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Hybrid Resonance and the Latin American Art of the East-End, Long Island: An Exhibition and Artist Talk Review – Article by Dinorah Delfin

Hybrid Resonance and the Latin American Art of the East-End, Long Island: An Exhibition and Artist Talk Review – Article by Dinorah Delfin

Dinorah Delfin


Hybrid Resonance” art exhibition at Ashawagh Hall, East Hampton, N.Y. April 5-7, 2019.

I was recently invited to be part of an art exhibition which explored some fundamental topics related to my area of artistic research and activist initiatives. The event, “Hybrid Resonance,” and the artist talk that followed two weeks later, revealed that Latin American art is not only a hybrid mix of cultural influences but also a mixed-breed of personal achievements and sacrifices in the pursuit of novelty, preservation, and adaptation.

In this article, my first exhibition review and account of the artist talk that followed, I hope to share a comprehensive reflection and critical analysis of contemporary Latin American art from Long Island, New York, and its global relevance as we continue to stand in solidarity towards Venezuela’s Liberation.

PART # 1 – HYBRID RESONANCE: AN ART EXHIBITION AND BENEFIT FOR VENEZUELA 

Artwork on view, from left to right: Aner Candelario, Gustavo Bonevardi, Alex Vignoli, & Enrique Martinez, a.k.a. Mago.

Thirteen East End, Long Island artists and a selection of contemporary Venezuelan art were selected for “Hybrid Resonance,” an exhibition organized by art consultant and curator, Esperanza Leon, to raise awareness about Latin American art and Venezuela’s current humanitarian crisis. 

Ms. Leon, also born in Venezuela, organized a powerfully relevant and emotional exhibition which displayed the hybrid nature of Latin-American art, re-defined by a global heritage of analog and digital hybridity. 

The art, the awareness, the solidarity, this exhibition was beyond personal. Works like “Venezuela Divided,” by American artist, Gustavo Bonevardi, captures the fractured spirit of a displaced nation whose hope persists as the flag’s iconic rainbow stars remain centered, never out of sight. Maria Schon’s reductive and organic shapes transcend location, as tropical greens, blues, and yellows resonate with childhood memories and the primal subconscious.

With resounding rhythm and improvisation, “Hybrid Resonance”, also featured live Latin music by the jazzy Velvet Mood; Hispanic vibes by D.J. Carlos Lama; and a selection of Venezuela’s Ron Diplomatico and traditional “arepas” from Caracas Arepa Bar restaurant. 

Latin American Art


Artwork by Venezuelan Reinaldo Crespo

What does it mean when Jerry Saltz, esteemed and renowned art critic, says: “Art contains a multitude”?

Artists embrace complexity and paradox. We often oscillate between different perspectives and painfully obsess over the spaces between objectivity and subjectivity. We want to strip it all off, or integrate it all – art, culture, spirituality, science, technology, the irrational – unveiling unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated disciplines. We often shift back and forth between fantasy and a rooted sense of reality, between playful extroversion and disciplined introspection, between a sense of abstraction and a concrete sense of self.  

So what makes Latin American art more pluralistic in its inherent multitude? 

When people think of Latin American art, it is often associated with murals depicting religious narratives, or political and social unrest; or one thinks of the optical and geometrical kinetic sculptures of the Venezuelan Avant-Gardes. While Latin American art shares the mestizo roots of our European, African, and Indigenous ancestry, this collective experience of conquest, slavery, and imperialism, has always provided a fertile ground for the cross-breed of new and exotic forms of artistic expression.

Today, Latin American art couldn’t be more relevant. As we become more active participants in global networks, not only we have our shared pre-Columbian and European influences to draw inspiration from, but we are also in a unique position to capture the multi-cultural conditions of the global citizen.

Artists present in “Hybrid Resonance” had roots in Venezuela (Maria Schon, Walt Lindveld, and myself), Puerto Rico (Aner Candelario and Darlene Charneco) Ecuador (E. Osbaldo Segura), Colombia (Mago), Brazil (Alex Vignoli and Dalton Portella), and Uruguay (Aurelio Torres), Gustavo Bonevardi (Argentina), Nadine Daskaloff (Mexico). 

