Organizers of the program 'Viví Tango' under the sponsorship of 'Intendencia Municipal de Montevideo' (Montevideo - Uruguay) have recently reached out to me requesting the writing of a commissioned proposal for an art-tech-tango event that could combine audiovisual elements with those of tango culture. Such an event - I was told - could be combined into the second edition of the 'Festival por la Convivencia Montevideo Tango' to be realized on September-28-2019.
After an initial evaluation from the requesting party in Montevideo, the proposal written may have exceeded their funding capabilities and thus, its status as well as its realization in Montevideo remain unclear. Here I decided to share the proposal presented in order to find relevant sponsors and partners who would like to implement and adaptation of it for their own tango events either in Montevideo, United States or elsewhere.
Montevideo electroTango Festival (METAFE)
ENCHUFE aims to include provide a contemporary exploration of tango through the integration of electronic music with multimedia arts.
by Martin Calvino (curator - artist)
1 SYNOPSIS -
The author proposes a festival of electronic music and multimedia arts focused on tango to take place within the second edition of the ‘Festival por la Convivencia Montevideo Tango’. The festival will include a day of audiovisual performances and a month-long video art exhibition. Performances will include both music and visuals and will be conducted by seven invited artists (4 artists from Uruguay : 2 artists from Argentina : 1 artist from USA) who will perform within a three hour show on September-28-2019. An exhibition of video art related to tango will take place at a proper venue in Montevideo and will incorporate national and international artists through an open call for video art works, attracting high quality material for the exhibition. The final aim of ENCHUFE is to promote and foster a contemporary take on tango from the perspective of multimedia arts and electronic music, and thus bridging technological approaches to traditional aspects of Uruguayan culture.
2 RATIONALE -
Since the beginnings of the 1990s tango has experienced a phenomenal expansion around the world. One key event that signaled this tendency was Luis Bravo’s musical show Forever Tango which achieved a tremendous success in United States in 1994. A few years earlier in Buenos Aires, Gustavo Naveira and Fabián Salas had started to experiment with tango dance from an analytical point of view, expanding the possibilities of the dance into what eventually came to be known as Tango Nuevo. Around the same time and also in Buenos Aires, Sergio Bermejo started to experiment with fusing house music with tango and in 1992 released his first album named Malevo House Music. Bermejo is now considered the father of electronic tango, a music genre that acquired notoriety and success in 2000s with Gotan Project. Another key event that contributed to the world expansion of tango was Sally Potter’s film The Tango Lesson from 1997 that is now a classic film in tango culture. Based on this, it can be concluded that tango experienced a leap forward each time it combined elements from different disciplines: Broadway’s style show (Forever Tango), contemporary dance (Tango Nuevo), electronic music (Electronic Tango) and contemporary film narrative (The Tango Lesson).
The question arises then of when and what will be the next leap forward in tango. When Mariano ‘Chicho’ Frumboli was asked the same question when recently interviewed by Pepa Palazón in February of 2019 for her interview series ‘Tengo Una Pregunta Para Vos’, he hypothesized that the next wave of tango transformations could emerge from the intersection with the arts. Although Frumboli did not specified the art discipline or how this could be brought about, he clearly explained the need for further artistic development on a contemporary take on tango. The intersection of tango with multimedia arts and technology could be such an avenue in which tango could experience its next leap forward.
Indeed, since 2016 Martin Calvino (herein ‘the author’) has experimented with approaching tango culture (dance, music, lyrics, and social context) from the perspective of multimedia arts. An initial survey of tango dancers across milongas in Montevideo city conducted by the author in 2016 indicated that technological intervention of tango culture could be an interesting approach to add value to the tango experience. Since then the author has explored motion capture of tango dancers for computational art creation, music visualization, video art, experimental and electroTango sound compositions, generative tango lyric composition, and short film creation, production and screening. This new take on tango has allowed the author to explore novel narratives that depart from the traditionally associated ones, and with it the expansion of tango culture into contemporary aspects of society, mainly associated with the digital revolution. If successfully funded and implemented, the proposal presented here for ENCHUFE festival would allow artists from Montevideo and the region to carry on such explorations of tango from the perspective of multimedia arts, enriching even more the prospect of a successful integration of tango culture with technology and arts. Previous curatorial experiences carried on by the author at the Uruguayan Consulate in New York City and at Princeton Public Library in New Jersey suggested an interest from the general audience in the possibilities of such intersection, with the tango community from both New York and New Jersey highly optimistic about the endeavor.
