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Curatorial Practices
The Dinosaur was Sill There
by Ernesto Calvo Alvarez

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1. As an initial examination of media art in the Central America, a brief reflection on a fundamental and more important aspect is imperative: does a space, a historic or contemporary entity called Central America exist or not? In this case, as a region supposedly unique and indivisible, of cultural, political, economic and ethnic similarities, among others, it is definite that Central America does not exist. We can verify it along with its difficult history: since the initial division of the native, pre-Hispanic settlements in its territory, through the geographic, political and economic isolation of colonial times up to the failure of the Central American Federation headed by Salvadoran caudillo Francisco Morazán just after the independence of the region, and on more recently to the impossibility of established more recently a Common Central American Market, among other attempts of unification.

If it is therefore practical or desirable (at least in an utopian way) to talk about a Central American region, it seems that it can only be accepted within certain discursive models or common denominators that project virtual images of an imaginary community. In order to legitimize this community it is necessary to inscribe the memory of the differences (characteristics of regional, national, group and individual artistic expressions) that have constituted by (or that could eventually conform to) these atomized spaces that have been called "Central America."

2.The scarceness of media that can be used to create audiovisual art in the Central American region results in a precarious existence of the production, distribution and technical existence of cinema and video. Professional education is therefore received abroad or skills are learned individually, as has happened with most of the youngest video artists. Institutional spaces of legitimization (competitions, exhibitions and art samples) have been scarce, except for the recent Festival Icaro in Guatemala, the national cinema and video selections in Costa Rica (the genres that generally participate in the international cinema festivals are included in both events), or the first Concurso Centroamericano de Videocreación -Inquieta Imagen (Restless Image, Central American Contest on Video Art), organized this year by Costa Ricaí­s Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo. The participants offer different options of Video Art and the most experimental creations within media.

Brooke Alfaro (Panama)
Aria / 3:20
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A figurative but precise comment with a classic opera voice and an image that moves inside an old building in ruins as its dramatic leitmotif. A debate on the distance between high and low culture appears just at the end, making an ironic yet also ludicrous reflection on Panamaí­s poor children. Winner of the First Prize in the Concurso Centroamericano de Videocreacion - Inquieta Imagen (Museum of Contemporary Art and Design. Costa Rica, April 2002.)

Dario Escobar (Guatemala)
Made in Taiwan / 1:30
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A metaphoric, subtle reference - yet at the same time direct - to the ambiguous relationships between pleasure, beauty and violence, through a classic, kitsch icon: the music box. This object, however, suggests the contradictory relationships established between an already globalized tradition and the trace of violence and militarism always concealed but present throughout Guatemalan history and until today, with which the art tradition blends.

Regina Galindo (Guatemala)
Self-Cannibalism / 6:00
An obsessive performance of self-mutilation (biting oneí­s nails) that deals in a more existential than censorious way with solitude, alienation and also with the rigid roles and archetypes of the sign "woman" in our patriarchal societies.

Jonathan Harker (Ecuador/Panama)
Metrópoli / 4:20
A fascinating contrast in slow motion between images and the voice offstage, in which in an almost pictorial way some urbanistic, architectonic and socialized spaces in the city of Panama are discovered by restless and expectant eyes, through the subjective (re) construction of the human beings who walk around it, who inhabit it and give life to it in their everyday activities.

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