Additionally, the exhibition showcased a selection of basketry from the Yekuana and Yanomami Venezuelan tribes, and folk art and other hand-crafted works created by Venezuelan artisans, designers, and fine artists, many of whom still reside there. In this section of the exhibition gallery, there were also the works of Reinaldo Crespo, Astolfo Funes, Eduardo Barcenas, Humberto Salas, and Abdul Vas. 

Venezuelan Crises

“The very rich culture of Venezuela is often overlooked due to the current crisis. In the past, the country was known for its petroleum, now, for its critical economic and humanitarian decline.” – Leon

In Venezuela, eight out of ten people currently live in poverty. There is extreme insecurity and shortages of food and medicine, with millions having access to barely one meal a day. Since 2015, the United Nations estimated that approximately three million people have left Venezuela, including many young males looking for opportunities and ways to help their families; leaving the children, women, and the elders behind.

Hybrid Resonance” wasn’t only to raise awareness about Latin American art, but also to raise funds to help Venezuela. On the last day of the exhibition, Leon, Venezuelan artist Maria Schon, and I, also hosted a tour to discuss the art and the current humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. 

Hybrid Resonance” was able to raise almost $3,000 which is given to selected charities providing aid in Venezuela. These organizations include Rescate Venezuela (rescatevenezuela.com), Alimenta la Solidaridad (alimentalasolidaridad.com), and International Rescue Committee (https://www.rescue.org/country/venezuela). 

Awareness with Foresight  

Bob” by Dinorah Delfin. Image courtesy of Casey Dalene.

There were two instances during “Hybrid Resonance” that were of particular interest for me:

Self-learning algorithms: One person in the exhibition interested in learning about my art piece on display, “Bob” 2019, from my Hybrid series, expressed concern about self-learning algorithms and the possibility of a “Terminator-like” future. I sympathized. I happen to be part of a movement that raises awareness about issues related to advanced technologies. I explained that the most important thing one can do is to help raise awareness about these issues by also advocating against any form of prejudice and segregation.

The focus of my next body of works, a re-interpretation of Dante’s Divine Comedy, touches upon issues related to Artificial Intelligence (AI). Algorithmic bias is a rising global problem with unprecedented consequences – it is threatening to replace human thought and ability to form opinions with machine thinking. Some experts believe that as biased AI becomes more autonomous and ubiquitous, the greater the existential threat to humanity will be. 

AI doesn’t evolve in a vacuum, however. Just like our beliefs write the fate of our future, our thinking machines echo human flaws and values. The field of AI and GAI (General Artificial Intelligence) ethics is a stark wake-up call and a powerful reminder that a lack of spiritual maturity, or emotional intelligence, is one of humanity’s greatest existential risks. 

In our continuous liberation from injustice and prejudice, and as we push forth new ways to re-think what it means to be human, it is crucial to remember that every time an algorithm targets or discriminates against someone based on physical, or non-physical demographics, we are inadvertently training self-learning machines to discriminate against humanity as a whole.    

Transhumanists are as concerned as you are: Another interesting moment during “Hybrid Resonance” was when someone recognized me from my participation in the Transhumanist Movement. Apparently, the person had “unfriended” me from Facebook because of my affiliation to the movement. I was not surprised; the movement itself is dealing with an identity crisis as it strives to remain a truly progressive and beneficial asset to society. What is most important to keep in mind, however, is that the less we understand how advanced technologies affect our every day lives, the less prepared we will be at setting up the necessary infrastructure to ensure that “transhumanist” technologies are used fairly and responsibly.  

PART # 2 – ART + BIOCULTURALISM: AN ARTIST TALK

Art + Biculturalism: An Artist Talk hosted by Esperanza Leon and Casey Dalene at the Maidstone Hotel, East Hampton, N.Y.

If all art is autobiographical, what are oval-shaped nature escapes, recycled sculptural books, and sculptural pixelated faces telling us about our time; about an individual’s journey, cultures, and the global family as a whole?

Art + Biculturalism, an artist talk hosted by Esperanza Leon and Casey Dalene, as part of their Art Salon series, was organized two weeks following the exhibition “Hybrid Resonance,” to offer a more comprehensive understanding about the different influences shaping the individual expression of Latin American artists living in the East End, Long Island, New York. 