3 WHY ENCHUFE? -
Electronic music as well as multimedia arts rely heavily on the use of software and hardware that require to be constantly ‘connected’ to a power supply, electric outlet or ‘plug’. In Spanish ‘plug’ means ‘enchufe’ and that’s the reason for the name of the festival. When taking together the abbreviation of Montevideo electroTango Festival, the complete name then becomes ENCHUFE - METAFE.
4 IMPLEMENTATION -
The festival has two components: an audiovisual event featuring artist’s performances; and a video art exhibition. The audiovisual event has a duration of 3 hours and takes place in a single day; whereas the video art exhibition is proposed to have a duration of 30 days.
4.1.1 Audiovisual Performances -
The objective of this part of the festival is to encourage the experimentation of electronic music and visuals with tango culture; with special emphasis on making technology friendly to tango enthusiasts and the general public alike. The event is intended to differ from ‘music band events’ such as those from Gotan Project or Bajofondo for instance, and instead place the role of the artist-experimenter at the center of day-to-day efforts to integrate technology with tango. The idea is to communicate to the public the active role of the artist as experimenter and investigator in a sincere effort to merge traditional tango culture with contemporary technologies. For this reason the author specially asked the invited artists to take a time to investigate and experiment with tango and produce as result unique audiovisual pieces for the festival.
4.1.2 Proposed Artists -
The author proposes the inclusion of seven artists grouped into 4 audiovisual performances: two artists from Argentina, four artists from Uruguay, and one artists from United States (the author himself). These artists have a record of experimental electronic music composition and visual creation and exemplifies the concept of the artist-experimenter that the festival wants to highlight and bring closer to the public. The invited artists are:
4.1.3 Virginia Arigon (stage name CABE TRUST) - Uy -
Técnica en Diseño Gráfico, Licenciada en Artes Visuales y fan de experimentar. Con una especialización en instalaciones audiovisuales interactivas, se formó y contribuyó en investigaciones académicas en semiótica para multimedia en el Centro Nacional de las Artes de México, en la Universidad de Bellas Artes de UdelaR, en el Instituto de Ciencias y Artes Digitales de Ciudad de México y en el Tecnológico de Monterrey, realizando performances en instalaciones en museos, desfiles de moda, conciertos de música, obras de teatro, óperas de cámara y shows de índole artístico, académico y corporativo.
Audio files: https://soundcloud.com/cabetrust
Representative video art: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9Irv_eXim4
4.1.4 Alejandro Aguerre - Uy -
En 1991 inicia su actividad musical como integrante de la banda ‘Congo’ y desde entonces comienza a experimentar con sonidos directos y circuitados. Integra paisajes sonoros con sintetizador y música electrónica, así también como sonidos tradicionales de lonja y tambor. Participa en varios eventos de música y arte electrónico como Rosario Digital en Argentina y Open Electronic Festival en Holanda. Compone música original para varias danzas coreografiadas y paisajes sonoros para el Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales. Actualmente se encuentra editando música y visuales compuestas a partir de un viaje por Camboya.
Music and video: https://alejandroaguerre.weebly.com/videos.html
Representative video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73H0_Idw0qI
Alejandro’s performance will be accompanied by a bandoneon player (name to be determined) and in visuals by HEAD BROTHERS (http://headbrothers.com).
4.1.5 Jorge Castro (stage name Fisternni) - Arg -
Desde 1990 ha trabajado en proyectos de audio y video experimentales y festivales. Ha recibido premios y menciones como Fundación Telefónica (Buenos Aires 2008), Maryland State Council Media Award (Maryland - USA, 2002), y MacArthur Rockefeller New Media (New York City - USA, 2000). Actualmente es docente titular de la Esc. Figueroa Alcorta - Cátedras de Tecnología Facultad Artes y Diseño - Universidad Provincial Córdoba y se desempeña como director de La Cúpula Galería de Arte / Medialab. Ha sido curador del festival de Arte Sonoro Santo Noise 10, director del sello discográfico Sudamerica Electrónica y recibido beca de investigación por la Fundación Gilberto Alzate Avendano en 2011.
