Hybrid was a project commissioned by MOMA in the framework of the exhibition "Is this for everyone? Design for the common good "inspired by a cybernetic study that takes elements from the perception of Colombian animals and turns them into technological (prosthetic) developments that extend the human senses.
A gabardine that detects the heat of the environment made with optical fiber, a glove that converts magnetic waves into sounds and images, and an intercom mask that isolates all the information from the environment and allows the user to communicate with another person who has a mask similar, make up the proposal that the Colombian Juan Cortés presented with the help of David Vélez, in 'This is for every one, design for the common good', a sample organized by the Design Department of the Museum of Modern Art in New York ( MOMA).
The exhibition includes designs that are used every day throughout the world, through new technologies such as: the turn on and turn off symbol, the Google Maps indicator, the Creative Commons symbol used by millions of free software licenses, the control of Atari or the famous red button used in almost every Hollywood apocalyptic film, a programming control called Little Bit or a dress made by 3D printer.
In order to complement the exhibition, the design department organized workshops given by four artists from different parts of the world, including the Colombian one. The intention was to teach attendees how they use the exposed pieces and take advantage of them from the point of view of art.
Cortés has been experimenting for several years building artistic instruments with old technologies, in order to use them in the creation of sounds and images.
For his exposition he had used as base a programming device called Arduino, which caught the attention of curators Jess Van Nostrand and Paola Antonelli. This device, explains the artist, "has revolutionized the way in which technological proposals are made, since it has reduced thousands of cables and devices to an apparatus that can be programmed for multiple functions, such as simulating the flight of a bird, reprogramming electromagnetic waves and thousands more functions. "
During the worhshop, which was held on the third floor of the MOMA, the artist showed how obsolete technology can be reused with the Arduino, using the mask, gabardine and gloves. When finalizing, it realized a concert along with David Vélez, in the facilities of the museum.
The artist recognizes that the tradition of pottery, the custom in Colombia of taking care of household appliances and repairing them, helped in his proposal.
"The fact that here they take care of themselves and there are places like the Carrera Novena workshops or Avenida Caracas (in Bogotá) that have a lot of objects that are 30 years old and one can use that for artistic production, that we have a huge advantage over other countries where, simply, what is damaged changes it ", says the artist.
For his proposal in the MOMA, the artist traveled through different parts of the country looking for fauna and flora that served to be represented. "In the country there are many artists who work on the subject of violence and what I wanted was to find another approach, highlighting biodiversity", says the artist about his research.
Finally, he selected as main themes a snake, a shark and a frog, and adapted them to different costumes that were made with the help of Vanessa Gómez and Nicolás Rivero, designers of A New Cross, a Colombian brand of design recognized in the exteriror.
Advised by Santiago Cortés, an electronic engineer specialized in visual systems, he built the three objects.
The glove has a sensor and a coiled copper coil. When used it transforms electromagnetic wave signals into vibration that produces sounds or images. This makes reference to the detection system of Pacific gray sharks that are in the Chocó region. The Tatacoa desert.
Then it was the turn for the gabardine, which is woven by hand with virgin wool and fiber optics. On the shoulders there is a receiver that detects temperature signals by means of infrared sensors, which are converted through an Arduino located in the back so that the optical fiber ignites with greater or less intensity, depending on the heat that is emitted. This artifact imitates the sensors that have the native snakes of the Tatacoa desert.
Finally, with the support of Vélez, he built the mask that isolates noise and light, through hearing aids and a hergonomic system that blocks all external signals. Thus it imitates rain frogs, typical of the Orinoco region, which, when they are going to mate, block all external frequencies. Thus, the mask only allows to hear whoever has the other mask, by means of an intercom.
The exhibition 'This is for every one, design experiments for the common good' will be until January 31 in the MOMA design area.
Publicado en ARTERIA
29/ 11/ 2015