The talk featured artists Maria Schon, Alex Vignoli, and myself. We all shared how the advantages and challenges that come from migrating one’s birthplace and adapting to new territories, is an invaluable process which has not only shaped our unique individual expressions but also constitutes a reflection of the collective global experience.

The Gaia Within

There are different theories about what the 20,000-year-old Lascaux cave paintings signify. Whatever inspired these exquisite renditions of nature and the human condition, one thing is indisputable, these are the works by a unique breed of people who like to look at things, think about things, and record what they perceive, remember, and/or feel. These gentle cave-men and women were obsessed, expressive, sensible, naughty, and highly self-aware and skilled people who ventured into womb-like, almost inaccessible caves, to be able to create their harmony and pro-life-inspired wall carvings, stamps, and graffitis. 

Exuding a voluptuous luminosity and a palpable feel of nature’s texture, curves, and edges, which only a trained eye can masterfully illustrate, Schon’s paintings transport us to a place not so different from that experienced by our pre-historic ancestors. Behind Schon’s reductionist abstraction of childhood memories, as she later explained in her talk, there is also something beautifully dense and complex appealing to the primal subconscious. By juxtaposing basic design elements such as form, color, texture, light, and composition, Schon’s paintings gently trigger a universal drive to co-exist symbiotically and in harmony with Nature — our progenitor and co-creator. 

Opportunity Cost

Up-cycling meaning, through found books, is how artist Alex Vignoli cleverly integrates his photographic skills with his personal values — to conjured up still life images of social relevance and timeless beauty.

Pictures of open books, with folded and rolled up pages; as relics of the past as we become increasingly more digitized; or as relics of the wise, as those who cherish harmony understand that a sustainable future is for those who can leverage both of our digital and biological potentials.  

Vignoli’s sleek and minimal photographic images unfold into an equally relevant, and obscure, subject; the art market. Bringing awareness into paradoxical and controversial issues such as educational reformation and digital technologies, goes hand in hand with reformations needed in society’s moral value systems — humans make art to reflect back our humanness and flaws, we don’t want biased AI reflecting to, or for us.

Prejudice and discrimination are much more subtle and complex than it is normally spoken about, and it is no different in the art market, or the art community in the East End, Long Island — minorities have historically struggled for artistic recognition and financial success as academia tries to fit it all in one neat historical continuum. 

We are more than multi-cultural beings

Anthropology professor, Setha Low, during Art + Biculturalism shared about her interest in the idea of humans as “translocals” — beings embodying the physical sensation of living in two or more places at the same time. Corresponding to this idea is also that of “transhumans” — beings embodying both the physical sensation of living in two or more places at the same time, and the physical sensation of everything that is living, while on a journey to define and/or preserve the integrity of one’s individual essence and expression. 

In shifting to a conscious awareness of translocal spaces inhabited by humans transitioning into a posthuman era, we are experiencing a “re-inscription of old ideas and patterns but we are not holding on to it,” says Low. We are experiencing a political backlash and more segregation, she adds.

For “Hybrid Resonance,” I decided to showcase a piece of artwork which portrays the idea of a future hybrid being embodying both analog and digital qualities to bring awareness to this paradoxical issues. Evolution has taught us that life thrives on mutations and complexity; it isn’t up to humans to want to become ever more complex organisms. Transhumanism not only embraces this fundamental existential drive but also brings into light the dark side of the digital world and the dystopian futures we strive to prevent. We are all hybrids, and we are all accountable, after all.

Conclusion

Hybrid Resonance” echoed the spirit of the international Latino artist as our stories revealed one of broadened perspectives, resilience, and adaptation. The show was a reminder that we are living at the edge of an era that calls for a pluralistic, integral, and holistic intervention as we transition into a more complex socio-technological world.

Belonging everywhere and nowhere, “Hybrid Resonance” was above all about the sincerity of process and subject matter.

Dinorah Delfin is the Director of Admissions and Public Relations for the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party.

