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Art & Theory
Panorama from the Bridge (Traveling Artists) - Part 3 of 3
by Rodrigo Alonso
11/08/00


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Marina

TRAVELING ARTISTS

For several years now, Margarita Paksa has chosen to immerse herself in the uncharted terrain of numerical images. Even before her video installation Tenis, she used a computer screen saver as a "ready made" for her video El Descanso de Loreta (Loreta's Rest). Paksa became fully involved in working with digital support after a residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts. The results of her investigation into all these mediums are displayed in her solo exhibition at the Ruth Bencazar Gallery in Buenos Aires. It reveals the extent of her commitment and involvement with analyzing the unknowns that arise from the combination of different symbolic universes within the matrix of electronic representations.

The discursive impact of her work is paralleled only by the videos and performances of Marcello Mercado from Córdoba. With a very savage slant within the limits of visual sadism, Mercado investigates recent history to nourish his critical and uncompromising tone as he questions the contemporary human condition. After his early videos such as El Vacío (The Emptiness) or Restos de Madre (Remains of Mother), Mercado entered the Internet with Sections of Nothing-Nothing, a less than encouraging look at our reality, in which historic and cultural symbols appear as parts of an unsolvable puzzle.

Similarly, Iván Marino, Gabriela Golder, Pablo Rodríguez Jáuregui, and Juan Manuel Seoane have all searched for ways to produce their works beyond the borders of Argentina. The need to find sources for financing and producing projects that utilize new technologies has led them to join the community of migrant artists that are attracting the attention of large international exhibitions, and thus focused attention on the characteristic lack of roots of these artists. In the transition from one production center to a more sophisticated one, their works follow a similar path from video to multimedia by relying increasingly on digital technology.

The works of these artists appear as an alternative to the uncritical appropriation of the eighties, with their constant changes of meaning, their critical perspectives, and even their political implications. At the same time, these works instigate an analysis of the medium itself by articulating ideas of manipulation, originality, reproduction, appropriation, metamorphosis, and assimilation. Starting from specific aesthetic postures, these contemporary artists subvert the utilitarianism and political-economic logic of technological culture by calling attention to its consequences and also to the conceptual expansion that their instruments can engender in human consciousness, without even having been designed by them.

REFERENCES & OTHER WEBSITES FOR ARGENTINE ARTISTS

Marcello Mercado: Sections of Nothing Nothing - http://www.primateweb.com/red/sections/a/a.htm

Horacio Zabala: El Arte o el Mundo por Segunda Vez - http://www.sgg.ch/zabala/index.html

Jaime Davidovich/Alejandro Fogel: Digital Diáspora - http://www.way.com/╦ťafogel/digital/diaspora.html

Jorge La Ferla: Valdés - http://www.primateweb.com/red/valdez/tiempo.htm

Fin del Mundo - http://www.findelmundo.com.ar

Arteuna - http://www.arteuna.com

Willip: Autito.com - http://www.autito.com

Translated from Spanish by A. McEwen.

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About the Author

Rodrigo Alonso received his degree in art from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is currently professor of Art History (contemporary art) in the department of Philosophy and Letters, and teaches in the workshop of Audiovisual Expression in the department of Social Sciences, both at the University of Buenos Aires. He has taught courses in his specialization for national and international educational institutions. In 1998 he designed the degree program of Multimedia for the Institute Universitario Nacional del Arts (IUNA).

Based in Buenos Aires, Alonso has worked as an art critic since 1992, specializing in new media (photography, creative video, and digitial art). He has published regularly in magazines on contemporary art, cinematography and video, and sporadically in other publications and catalogs. He has also been a curator, judge, and organizer of numerous exhibitions and theoretical events for many institutions - www.ccec.org/ar/jornadas200.

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