Centro Cultural Olimpo,|
Jul 16, 2005 - Jul 25, 2005
Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico
The biennale InteractivA 05
by Eduardo Navas
The biennale InteractivA 05 took place for the third consecutive time in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico. Raúl Ferrera Balanquet was the executive curator; Lucrezia Cippitelli and Gita Hashemi were the invited curators. Artists from different countries participated contributing works that included installations as well as Internet projects (for a complete list of artists, please see the InteractivA 05 website). This was by far the most ambitious and best organized InteractivA, yet. The biennale not only consisted of an exhibition in three major galleries of the Centro Cultural Olympo in Downtown Mérida, but it also included a series of conferences which took place over nine days, from July 16--25.
Opening night was well attended. It took place on a Thursday evening, when the town was thriving with energy. The three galleries presented work ranging from video installations, online projects, photo installations and book and magazine installations. The inclusion of print publications was quite interesting because visitors were able to view texts that normally are available only in bookstores and news stands. They were quite successfully placed in the same context as visual work. Raquel Herrera Ferrer's (Barcelona, Spain) Tempus Fugit and Monica Mayer's (D.F. Mexico) Rosas Chillantes were presented on pedestals, while magazines by the collective Bulbo (Tijuana, Mexico) and the collective Guestroom (London, U.K.) were presented as independent installations. It is not possible to go over every single artwork here but it can be said that what became obvious throughout the exhibition was a diversity of works that made it impossible to categorize the exhibition reductively. To learn more about the artworks and to view some of them, please visit the InteractivA 05 website. Given the ephemeral condition of conferences and performances, I will focus on these events for the rest of this text followed by a critical analysis of the curatorial premise.
The events included conference presentations as well as live performances. Maria Luisa Molina López (Mexico) presented on the history of the border between Mexico and the United States, the repercussions of Chicanismo on Mexican culture and vice versa, and the role of feminism as a powerful tool towards a real autonomy--a "radical individualism." She reflected upon technology's role as an important element in the ongoing history of these cultures. She left us with open questions on the role of hybridity today.
Gita Hashemi (Iran/Canada) discussed the implications and problematics of entering the mainstream as an artist (something she is not interested in doing)--she is more interested in creating spaces for activism. Considering alternative forms for exhibition as part of such practice is also a subject of her interest. Currently, she is critical of the role of the United States in the middle-east as an imperial power. In relation to this during a second conference with members from Guestroom, Hashemi explained how she develops alternative publications, something she found herself doing more out of necessity to stay active as an artist/curator/writer.
Hashemi along with Raul Ferrera Balanquet (Cuba, Mexico, U. S.) considered eight ruptures moving towards a "post-tecnological" future, which include "interactivity" as an intersection between humans and the ecosystem, "connectivity" as an form of communication exposing the fallacy of the digital divide and central networks, "interdisciplinarity" meaning the relationship of disciplines as a variable perspective, "conceptualization" that is the effects of ideas on what is deemed political and natural, "nomadism" as a way of marking new movements of constant action but also as a space for new types of artforms, "spirituality" meaning the belief that art can be very effective when it is embraced along with multiple realities of diver