 

 

U.S. Transhumanist Party Virtual Meeting and Q&A – February 23, 2019

U.S. Transhumanist Party Virtual Meeting and Q&A – February 23, 2019

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Gennady Stolyarov II
Denisa Rensen
Palak Madan
Pam Keefe
Dinorah Delfin
Arin Vahanian
Tom Ross
B.J. Murphy


On February 23, 2019, the U.S. Transhumanist Party invited many of its Officers and Ambassadors to discuss recent activities and plans for 2019, including the upcoming Presidential nomination process. The meeting included a public chat and portions where inquiries from members and the general public were addressed. Find the video recording of the meeting and the accompanying YouTube Live chat here.

Agenda
– Gennady Stolyarov II: Overview of 2019 Transhumanist Presidential Nomination/Debate/Primary Process
– Ambassadors – Denisa Rensen, Palak Madan, Pam Keefe: Discussions on Transhumanist Sentiment / Attitudinal Environment in Japan, India, and Hong Kong
– Denisa Rensen: Report on TransVision 2018 in Madrid
– Gennady Stolyarov II: Integration with the Transhuman Party / Dissolution of the TNC
– Dinorah Delfin: Discussion of Forthcoming Article in The Transhumanism Handbook: “An Artist’s Creative Process: A Model of Conscious Evolution”
– Arin Vahanian: Report on Premiere of “Immortality or Bust” Documentary
– Group Discussion: How to Reach 10,000 Members? (What demographics have yet to be exposed to transhumanist ideas and the existence of the USTP? How can we be more effective in getting people “in the door” to even be aware of our existence and content?)
   Potential Ideas
Social-Media Digital Poster Contest (Suggestion by Tom Ross)
Incentives for Members to Recruit Other Members (Suggestion by Tom Ross)
Appeal to Subcultures – e.g., Steampunk, Cyborg Communities (Suggestion by Tom Ross)
Question for Discussion: Should we engage with conspiracy theorists (e.g., attempt to rebut them) or distance ourselves from them as much as possible?
– Any questions from the audience

Note: The meeting livestream terminated slightly prematurely due to an Internet disconnection. However, the meeting did proceed over the course of the planned two-hour timeframe, and the vast majority of the intended subjects were covered.

Become a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free, no matter where you reside. Fill out our Membership Application Form.

Become a Foreign Ambassador for the U.S. Transhumanist Party. Fill out the application form here.

Wump VR – Vladmir Storm & alpha_rats

Wump VR – Vladmir Storm & alpha_rats

Wump VR


 

What is the human experience? Is it defined by our everyday interactions with one another and our external environment? Or is it characterized by our seemingly unique abilities to empathize? Our ‘free will’?

Virtual reality, along with every other (insert adjective here)-reality tech, has given compelling responses to these questions, further blurring the line of what differentiates the human experience to everything else.

A curious project that is still in development, Wump VR is what most would describe as a psychedelic trip that peaked a bit more than it should. Mesmerizing visuals and musical interactions bombard your senses as users try to figure out how to navigate through this vivid Cronenberg version of the human experience.

‘A VR experience about life states. It’s based on alien organic aesthetics and VR physical interactions. You will experience the journey of life. Leaving sag mom womb, being a liquid baby, tripping teenager, busy parent and dry old person. Genderless, wump will call back and after the unbirth circle of life will never end.’

Wump VR simplifies and transforms the human experience into what might as well be an alien dream. Each life state is defined by the visual aesthetics and interactions the user encounters as they progress through the experience. The user’s body changes and morphs through each stage, granting new modes of interaction with the environment. 

“We wanted to keep the journey as universal as possible, focusing on the evolution of the body rather than lifestyles, life experiences, gender, etc.”

There are many virtual reality developers and creators with their own unique aesthetic stories to tell. Soon, we’ll be living in a future where we can choose any experience we want to live, temporarily or even permanently. I believe the human experience is not inherently human but rather an extension of the fluidity of existence. Are we all living a vivid virtual dream, wandering around as we all soak in the abstract information of our environment? Do we even want to take off the goggles? That’s for the individual to decide.

Vladimir Storm and alpha_rats are incredible VR designers. More of their beautiful work can be found on their Behance.

