This interview sheds light on the creative process of media artist and professor Carmen Gil Vrolijk (b. 1974), one of the most widely recognized artists working in that field in Colombia. It is particularly valuable because little information is available on Gil Vrolijk. The text helps explain her creative process as well as her interest in the use and development of “digital media” in Bogotá during the nineties.
By means of trans-disciplinary projects, Gil Vrolijk creates interactive works that attempt to build a dialogue with the audience. In the artist’s view, information technology has opened countless doors to spaces that must be explored from “a certain ethical position,” specifically in terms of the relationship between artist and machine. Significantly, the internet enables the mass communication of aesthetic formulations that offer viewers—now users and co-authors—novel experiences.
In the interview, Gil Vrolijk describes two distinct moments. A first period, in the early nineties, when “electronic media” and the computer were first made available as a tool to art students at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, and its subsequent curricular implementation [see “Medios electrónicos y artes del tiempo MEAT: Informe 1997”, 1131336]. This gave rise to a certain intuitive dynamic in the early production of a first generation influenced by Argentine theorist Jorge La Ferla (b. 1955) and Colombian artist Juan Reyes (b. 1962). Among the promising artists to emerge at that time were María Margarita Jiménez (b. 1968) and Catalina Rodríguez (b. 1971). This first generation was largely focused on the use and development of the “concept” in interdisciplinary projects involving digital photography, interactive CDs, and animation. Gil Vrolijk dates the beginning of the second moment and its cartography to 2004. The educational and cultural institutions she deems central to this moment include the Goethe Institut, the Universidad de los Andes, and the Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano, which into the present (2010) continue to support and motivate artistic practices of this sort in Bogotá.
Carmen Gil Vrolijk has a degree in art education from the Universidad de los Andes and a master’s in literature from the Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá. Since 2000, she has worked as an artist and video jockey (VJ). She is also a professor in the schools of art and humanities, architecture, and social communication at the Universidad de los Andes, the Universidad Javeriana, and the Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano. She teaches courses and workshops and supervises programs in interactive and non-linear narrative, interactive multimedia, new media, intermedia, the virtual city, and technology and digital thought.