The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
This curatorial essay was written by the movie director and artist Juan Devis for the exhibition Net Art Colombia: es feo y no le gusta el Cursor [Net Art Colombia: It Is Ugly and Does Not Like the Cursor] (http://www.artenlared.org/index.htm) that was presented at the Luis Ángel Arango Library in Bogotá (September 5, 2007 to March 5, 2008). This exhibition included 29 works by Colombian artists that were based on 7 themes: (1) “Es feo y no le gusta el cursor” [It Is Ugly and Does Not Like the Cursor]; (2) “Free Software, Open Source, and Copy Left”; (3) “Mapping, Crawling y Remixing”; (4) “Redes y Ciudades” [Networks and Cities]; (5) “Transmisiones” [Transmissions]; (6) “Uploading Death”; and (7) “Play With Me”. These categories were intended to help explain and show what was involved in the development and establishment of a local language for Net Art in Colombia. The exhibition focused on 29 projects that were published on the Internet, and took into account particular features of the medium, such as an uneven distribution of information, center-periphery structures, and widespread violence in Colombia. Within these parameters, the exhibition sought to explore the work of three generations of artists who are interested in using alternative supports, like the internet, for the production and distribution of art in Colombia. This essay reviews the selection of works by the participating Colombian artists: Andrés Burbano, Hernando Barragán, Carmen Gil Vrolijk, Jaime Iregui, Clemencia Echeverri, Claudia Salamanca, and Santiago Echeverry, among others. These artists were interested in using the Internet, at different stages of their work, as an unconventional format for the creation of art.
Net Art Colombia: es feo y no le gusta el Cursor [Net Art Colombia: It Is Ugly and Does Not Like the Cursor] (http://www.artenlared.org/index.htm) is the only exhibition to have been presented in Colombia with institutional support and a focus on the internet as a contemporary form of art. The curatorial perspective was developed from outside the country; due to the selection of the Colombian curator Juan Devis (b. 1971) who, at the time, was living in Los Angeles, the Colombian media art scene was researched for two years in advance of the event.
The attached curatorial essay is interesting because it identifies aspects of these art forms such as their curiosity and skepticism. The essay also mentions and classifies different trends associated with this type of art within a particular social context that is determined by certain distinctively Colombian conditions. It should be noted that Devis approached the project “with his eyes closed” in order to ignore certain prejudices that might have influenced his external perspective of the chosen field. The exhibition addresses the use of the media in an inclusive and undogmatic manner that is intended to communicate in accessible terms with a lay audience.
It is also interesting to note that the exhibition came about thanks to the initiative of the Banco de la República and the Luis Ángel Arango Library in Bogotá, two very important institutions in Colombia, and most particularly as a result of an earlier research project conducted by the artist Verónica Uribe (b. 1970), who was at that time the director of the Biblioteca Virtual [Virtual Library]. When she was studying for her Master’s degree, Uribe became interested in online collections; she then began to observe how these exhibition spaces became dynamic and were transformed into “exhibition – production” centers that catered to a new “viewer – user” who was no longer content to simply look at the work, but interacted with it and, in some cases, altered and reproduced it.
Juan Devis is an artist, writer, director, and producer of multi-media projects. He studied at Emerson College (Boston, 1993) and at the California Institute of the Arts (Valencia, Los Angeles County, 1997). He currently lives in Los Angeles, which is why he is not very well known in Colombian art circles. He has worked as Director of New Media at KCE –PBS and is chairman of the board of Freewaves, an organization that promotes the exhibition of art projects associated with experimental cinema, video, video installation, and Net Art, among other genres.