~ Emanuel Iral, Director of Visual Art, U.S. Transhumanist Party, June 30, 2018 

Moon Ribas – Seismic Sense

Moon Ribas – Seismic Sense

Moon Ribas


 

It’s 2018, another year in this shared reality of ours. We’ve come a long way, perfecting our technological prowess as we continue our evolution into the post-human.

There are cyborgs out there. In fact, most of us are pretty much cyborgs at this point. However, it is indeed likely only some of us are truly beginning to tap into that potential.

Moon Ribas is known to the world as the Catalan avant-garde artist and a cyborg activist. Moon Ribas is one of those cyborgs, an example of the elegantly functional relationship between human and machine.

With an online seismic sensor directly implanted above her left elbow, she is able to perceive the vibrations of nearby earthquakes via data from a custom iPhone app that consolidates seismic activity from geological monitors around the world. Ribas then transposes this ‘seismic sense’ into bodily movement in her graceful performance known as Waiting for Earthquakes or into sound in her piece Seismic Percussion.

With the subdermal implant, Moon Ribas is able to further push the boundaries of perception and experience by means of personal augmentation. During the devastating 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015, Ribas was awoken by a wave of vibrations in the middle of the night. She recalls it as the most peculiar of sensations, also describing it as her second heartbeat as she is able to empathize with the people experiencing the quake. This has lead her to advocate for a better understanding of the natural phenomena so that us humans may be able to better adapt to our own planet’s movements.

Along with Neil Harbisson, another fellow cyborg, they have co-founded the international organization Cyborg Foundation in the pursuit to help all the rest of us become post-human and to protect our rights as post-humans.

It is the insatiable creative thirst of humans like Moon Ribas that slowly pushes us to the inevitable brilliant future that is to come. 

Moon Ribas is an artist and activist. More of her beautiful work can be found on her site.

~ Emanuel Iral, Director of Visual Art, U.S. Transhumanist Party, January 11, 2018 

Unique Forms of Continuity in Space – Umberto Boccioni

Unique Forms of Continuity in Space – Umberto Boccioni

Umberto Boccioni


 

The ideas of Transhumanism and post-humanist thought may seem as if they belong to the 21st century, but humans have been capturing such an imagination of the future by means of artistic expression way before they could see the state of technology today.

It was an 1909 when Italian poet F.T. Marinetti laid out the core tenets of the Futurism Movement in his manifesto. Futurism can be seen as one of the points of origin for the beautiful relationship of transhumanism and art. Born out of an era of a growing disdain for the fascist government in Italy and the state of the world at the time, Futurism called upon the prospect of bringing a future of youth, industry, and advancing technology. The Futurist Movement thus gave birth to an era of artists that aimed to capture the essence of a possible future where the lines between technology and human were completely blurred.

Unique Forms of Continuity in Space is a bronze cast sculpture that is heavily regarded as one of the core works that truly represent the aesthetic of the Futurist Movement. It’s creator was Italian artist, Umberto Boccioni. Boccioni was one of the principal figures that shaped the art of Futurism as he advocated the use of dynamic movement and the deconstruction of masses.

In Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, Boccioni presents viewers with a human figure with deconstructed masses that appear to be aerodynamic. The figure is engaged in pursuing one direction, almost as if it were its sole purpose; to move forward against the winds of demise. The deconstructed masses and lack of arms, or face for that matter, allows the viewer to perceive something that could be beyond human. It is evident that Boccioni wants us to see our body as nothing but a mere vessel that can be molded and shaped in any way imaginable, allowing us to transcend the boundaries of the physical, organic body. The lack of a discernible face implies that Boccioni believes that we should no longer identify who we are by how we perceive our current physical form. We are not bound by how we look in the mirror.

It is the creative minds like Boccioni that provoke the most profound questions concerning the state of humanity. Art is the very force that propels our human imagination forward. Now that we are nearing the end of 2017, I love looking back at how far we have come as a species despite the abundant setbacks. Art will never cease to encourage the human spirit to move forward because in the end, it is life that imitates art.

Many of the works of Umberto Boccioni and the Futurist Movement can be experienced at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

~ Emanuel Iral, Director of Visual Art, U.S. Transhumanist Party, December 8, 2017

 

Beeple: ZERO-DAY

Beeple: ZERO-DAY

Mike Winkelmann – Beeple


One of the most beautiful aspects I find about technology is its ability to allow us new forms of control and manipulation. Technology allows us to simplify many processes that seemed impossible in the past. When it comes to furthering man’s creative expression, there is absolutely no exception.

