Dr Claire Taylor, Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies was recently invited to give a talk organised by Mexsu: Centre for Mexico-Southampton Collaboration and the Centre for Transnational Studies. Her paper was entitled “Mapping the Americas Online: Latin(o) American net.art and the Aesthetic Production of Space”. Claire gives us a brief outline of her talk:

This paper explores one of the most exciting and innovative developments in cultural production of the Americas in recent years: the new cultural forms being developed at the interface between cultural-artistic expression and new media technologies. Grouped broadly under the term ‘net.art’, such works typically involve features such as multimedia components, hyperlinking, interactivity and computer-generated images, as well as drawing on existing, pre-digital genres such as experimental poetry, visual art, installation art, and performance art. The paper takes as its case studies recent works by three prominent cultural producers: Uruguayan Brian Mackern, Cuban-American multimedia artist Coco Fusco, and the Chicano media hacktivist Ricardo Domínguez. Paying particular attention to their works Net.art Latino Database (1999-) and Turista Fronterizo (2005), the paper explores the ways in these artists engage with some of the central place-based tropes of Latin(o) American identity, and make use of database technologies and gaming formats against the grain. The paper illustrates how the mobilizations of place-based tropes in these works, coupled with the tactical re-use of gaming technologies and database formats, attempt to resist the cooption of new media technologies by global corporatism, at the same time as interrogating place-based practices.