John Angel Rodriguez
Date of residence: June - July 2018
John Ángel Rodríguez is a visual artist and curator of Bogota origin. He studied for a master's degree in Art and Media Practice at the University of Westminster, London, and his degree project focused on media curation.
Since 2004 he began his activity as an independent curator, carrying out curatorial projects at a national and international level. Among his outstanding works is the exhibition “Equilibrio”, presented at the SouthBank Center in London, where he was invited by the Colombian embassy in that city; the organization of the exhibition “Parallel connections”, which dealt with video performance practices, exhibited at the Wayward Gallery (London); and his participation in the Saatchi Gallery (London).
In 2013 he received a grant from the Getty Foundation of Los Angeles, United States, to attend the CIMAM 2013 annual curator conference, “New Dynamics in Museums Curator, Artwork & Public Governance” in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There he was also curator of the exhibition “Digital Analogy: Pioneers of New Media”.
To date he has curated 6 international exhibitions. Among them: one for the Laznia Cultural Institution in the City of Gdanks, Poland; and “Bogotá Ciudad en el Borde”, which is part of the “Cities on the Edge” exchange program, presenting the work of four artists (Jaime Ávila, Andrés Londoño, Adriana Salazar and Alberto Lezaca). In 2014 he won the Guest Projects curatorial grant to present the exhibition “Vanishing Points” in London. In the same year, he presented the exhibition “Los Pioneros del New Media”, at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Bogotá MAC, which had the participation of twenty international and three national artists.
In 2015 he was co-founder and curator of PERMANENTE, independent space for the creation and experimentation of contemporary artistic practices. In this same space, he curated group and individual exhibitions and international residencies, including: Non-Organic Life, ArtFutura, Dark Matter and Deconstruction.
He was the winner of the 2015-2016 Ministry of Culture and IDARTES international circulation scholarship to carry out a curatorial residency in Warsaw. He is also the founder of the GRAY CUBE PROJECTS curatorial platform where curatorial projects in plastic and visual arts are designed.
His research residency in curatorship offers an account of the research process that has been carried out with GRAY CUBE PROJECTS, from October 2014 to November 2017, which tangentially addresses the Molecular Revolution, which in the context of art can be understood with the term of Molecular Aesthetics.
GRAY CUBE PROJECTS is a curatorial platform that establishes multiple transversal interventions within techno-scientific knowledge, to undertake visual and plastic arts projects. In this exercise, the installation and the specific intervention function as strategies that in turn try to be an intuitive trigger for the viewer.
The proposal has two essential components:
An investigative field work to document the artistic processes of local Medellín artists, parallel to a review of the exhibitions that have addressed themes similar to the one proposed in this residency.
A laboratory of thought in which artists from the city are invited to develop their projects, from the approach to artistic creations that manifest relationships between different micro and macro states of matter. The purpose is to intertwine various disciplines, one of the conceptual elements that this investigative and participatory residency tries to promote.
What are molecular aesthetics?
This new geological epoch in which we are immersed as a civilization, where humanity has become the dominant force for change on Earth, even surpassing in importance the geophysical forces, which until now have shaped the biosphere, has become known like the Anthropocene.
In the context of this transformation, a way of working with matter both critically and experimentally emerges, which from the intersection of art with other scientific disciplines has been designated as Molecular Aesthetics. Its application in art has made it possible to understand the subject from other creative perspectives; among them, we find microscopic observations, subatomic bond structures and nanotechnological applications in the different fields of scientific knowledge. Models of industrial design, architectural surveys and the artistic manifestations of contemporary art are some of the means that have been inspired by molecular studies.
In the socio-political context of Colombia, the concept of Molecular Aesthetics can be understood as the persistent dichotomous relationship of an economic model, which insists on the contradiction of the fundamental principles of physics, in favor of the utility of particular patrimonies.
One of the reasons why Colombia has experienced an imbalance in the social and economic field is apathy in the application of scientific research for social development. For this reason, this research proposes a laboratory that presents a group of facilities that, through a critical look, seek to bring the attendees closer to some of the political variants of economic exchange that the transactional agenda of the Colombian state is developing when making contracts with multinationals, where natural resources are being negotiated in the interests of private markets.
Some of the underground processes that are hidden from the public domain are collateral damage to the environment and long-term implications for the internal economy. Agreements of this type encourage progress and private investment, therefore organic and inorganic materials could be susceptible to being substituted by artificial copies.