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Curatorial Practices
Interview with Ernesto Calvo Alvarez: Video Art in Central America
by Daniel Ross-Mix

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Ernesto Calvo Alvarez is the coordinator of the Central American video art presentations "Inquieta Imagen" (Restless Image) and the international cinema and video showcases "Espacios a la Experimentación" (Spaces for Experimentation) held at the Museo de Arte Diseño Contemporáneo in Costa Rica.

Daniel Ross-Mix: What do the audiovisual events at the Museo de Arte Diseño Contemporáneo (MADC) consist of?

Ernesto Calvo: The 2nd video exhibition "Inquieta Imagen", which took place recently, forms part of a more general program supporting and visualizing the latest experimental production in the audio visual field, not only in Costa Rica but throughout the entire Central American region, was organized this year and last year at the MADC in Costa Rica.

In April 2002, invitations were circulated for the first of the Central American video art competitions "Inquieta Imagen" while simultaneously showing "Contaminados: (Ex)Tensiones de lo audiovisual", with the participation of important international artists. A visual dialogue was held at the MADC, dealing with audio visual relationships in their most violent forms while also covering other artistic disciplines both within the plastic arts, such as, painting, photography, sculpture, engraving, etc., and even in more broader terms with cinema, dance and literature, among others. In actual fact, the videos winning the first three places, both last year and this year, have been concretely inter-disciplinary. This is, one of the fundamental purposes of these events: to rescue the trans-disciplinary vocation of contemporary audio-visuals and art.

Together with the two editions of the "Inquieta Imagen" exhibitions, the MADC video library has shown two international video and cinema showcases entitled "Espacios a la Experimentación" (Spaces for Experimentation), selected from cinema classics (by Eisentein, Vertog, Lang, Wiene or Buñuel, also Welles, Gordard, Bergman, Fellini, Tarkovski or Kubrick, to Woody Allen, Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch or Cronenberg, Peter Greenaway, Almodóvar or Lars Von Trier.) including short feature films by national, Central American and international video artists, who have donated their work to the museum and true to the names of both the Central American presentation and the international cinema and video show case are, "experimenting with the restlessness of the image".

DR: Who are the organizers? Do they hope to make this a continual event?

EC: This event is officially organized by the MADC and came into being on the joint initiative of myself and the MADC Director, Rolando Barahona, due to the need to foster and provide new audiovisual media and specifically video art in the Central American region. The official recognition is important since this is an artistic languages with a strong international presence, and one which - until very recently - was almost unknown in Central America.

These exhibitions and events in general not only allow the young creative artists of the region an official space to show their work, but also foster relations and exchanges between artists from other geographic and cultural areas, both in Latin America and in the rest of the world. Due to our experience with the exhibition, it was possible to gather together a selection of Central American video artists for Latin America Freewaves, held in November of last year at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and exhibit Central American video art alongside the principal audio visual creators from the rest of Latin America.

We hope to continue these events permanently, holding them every year or two while avoiding the pitfalls that come with continuity. In order to guarantee this continual growth, this year we had the support of the Spanish Cultural Center and the French Embassy in supporting the awards and publishing the catalogue of the event, in addition to a VHS cassette containing selected works. Next year we're counting on the support of the HIVOS Foundation from The Netherlands.

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