School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies (SOCLAS) Research Seminar Programme 2010-2011: Beyond the Text Research Group

Wednesday 6 April 2011, 4.00 p.m.

Room 401, Fourth Floor, Cypress Building (108 on the University Campus Plan)

Refreshments and informal discussion will follow in Room 507.

All Welcome

Dr Claire Taylor (University of Liverpool)

‘Reworking Locality: The Resistant Re-territorialisation of Place in Latin American’

This paper analyzes the work of two recent Latin(o) American net.artists: the Argentinian digital artist Marina Zerbarini, and the Nicaraguan-US multimedia artist Ricardo Miranda Zúñiga.

Tejido de memoria (c) Marina Zerbarini

The paper focuses firstly on Zerbarini’s 2003 work, Tejido de memoria, an interactive online work which dialogues explicitly with the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo, and engages in a critical reworking of the Buenos Aires cityscape. The paper analyzes how Zerbarini re-signifies the urban political centre, highlighting how Tejido de memoria, in its reworking of images of Buenos Aires and its engagement with the Madres, undertakes a re-signification of the city and urban space.

Vagamundo (c) Ricardo Miranda Zúñiga

The paper then considers Miranda Zúñiga’s Vagamundo of 2002, a multimedia work which, involving a computer game with associated weblinks, an introductory digital montage sequence, a physical installation and public participation in the streets of New York, involves constant negotiation between digital media and street performance, and between new media technologies and enactment in real offline, real places.

Through its interweaving of real and virtual space, Vagamundo challenges some of the commonplace assumptions regarding Hispanic immigrants in the US, and with this, some of the central place-based metaphors in the US imaginary.

The paper concludes by arguing that the geographical tropes with which these two works dialogue are both reinforced and transformed by their use in cyberspace; if, as cybercultural theorists have argued, cyberspace entails not the loss of locatedness, but a re-working of the concept of locatedness, then these two works make use of the potential of the internet to force a re-thinking of place and territory. In this sense, the internet and experimental  may be seen to provide a further – and in some cases, more radical – opportunity for re-territorialisation and the recuperation of place.

Images reproduced with kind permission of the artists.

Please see the full programme of SOCLAS Research Seminars for 2010-2011 Semester 2.