With the development of new programs and devices, digital art has entered a new realm of divine possibilities. Now, artists have the ability to render massive dream-like worlds without the use of an expensive VFX team. Surreal visions and ideas are now visualized through GIFs and mini video clips all across the Internet. Mike Winkelmann, better known on the internet as Beeple, is one of those highly gifted artists who uses a plethora of programs like Adobe After Effects and Maxon Cinema 4D, to name a few, to create intricate worlds that seem light-years into the future, or as near as tomorrow.

I’d describe Mike Winkelmann as a 3D juggernaut. He has been rendering images and GIFs every single day for the past few years now, furthering his abilities and creativity to bring us these awe-inspiring images of a possible future.

Zero-Day is a 3D ensemble directed by Winkelmann. Winkelmann pushes us through a mechanical wormhole of soul-pounding machines and whirling lights that are all in sync with a bass-crushing dubstep track. At first it may seem like an intense VJ clip, but in actuality it is a well-executed allegory of the evolution of technology and cyber warfare. Throughout the video, we hear and see fictional bits of interviews and news reports of the US developing new advances in cyber weapons and how that resonates with other global powers. It is a fictional account that seems like a near-perfect mirror of our current state of affairs, given the events of this past year. An epic commentary in all its cyberpunk glory, a masterpiece such as this should allow us to truly evaluate what we are doing now to for a future like that to happen. Maybe, that future is indeed already here. We can all agree that with new advancements in AI, the ongoing investigation of possible Russian influence of American politics through hacking, China becoming a leader in sustainable technology, and the many other accounts of technology entering the world of politics and global policy, Zero-Day doesn’t seem far off.

During our panel discussion on November 18th, participants spoke about how art influences people’s view of technology. It was agreed that there are many works that carry this dystopian outlook of the future, riddled with scenarios straight out of Orwell’s 1984. However, it is this type of work that should inspire us as the human race we are to ensure that we do not create this dystopian future, but instead aim to create a future in which technology amplifies life.

Mike Winkelmann is an accomplished VFX and motion graphics artist. More of his stunning work can be found on his site.

 

~ Emanuel Iral, Director of Visual Art, U.S. Transhumanist Party, November 24, 2017
The Human Condition Series – Debra Lott

The Human Condition Series – Debra Lott

Debra Lott


‘Trending 76×46 Oil on Canvas’

The anxiety of accidentally misplacing one’s phone, the fear that arrives of potentially missing important updates that could literally mean life or death is a reality all too real for many. It has become the norm of the 21st century to constantly check our phones and other devices for any signs of life; signs of connectivity to the world and others. We have become dependent to our devices, and humanity is slowly merging with and becoming inseparable from technology. The lines are almost totally blurred between man and machine but not only at a physical level, but now also delving deep within the emotional realm of the human psyche. That is exactly what Debra Lott beautifully illustrates in her oil painting series “The Human Condition“.
 
In her paintings, Debra depicts a colorful array of invasive wires, travelling between outlets and cybernetic implants, appearing almost constricting. According to the artist herself, the series visualizes the evolution of inter-relationship and inter-dependence between humanity and technology. “These figures symbolize the contemporary struggle to embrace, interact and stay current with 21st century technology; a love/hate relationship that empowers, improves quality of life, extends life and enslaves simultaneously.”
 
This love/hate relationship is what propels humanity to the impending future that looms near. It is a future where we must embrace the beautiful change that is to come as humanity’s capacity for knowledge increases and our manipulation of technology is nearly perfected. However, this future is overwhelming for some. Debra Lott offers a form of solace in the comfort that technology brings as she neutralizes the wires against backdrops of soothing pastel colors. Maybe one day machines will maximize the quality of life but will also know our every thought and emotion, maybe even hopes and desires. 
 

Transhuman 31×48 Oil on Canvas’

Debra Lott is a figurative oil painter and art educator. See the rest of her series and other work here.

~ Emanuel Iral, Director of Visual Art, U.S. Transhumanist Party, November 11, 2017