Author Archive

November 26, 2011

Mapping Social Issues, The Beehive Design Collective

by Natalia Guerrero


How can we use art as a tool to break down social issues by mapping out this contexts through symbolic organization and colonization of beehives? The Beehive Design Collective uses illustrations to map social issues or conflicts such as Free Trade in the Americas, Plan Colombia, and others to reach an understanding of the different dynamics that come into play. The collective facilitates workshops for communities who want to deconstruct complex and overwhelming issues that are shaping their society, by “using bio-regionally accurate depictions of animals and insects as metaphors to link cultural and ecological diversity.”

Their current graphic campaigns are working on the Free Trade resistance in Mesoamerica, Plan Colombia, The True Cost of Coal, among others.

Check out how these layers of symbolic narration are created in this link: http://www.beehivecollective.org/english/plancolombia.htm

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November 16, 2011

A Different Take: Developing and Fostering Queer Youth Media

by Natalia Guerrero

The 24th New York Queer Experimental Film festival will take place Nov 15-20. On Saturday 19th at 2pm there will be a space held to show the work of youth who have participated in peer-based/ mentor driven workshop for media makers in the program A Different Take. The entrance is Free a there will be a space to engage with the participants in a discussion.

MIX NYC Queer Experimental Film Festival’s “A Different Take” program is a free media training program for at risk LGBT youth. For more information, see http://www.mixnyc.org, or contact info@mixnyc.org

For those interested in youth media this could be another opportunity to see how this process is being facilitated  in this particular workshop.

September 27, 2011

Maker Fair. DIY, Recycling and Education. Silla Re-Uso, Colombia

by Natalia Guerrero

At the Maker Fair that took place in Queens, NY this year I couldn’t stop thinking about the intersection between trash (what we throw out or discard as no longer useful), the appropriation of the concept maker, recycling and education. A couple years ago in Colombia the government decided to ban all the non-institutional recycling taking place in Bogotá city in response to the inadequate (translation: pleasant to the eye aesthetically) medium of carrying the trash by recyclers. The use of horses and even people to pull on wooden carts seemed to be the focus of this whole issue on how to dispose of the waste in the city and the unpleasant aspect and smell of the families who went through the trash. This lack of thoughtfulness on the issue left out that 55% of the population in Colombia is below the line of poverty and that around 60% of the income for families comes from informal work, including recycling. Recycling has always been left for the unprivileged and the stigmatization of this population is significant. Nevertheless, a small part of the population, artists privileged in a way for being able to have and education began to use waste as their prime source for their designs and trash began to be something more digestible.

Going beyond the simple realization that waste is not always un-useful, becoming a Maker and also to incorporate this as a tool for education and empowerment can be truly a challenge. This is where Silla Re-Uso comes into place. Samuel Córdoba designer and Director of the documentary Tumaco Pacífico, traces the path from his experience and responsibility as a film maker in Tumaco to building chairs out of recycled carton boxes.  “Me siento bien sentado sobre una silla de cartón” (I feel good sitting on a carton chair”) became an idea that left the art gallery to become a proposal that involves the community in a space that allows them to also become makers. Fundación Promedio was then born from two fabulous artists, Catalina López and Samuel Córdoba, who together envisioned a place for the Maker Community with the mission of creating artistic activities in defense of the environment and culture.  Fundación Promedio created workshops to bring the recycling community into a space where they could learn to be makers by gaining knowledge on a craft that is just one step ahead from what they already do, recycle.

DIY, Recycling and Education. The fulfilling experience of learning, making and then being able to pass a certain knowledge; ex: how to learn and make a chair, goes beyond the simple need to protect the environment. The documented experience in this case exposes a whole economic and political context. What I like about this project its the ability to bring forward a Maker Community who can  re-assign the value of their work and give the individual maker its importance when it relates to the community.

September 27, 2011

Theater of the Opressed and Street Theater. Unidad de Operaciones Tácticas de los Payasos Policías de Puerto Rico

by Natalia Guerrero

The Police Clowns of Puerto Rico brought performance into the street as a political tactic to join the student protests who where fighting for the right to education in the public university of Puerto Rico. Through their performance they over took the public space to bring into the discussion the contradictory relationship of the State forces who in their mission to protect the order and lives are also used to oppress and control freedom of speech. In their mission to accomplish this, direct and indirect violence is executed, political arrests and forced disappearances, physical abuse and justification of violent actions. The discourse and mission of the clowns in their manifestations contained the same discourse the police uses to justify their violent actions to maintain public order. Los Payasos de la Policia de Puerto Rico publicly reclaiming their right to also protect and verify the law.

MISSION (in spanish):

1. Proteger la vida y propiedades, impedir el crimen y el desorden.
2. Prevenir, descubrir y perseguir el delito.
3. Cumplir y velar por el cumplimiento de las leyes, reglamentos y ordenanzas municipales.
4. Observar y procurar la protección de los derechos civiles del ciudadano.
5. Observar en todo momento una conducta ejemplar.
6. Tomar las providencias necesarias para garantizar la protección de las personas detenidas.
7. Tratar cortésmente al público y prestar la debida ayuda a las personas que la requieran.
8. Prestar la debida protección al pueblo reunido legalmente para cualquier fin lícito.
9. Obedecer las órdenes legalmente emitidas por sus superiores.
10. Ser puntual en sus compromisos oficiales y diligentes en el cumplimiento de su deber, actuando siempre en forma ecuánime, serena y justa.
11. Orientar y aconsejar al público sobre el mejor cumplimiento de la ley, así como en todo lo que concierne a la seguridad pública.

Part of their discourse is to inform citizens of their rights and the mission of the clowns (which is the institutionalized mission of the Police of Puerto Rico). With this they bring up the need for their presence in this space. During the performance the clowns involve both the public and the Police Force and confront the Police who are in violation of their own purpose which now will be in vigilance by the Clown Police and the civilians. The clowns are there to symbolically protect the public and students from the brutality of the police presence which is in violation of the right to have Universities and schools free from the presence of the State Forces. The clowns re-assumed their protagonist function in their performance and in society by making a “joke” of the protagonist who separate themselves from the mass, the Police. The Police clowns play out symbolic disputes embedded in the fight and struggle of the oppressed in Puerto Rico through out its history.

September 15, 2011

Bio Natalia Guerrero

by Natalia Guerrero

Born in Colombia, raised in Latin America. Video artist and community organizer working with the use of video and photography for human rights advocacy and youth media projects. Currently working on the use of film documentaries as a personal reconstruction of memory (being your own historian), specifically with the idea that the reconstruction of memory is fragmented and dependent on the given or available information, in many ways evoked by what could be called “landscapes of memory”.

“Re-cons-tructing televisions and reprograming television channels.”

Besides building cameras as a DIY approach with communities I am also working on television circuits to make personal interventations, reconstruct personal memories and to play around with the idea of building your own television frequencies and content.

check out: Shooting Cameras for Peace, Escuela Audivisual Infantil and Ojo al Sancocho. (http://ojoalsancocho.org/)