Collaborating with Galería de la Raza (Galeria), artists John Jota Leaños, Rene Garcia, and Monica Praba Pilar (known as “Los Cybrids, La Raza Techno-Critica”) set out “…to create new public art that provokes a critical analysis of the cultural and ethnic issues being ignored in discussions of the ‘digital divide.’” Through a residency at Galeria, the artists instigated conversations about the social, cultural, and environmental consequences of information technologies, resisting the idea that cultural difference does not exist in cyberspace. (See http://www.cybrids.com).
Their efforts culminated in three computer-generated temporary murals (“El Webopticon,” “Humaquina: Manifest Techno-Destiny,” and “Last One to Cross the Digital Divide is a Rotten Egg”) on Galeria’s exterior wall, accompanied by on-line artwork, installations, and performances.
John Leaños focused on the influence of technology in conjunction with cultural workers. Monica Praba Pilar worked with Mission District youth exploring access to technology and the influence of technology on the body. René Garcia explored how Latinos are stereotyped as consumers rather than producers of new media.
Lead artist John Leaños is a digital photographer and installation and recipient of the Creative Capital Grant (2002) and Potrero Nuevo Fund Prize (2001). All three project artists had been involved in Galería’s (Re)Generation Project, a career development program involving young Latino artists between the ages of 18 and 35.
Founded in 1970, Galería de la Raza promotes public awareness and appreciation of Chicano/Latino art and the cultures from which it arises. Annually it presents five to seven major annual exhibitions, conducts community forums and artist workshops, and coordinates cultural celebrations, performances, literary readings, educational programs, and other special events.