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Electronic arts scene mingles with marginalized communities in Colombia

medellin rainbox

Take electronic media, a community with a violent history and music, and you have the necessary ingredients to make a Pixelazo.

“Pixelazo is the new Colombian node in the Pixelache festival network. The first Pixelazo event will be organised by Intermundos.org in collaboration with Pixelache Helsinki and several Colombian collaborators.”

Pixelazo´s purpose is to bring to the city of Medellin knowledge on the possibilities of expression these new technologies can bring, by combining this worldwide movement with the cultural and community life in Medellín via workshops, forums, conferences and round tables.

This first Pixelazo  Event kicked off with a series of workshops at Comuna 13 , an area of Medellín where civilian warfare took place for many years, and which was considered one of the urban militias.

I didn't sign up for any of the different worshops, however, I did go to the round table which took place in the El Benedikta Zur Theatre in San Javier. The small theatre was full with students from the community, and I was luckily able to grab a seat close to the front. Most of the audience was sitting on the stoops, against walls, and on the floor, as the seated sections were overflowing. The speakers were Bogotrax organizers DJ Charles Tox and the musician, Krak in Dub, who shared their experiences on free parties from France to Bogota's Bogotrax. Erik Sandelin  talked about his projects on personal technologies and social action spaces and demonstrated the ophonine pophorn , his newest media installation. Closing the round table were Jaygo Bloom, David Bernard and Dan Norton from Pointless creations, who talked about VJing and on how to mix video live and see the electronic maracas and video switchboard. One after another, they talked to us about their passions, and it was hard not to get infected by their enthusiasm for this project and electronic adventure.

After the round table, we headed down to San Javier park for the “Audiovisual Stew,” an electronic free party and public square in which the workshop participants were able to showcase their work along the national and international guests. The community of Comuna 13 came out with curiosity to see what we were up to, walking under and around the multi-dimensional screens from the screen workshop, seeing the moving video being projected on them, and the trees surrounding the basketball court. They would also get close and watch with envy those who touched electronic interfaces created in Erik Sandelin and Asa Stahl´s workshop until someone would promt them to touch the metallic parts themselves as well and mix the sound and video on that installation.  The crowd was mostly concentrated in front of the screens and children raced around with white flags in front of the video beams, creating moving screens for the live mixing of video while music played by national artists Z-Dey and Iraka from Medellin and by the international guests DJ Charles Tox and Krak in Dub, blasted in the background. The latter also jammed with local artists Zon Bata from the Comuna 13 and the MC John Primera from Caracas/Cartagena.

Pixelazo's activities went on throughout the weekend; this time going out into public places. Erik Sandelin showed off the Ophonine pophorns in the monthly fleamarket of San Alejo during the afternoon, and then the activities moved towards the Parque del Periodista, a popular counterculture hotspot where they threw an electronic party. It was here where the participants from the VJ workshop showcased their work, by mixing live video at this streetwide free party, videos which had been recorded around the comuna 13 and which were projected on the facades of neighboring buildings.

This was the first part of the events for Pixelazo. There are other activities programed throughout the year until June´s Main event; the Selvatorium: where a selection of foreign and Colombian artists will participate together in a 10 day laboratory in the city of Leticia and its surroundings in the Amazon.

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