VIBRANT CLOUDS. MEDELLÍN, COLOMBIA. JUNIO 2017
The objective of this residency was to create a space for learning and experimentation in the sciences, technology, and their interconnection with power and society. We used the climate as a context for gaining scientific knowledge, mediated by the making of low-cost antennas. This interests us as an entry point for the analysis of the political dimensions of sciences while building scientific tools. They are a way of understanding the universe from our own perspective - not the one that is dictated
Within the artistic process of exploration, we were interested in sparking curiosity in those who have not been involved in sciences because of the type of education we have received in schools, because of the scary tone of mathematics or because we do not see the relevance of sciences in society. We believe in the importance of facilitating processes for people to find the relevance of this knowledge into their own experiences, building up curiosity and the desire to learn and experiment. We achieved this with a very diverse group of people who came to Platohedro: students, radio amateurs, sound artists and citizens in general.
During four sessions we created an atmosphere of dialogue about the electromagnetic spectrum. Even though only a small fragment of it is visible to us, the rest of the waves that we can not see, can be accessed and used as part of an artistic intervention.
We held conversations around power structures in the electromagnetic spectrum, who is the owner, who can use it and for what purpose. Together we came to understand the role of the spectrum as a common good and the opportunity we have to make use of it, as we use other natural resources. We also built low cost antennas and made weather data sonification as an experience to materialize the learning. Without dividing between theory and practice, the conversations while cutting the wires led us to understand some knowledge of physics and astronomy. In short, we created a space where science, technology and artistic representation conversed in a participatory manner.
We see great potential of this type of interventions in broader contexts. On the one hand, workshops for science education that depart from experimentation are important: an effort to eliminate barriers that historically have restricted access to knowledge, processes and scientific tools, and therefore those who know science and technology are still locked in the laboratory, while also enclosing their knowledge and keep us submissive to their circuits of domination. On the other hand, building low-cost antennas can be a pivot for interventions in communities for climate prediction, for example in coastal communities. Another field of application is civic media, using the antennas for the transmission and reception of media content. The interesting thing here is to generate ecosystems where the creation of antennas is one of the interventions within a broader context, where people participate out of joy and genuine interest. We hope to return to collaborate with Platohedro to materialize these and many other ideas.
This residence was in collaboration with Sharath Chandra Ram