” (warm beds) refers to the dire conditions in which people work non-stop and take turns at sleeping in beds inside the factories, always replacing each other, and thus keeping beds always warm. Graciela Taquini points to levels of aggression present in certain pieces (which one could perhaps attribute to a post 2001 crisis period), as well as a healthy dose of humor, and above all a sense of irony that she says is characteristic of Argentines.

Augusto Zanela, “Bola S/T”

Other highlights from the show include Augusto Zanela’s “Bola S/T”, a hypnotic projection created in real-time through clever use of close-circuit video and Mariano Cohn’s and Gaston Duprat’s “Llamadas” which lets the audience listen to various private conversations, among many others works.

“Culture & Media” has received strong backing and participation from a great number of academic institutions as well as official support from the government of the city of Buenos Aires. The exhibition is bound to expand through the years (18,000 m2 are being added to the building, which will sport new screening rooms and theater stage) and become one of the main venues for dialogue between Argentine and other Latin American artists, as well as artists from many other countries. It’s definitely a place to keep an eye on.

“Usos de una teorÃŒa de mano”, one of the talks offered at the event