signals from the south

Signals from the South’ is an annual showcase of projects from ‘the South’ (South America, Africa, Asia). This year’s exhibition features work by Venzha Christ / Yogyakarta New Media Art Laboratory (Indonesia), Geraldine Juaréz (Mexico), Annemie Maes (Belgium), Vanessa Gocksch & Juan Carlos Pellegrino (Colombia).

The exhibition is organised by Pixelache festival in collaboration with MUU Gallery.
Pixelache Helsinki (2-5 April) is a festival of electronic art and subcultures, organised since 2002.

signals from the south
pixelache.2009
MUU Gallery 13.3. – 5.4.2009 — Lönnrotinkatu 33, 00180 Helsinki

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information on the projects and artists:

Annemie Maes (Belgium) Politics of Change (PoC)
Annemie Maes has initiated Politics of Change, an ongoing artistic research project driven by grassroots activism, eco-technology and networks of women. PoC wants to research and build integrated and sustainable relationships between people, their environment and technology.
As artists, filmmakers, activists and policy-makers whose practice incorporates ecological thinking, we have to enrich the public debate around ethical living, environmental sustainability and eco-technology. We have to think about the kind of future in which we want to live and work. What lifestyles, what social and economic systems can we envisage beyond the usual? Is there anything that we can learn from existing (non-Western) social experiments to help us make our economic and political systems less fragile and unstable?
Annemie Maes has made a documentary wall with pictures, videos, and interviews she gathered during her field research at Barefoot College. In this Indian community, illiterate grown-up women are technically trained so they can personally provide their village with sustainable energy with the help of solar panels.

Geraldine Juárez (Mexico) Tools for the end of the world
The scapulars are religious objects, which are made of fabric and are worn as talismans, to increase devotion, or to promise protection from eternal punishment.
During the period of colonization in America, the Catholic Church used different methods to dismantle the traditions and beliefs of the native cultures, to establish Catholicism as the dominant religion in Latin America. This process involved death, slavery, trusteeship and the resignation of the natives’ beliefs, by means of destruction of their idols and temples to force them to adopt the new religion. They would battle and resist by hiding their symbols behind the imposed ones and pretending their faith and devotion.
Learning from these acts of resistance during the time of colonization and inspired by the sacramental aspect of religion, these tools for the end of the world have been created by hacking religious scapulars in order to subvert their original meaning. In the context of this project, they are repurposed to increase service and commitment towards the act of resistance. They remind the wearer to combat with generosity, anarchy, ambiguity and copyleft respectively. Reject, deface, subvert, transform.

Venzha Christ (Indonesia) Chronicle_Therapy!
Chronicle_Therapy! is a sound installation that explores the electromagnetic spectrum. The audience can walk inside the installation and test how their presence affects the sound environment.
In addition to television, radio and mobile phone signals, all other electronic devices send out and can be affected by electromagnetic signals. The same is true for humans and other living beings – we are always immersed in the electromagnetic spectrum.
The installation has been created in the context of the Education Focus Programme (EFP) initiated by Venzha Christ. The Education Focus Program (EFP) is a project conceived of in terms of a developing country where New Media art is currently not widely available. The main goal of the project is to build a modern conception of a future between technology and people. It thus includes activities and research focusing on people, technology, communities and beyond. The EFP challenges people to approach their everyday environment differently.

Vanessa Gocksch & Juan Carlos Pellegrino (Colombia) Poporo Luminoso
A poporo is a pre-Colombian sacred apparatus which all men of the indigenous Kogui, Arahuaco, Wiwa and Kankuamos tribes carry with them all the time. It is a symbol of a woman which also carries a practical purpose, as it is a container for the lime made from crushed sea shells that the indigenous men use when chewing coca leaves. They constantly rotate a lime covered stick around the top of the poporo, which over the years creates a thick shell – this action is considered as a way of “writing” thoughts. This is a daily routine of meditation for the indigenous tribes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region.
The Poporo Luminoso is an interpretation of a poporo that includes a hand winded flashlight integrated into it. It is intended as an alternative to the battery flashlights that indigenous people buy to use in their territories, and which is an important source of pollution. It is an invitation for indigenous people to learn how to fabricate electronic everyday objects themselves and in accordance with their own way of life.
The Poporo Luminoso will also serve as the starting point for dialogue with indigenous people about ideas such as ‘civilized cultures’ versus ‘millinery cultures’ or technology within the context of indigenous cultures. We assume that it will be perceived as a polemic object by the indigenous people who use the original poporo. Their opinions will be collected to a blog called Muldsigaba (“to communicate” in Kogui language’) that will act as a discussion forum about indigenous people and contemporary communication practices, which involve art.