ATA Cultural on Wed, 19 Mar 2003 22:01:18 +0100 (CET)

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[nettime-lat] Peruvian Video/Electronic/Art: The Leonardo Gallery

Está en linea una selección de artistas peruanos publicados en The Leonardo
Gallery (Leonardo Journal, MIT Press):

A selection of Peruvian media artists published in The Leonardo Gallery
(Leonardo Journal, MIT Press) is now online at:

The Leonardo Gallery:

Peruvian Video/Electronic/Art
by José-Carlos Mariátegui

If we may say that the viability of the species depends on, among other
things, its variety, that is, in biological terms, on its variability, the
same could be said of the recent development of electronic arts in Perú.

This development has been hybrid and diverse. One of the main
characteristics of the works done using electronic media in Perú is that
they all differ one from the other. There are no trends definable. Possibly
its recent "second age" (over the last 5 years) makes it a distinct case in
comparison with other Latin American countries such as Brazil, México or
Argentina, in which the tradition of media arts has been much longer

The significance of electronic art in Perú lies in its allowing a new means
of broadening and extending the creative universe, of developing new,
distinctly Peruvian ideas and thoughts in opposition to the traditional
artistic proposals that had made Peruvian art a useless effort, considering
its social context. For the artists selected here, video and electronic arts
act as non-traditional media that provide a unique opportunity to express
their thoughts and represent their very personal perceptions of reality.

One of those creators who introduced the use of electronic media to Perú was
Francesco Mariotti, a Peruvian of Swiss origin. In the last years of the
1960s, a time in which the fascination with technological resources in the
arts was just beginning around the world, he began working on innovative
projects. Mariotti's use, from the time he began his work, of what is
currently described as mediated or interactive art presented a clear
understanding of scientific theories in connection with artificial life,
cognition, complex system theories and concepts about nature that are
nowadays closely related to electronic arts.

After this auspicious beginning, the traces of electronic arts in Perú,
beyond some sporadic and isolated interventions, disappeared almost
completely for about 2 decades. The harsh situation for creators, the
minimal infrastructure for research and production, meant that only a few
succeeded, through great professional sacrifices, to raise the needed funds
to get access to expensive technical equipment. A pivotal event occurred in
1995 when the Italian artist Gianni Toti came to Perú to present a series of
his video artworks. Toti, known as the "father of video poetics and video
synthesis," can be described as an organic intellectual who confronts
theoretical depth and cultural action in his untiring search for new
languages in artistic and scientific creation.

Toti's debate with artists and theoreticians helped to modify the solitude
of electronic arts in Perú. In 1998, and taking as a historical reference a
video-art show that took place in 1977 (presented by Alfonso Castrillón and
Jorge Glusberg), the Second International Video Art Festival took place in
Lima. Fortunately, thanks to the help of international organizations as well
as post-production and computer facilities, local creations had begun to be
produced. Since then, this festival has occurred annually, with a massive
response from the public, which demonstrates the great interest that these
new manifestations of art and technology can produce. Many of the innovative
artistic proposals in Perú in the last 5 years have been realized with or
have been associated with the use of new technologies.

While it is still possible to argue that electronic media can be considered
elitist in some poor countries, the means for their use has been extended to
the vast majority of Peruvians. A key to their further expansion has been
the creation of media centers with the technical facilities and know-how to
help develop creative ideas.

The intent to document social action by various means is evident in the
works of Roger Atasi, José Carlos Martinat and Iván Lozano di Natale. In
these cases, research on a project is presented as part of its process. A
great number of the works presented here also confront the creative
situation in an expository context or in a traditional artistic setting, for
example, the works of Angie Bonino or Iván Esquivel, which tend to be
conceptual and critical or even political. On the other hand are digital
artists such as Ricardo Velarde, who applies his technical knowledge and
aesthetics to develop his atypical 3D animations.

These young artists find in media arts new ways of interpreting local
contexts in the search for artistic, creative expression and resistance.

Resistance is always possible; it provides the context of the works being
developed in the electronic arts scene in Perú, which engages its resistance
through ideas from art and science within the so-called
technological/globalized culture. Peruvian creators analyze technology in
relation to social changes in a digital evolution toward the development of
a more humanizing world.

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