Five Artists Selected for Inaugural CIFO-Ars Electronica Awards To Advance the Practices of Latin American Artists Working with Technology
Selected from Over 160 Nominated Applicants, Resulting Commissions Join CIFO Permanent Collection and Will Be Presented at Ars Electronica Festival this September
Five artists from across Latin America have been selected for the inaugural CIFO-Ars Electronica Awards: Dora Bartilotti, Electrobiota Collective, Thessia Machado, Amor Muñoz, and Ana Elena Tejera. Launched this year by Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) and Ars Electronica, the awards advance the practices of emerging and mid-career Latin American artists working with technology in the field of new media and digital art, providing up to $30,000 per recipient to develop a major new commission. In addition to joining CIFO’s renowned permanent collection of Latin American art, the resulting works will be presented in an exhibition as part of the Ars Electronica Festival, the major international platform for the intersection of arts, technology, and society, at the Lentos Art Museum, in Linz, Austria, from September 7 to 29, 2022.
An advisory committee of more than 50 leading scholars, curators, and artists from approximately 20 countries nominated Latin American artists to apply, regardless of their country of residency. From more than 160 applicants, the five award recipients were chosen by a selection committee of curators and scholars in contemporary art and new media: Tania Aedo, Coordinator of the Department of Art and Technology at National Autonomous University of Mexico; Christl Baur, Head of the Ars Electronica Festival; Sergio Fontanella, Director of Operations and Collections at CIFO; Martin Honzik, CCO and Managing Director of Ars Electronica Festival, Prix, and Exhibitions; and Hemma Schmutz, Director of the Lentos Art Museum, Austria.
“The CIFO-Ars Electronica Awards are a wonderful way to celebrate our 20th year as a resource for emerging artists, a commissioner of new work, and advocate for Latin American artists worldwide,” said Ella Fontanals-Cisneros, Founder and Honorary President of CIFO. “These new awards and our partnership with Ars Electronica add an important dimension to our mission and to our Grants & Commissions Program as we support artists in expanding their practices and extending the impact of their work.”
“This collaboration brings a number of really strong artists and projects to the audiences of Ars Electronica. It is not only an exciting window into the very innovative Latin American art scene, but also a highly valuable source of inspirations and ideas to approach the big challenges of our time,” Gerfried Stocker, Co-CEO and Artistic Director of Ars Electronica.
RECIPIENTS OF THE INAUGURAL CIFO-ARS ELECTRONICA AWARDS
The awarded artists and commission concepts follow below. Projects were selected based on their conceptual merit, including the artistic and research motivations for the project, as well the context in which the work is being created and the artist’s entire body of work. Artists applied for specific award amounts based on the scope, scale, and technological needs of each project.
Amor Muñoz (Mexico) works across textiles, performance, drawing, sound, and experimental electronics to explore the relationship between technology and society, with a special interest in the interaction between material forms and social discourse. Her new commission will explore biological processes such as circulation and breathing, synthesizing them in a biotechnical exploration of the relationship between technology and our everyday lives.
Dora Bartilotti (Mexico) is a feminist, multimedia artist focused on generating critical dialogues between art, design, pedagogy, and technology in order to catalyze conversations about possible forms of organization, intervention, and micropolitical action in public space. For her commission, the artist will continue current research exploring new media and electronic textiles as creative mechanisms for feminist activism. The resulting work, ¿La has visto...? (Have You Seen Her?), will be a participatory electronic art piece that seeks to generate a poetic gesture of search, as well as a collective demand to find the missing women who are victims of forced disappearance in Mexico.
Thessia Machado (Brazil, based in United States) is a visual/sound artist, instrument builder, and performer whose work plumbs the materiality of sound and its effect on our shifting perceptions of space. She creates circumstances in which to mine the matter of her pieces for their innate physical properties and the sonic and visual relationships that can arise from their interactions. For her new commission, she will create a sound and light installation, featuring two wall-mounted, light-sensitive string instruments controlled by the light levels of a video projection. The architecture of the surrounding space functions as the resonating body, singing through its structure and filling the space with a composition of evolving drones. Machado’s sculptures, drawings, and sound installations have been exhibited at major institutions across the U.S. and Europe, including The Drawing Center, Museo del Barrio, and BRIC Arts.
Ana Elena Tejera (Panama, based in France) is a multidisciplinary artist working in cinema and performance. Her films, interactive performances, and other interdisciplinary works have been presented across Panama, the United States, and Europe. Her first feature film, as well as her first film in virtual reality, were both recognized by the Rotterdam International Film Festival. For her commission, the artist will create an AI computer whose education will be formed through the consumption of school class manuals, archives, and photographs from The School of the Americas in Panama, thus mimicking a “military education” based on the concrete elements left over from the school.
Electrobiota Collective (Argentina/Mexico) is a multispecies artist collective founded in 2014 by Mexican transmedia artists Gabriela Munguía and Guadalupe Chávez. Contextualized in Latin American epistemologies and working from multiple approaches, including electronic arts, bioart, environmental humanities, cultural biology, and soil ecologies, they investigate possible interspecies expressions and gestures. The artists coordinate the Rizosferic Laboratory, an experimental education project focused on the environment, art and opensource technologies. For their commission, the artists will develop a tactical and forensic investigation of wetlands in Isla Puente, in Paraná, Entre Ríos, Argentina, based on photogrammetry techniques, and using drones and satellite images to identify wetland areas and study endangered native plant species.
Images (in order of appearance): 1) Amor Muñoz. Hybrida, 2020. Sound installation - Bio sculptures at MUAC. Courtesy of the artist. 2) Dora Bartilotti. The Textile Rebellion (Public Voice project). 2020. Photography: Courtesy of María Juárez. 3) Thessia Machado. Modified greeting. Card sound modules, found speakers, custom electronics, video projection. Variable dimensions. 2017. Photo courtesy of the artist. 4) Ana Elena Tejera. Festival de La Memoria. Photo courtesy of Tova Katzman. 5) Electrobiota Collective. Eisenia, organic printing machine. Electrobiota. Mention at the Biennial Kosice Latin American Edition, Centro Cultural Borges, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2014.
ABOUT ARS ELECTRONICA
Ars Electronica is a cultural institution, an educational facility, and an R&D lab based in Linz, Austria. Like no other institution, Ars Electronica represents a comprehensive approach in the confrontation with techno-cultural phenomena and enjoys a worldwide reputation for excellence. It is comprised of four divisions: the Ars Electronica Festival, the Prix Ars Electronica, the Ars Electronica Center, and the Ars Electronica Futurelab. These four divisions mutually inspire one another, constituting a circuit of creativity: The FESTIVAL as test environment and the PRIX as competition of the best and brightest—both of them international, artistic, experimental, and focused on the leading edge; the CENTER as year-round presentation & interaction platform—local, educational, and entertaining; and the FUTURELAB as R&D facility—innovative, creative, endowed with strong technical competence and implementation skills, and linked up to a global network of universities and research facilities.
ABOUT THE CISNEROS FONTANALS ART FOUNDATION (CIFO)
Ella Fontanals-Cisneros established the non-profit Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) in 2002. The foundation’s mission is to support and foster cultural understanding and educational dialogue among Latin American artists and global audiences. CIFO serves as a platform for emerging, mid-career and established Latin American artists through the Grants & Commissions Program, including the new CIFO-Ars Electronica Award; the CIFO Collection; and other related art and cultural projects in the United States of America and internationally.