SYMPOSIUM: Digital Latin America


516 ARTS produced the Digital Latin America Symposium June 7 & 8, 2014 at the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History. It showcased presentations on creative innovation using digital media as well as artistic and scientific crossovers in contemporary Latin American new media art. 


Saturday, June 7, 10am-4:15pm:

Sisa Toaquiza web   10:00-11:00am
Indigenous Pop: Music and the Digital Presence of Sisa Toaquiza, Flor de los Andos (click here to watch the session)

The internet and digital media have made music from different artists and cultures more attainable.  In this presentation, UNM Professors Miguel Gandert and Enrique Lamadrid present the music and digital media of Sisa Toaquiza a Tiqua from the Ecuadorian Highlands, and examine how the digital age has effected her music, marketing and presentation, while maintaining fidelity to the narrative and politics of her native culture.



Pablo crop   KEYNOTE 11:15am-12:15pm
Pablo Helguera: Three Chairs for Society (click here to watch the session)
Special guest keynote speaker, Pablo Helguera (Mexico), Director of Adult and Academic programs at the Museum of Modern Art, speaks about artists bridging the self and the others through virtual and real space.  He says "Henry David Thoreau famously wrote,' I have three chairs in my house: one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.'  Thoreau was arguably referencing the equal importantce of being with the self, enacting conversation with another and being an integral member of society.  While negotiating the self with the others is not any new issue in artistic practice, today's artists face an interconnected world that can produce both immediacy and alienation.  In Latin America in particular, a vast continent that is held together by language and strong cultural links, its geography poses great challenges of communication and interconnectedness.  This keynote discusses the related realities and philosophical and practical dilemmas for artists working today in the context of Latin America."
Amor Web   1:30-2:45pm
Interactivity in Digital Art (click here to watch the session)

Three Digital Latin America exhibition artists discuss the importance of the viewer's role when it comes to developing their concepts and the presentation of their work, and explain how the viewer's participation differs between different forms of digital, media-based artwork.  They talk about how they consider the role of the viewer during their processes, as their individual pieces demonstrate some ways in which viewers may experience new media art.  Featured artists: Jessica Angel (Colombia), Giselle Beiguelman (Brazil) and Javier Villegas (Colombia).  Moderated by Andrea Polli, Mesa del Sol Endowed Chair of Digital Media & Director of the Social Media Workgroup at UNM.



agnes profile pic web


STEM + Arts Education Forum (click here to watch the session)

This education forum includes and is led by Agnes Chavez, Cuban/American artist and STEM + Arts specialist from Northern New Mexico, Sube, Inc.. Topics include the challenges the rapidly expanding technologically based professional world presents to 21st century students and the essential needs of strong grounding in both STEM and the arts. Teachers from the Digital Latin America STEM + Arts Education Program, including Marion Martinez and Matt Garcia, share their findings, workshop processes and experiences with high school students that address these challenges and reveal some possible solutions.


Sunday, June 8, 11am-4:15pm:



Paula Gaetano crop web


11:00am-12:30pm [FREE SESSION]
Exploring Language and Communication through New Media (click here to watch the session)
Digital Latin America exhibition artists speak about revitalizing lost/fading languages of Central America and the Southwestern U.S., challenges of speaking a foreign language in a new country, communication through auditory and tactile means, and communication between humans and machines.  All of these artists utilize digital technology in their work, through presentation and/or research methods, to creatively demonstrate ways in which technology can preserve, revive, and recontstruct how languages are experienced between platforms, generations and cultures.  Featured artists are Paula Gaetano-Adi (Argentina/Texas), Matt Garcia (USA), Paola Torres Nuñez del Prado (Peru) and Gabriel Vanegas (Colombia).  Moderated by Shelle Sanchez.  This session is made possible in part by a grant from the New Mexico Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Nahum Web crop   1:45-2:45pm
Territory of the Imagination: Reimagining the Borders of Art and Space (click here to watch the session)
Territory of the Imagination
explores the work of artists engaging in disruptive, alternative and collective interactions with space and space technology. Nahum Mantra (Mexico) discuss the curatorial project Gravedad de los Asuntos, in which nine Mexican artists are developing and execute projects in zero gravity. Members of the Astrovandalistas collective, Rodrigo Frenk, Thiago Hersan, Andrés Padilla Domene and Leslie Garcia, will outline their contributions to the project, presenting images and ideas from their recent cross-border exploration of space in the Chihuahuan desert. Territory of the Imagination will take place at the U.S./Mexico border in the fall of 2015 and is organized by the Rubin Center for the Visual Arts in collaboration with Ballroom Marfa, Laboratorio Arte Alameda and Arts Catalyst.
Alex Rivera web   KEYNOTE 3:00-4:15pm
Alex Rivera: Globalization of Information and Communities (click here to watch the session)

Alex Rivera is a New York-based digital media artist and filmmaker.  He was born to parents from Peru and New Jersey.  Growing up in a bi-cultural, channel surgin, tract home led him to rethink assumptions about race, immigration, identity and the global economy.  Rivera discusses how his work addresses transnational challenges in communities and the ways in which technology has played a role in the migration of communities.  His work uses many different techniques to try to describe two massive and parallel realities: the globalization of information through the internet, and the globalization of families and communities through mass migration.  Rivera's work always skews towards discussing the surreal elements of political realities, and strives to be both accessible and critical.  His work demonstrates that complex arguments can be made clear and simple through the audio/visual medium.

The Symposium was organized by 516 ARTS and generously hosted by the Albuquerque Museum of Art & History.


Click here for more information about the season long collaboration for Digital Latin America.


Images: Cantoni & Crescenti, FALA|SPEAK, 2011 • Sisa Toaquiza • Pablo Helguera • Amor Muñoz, documentation of Maquila Región 4 (MR4), 2012 • Agnes Chavez  • Paula Gaetano-Adi, video still of Pica, ongoing performance • Nahum Mantra • Alex Rivera