Jorge Castro will be accompanied in piano by Nicolás Margherit (Arg) who composed the soundtrack for the film COCÓ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxWOOSRCsLk&t=12s) and recently launched the album ANTIMATERIA (http://sudamericaelectronica.bandcamp.com/album/antimateria?fbclid=IwAR0_2ybu43hP5F0 t8ovGxL8gCStJzWKVhGBzkP8gs-TRMRUTxqedqu3ZBJg). Nicolás also participated in ‘JORNADAS CAGE VI edición en 220CC’ presenting the work CARTRIDGE MUSIC (https://vos.lavoz.com.ar/jornadas-cage?fbclid=IwAR2ttDn3rmKI0mdn7u7BPC8-uJOFp7Zzsr9BX9wmfAGBb9zFXs_Cz2hZ1Hc).
4.1.6 Martin Calvino - USA - Multimedia artist, creative technologist and curator whose work encompasses the integration of art & science, new media art and tango, electronic music composition, and artistic applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence. He is currently artist-in-residence at the 'Art and Artificial Intelligence Lab' at the Computer Science Department of Rutgers University. He was a Senior Research Assistant at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong; and previously attended the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. He holds degrees in Plant Molecular Genetics from Rutgers University (PhD) and Tsukuba University (MS), and in Molecular Biology from the University of the Republic of Uruguay (BS). He conducted studies under the sponsorship of prestigious fellowships such as Fulbright (USA) and Monbukagakusho (Japan). Martin’s artworks has been featured in CLOT magazine, NOEMA magazine, INTERALIA magazine, LEONARDO Journal, ART UNCOVERED, Proyecto ROTATORIA, MoTiF Film Festival, The Lift-Off Sessions Online Film Festival, FILE (Electronic Language International Festival) and CICA Museum (upcoming). In November of 2018, Martin released under Bandurria Records ‘looping_thoughts’, his first album of electronic music with tango remix that contained tango lyrics created with machine learning. His album has recently been featured in 'Nación Eléctrica’, a Webzine from Chile dedicated to promote electronic music. Martin’s curatorial work includes the intersection of Uruguayan culture with new media arts at the Consulate General of Uruguay in New York City, and TechnoArte Latino at Princeton Public Library in Princeton, New Jersey with co-sponsorship from the Art Museum of Princeton University.
Music and Video: https://martincalvino.bandcamp.com/releases https://www.martincalvino.co/single-post/2018/08/22/ElectroCortinasMilongueras-electronic-music-tango-re-mix https://www.martincalvino.co/single-post/2019/01/05/Organized-Sound-upcoming-album-on-electronic-music-tango-lyrics
Video: https://www.martincalvino.co/single-post/2019/05/06/Re-purposing-short-films-for-video-art-creation https://www.martincalvino.co/single-post/2019/03/05/Performing-electronic-music-at-Rutgers-University https://www.martincalvino.co/single-post/2018/12/06/OCHO-CORTADO-altered-realities-of-a-tango-dream https://www.martincalvino.co/single-post/2018/11/05/Audiovisual-studies-of-dancing-bodies-and-electrotango-sound-compositions https://www.martincalvino.co/single-post/2017/11/22/Cuatro-Palabras-is-a-short-film-exploring-the-emotional-tension-of-a-tango-couple https://www.martincalvino.co/single-post/2017/10/19/Dance-What-You-Read-a-short-film-as-promotional-material-for-the-recently-published-book-Tango-Intoxication-written-by-Batt-Johnson
4.1.7 Physical Context & Stage Setup - The conceptual premise behind the implementation and execution of the corresponding physical context and stage setup for the event is based on providing the audience with an immersive audiovisual experience in which artists and their interaction with technology can be appreciated in close proximity by the audience. The audiovisual experience is augmented by the construction of an hexagonal system of speakers, lights and screens arranged around a circular stage in order to change the traditional setup of a frontal stage. This arrangement is intentionally designed to enhance the bidirectional communication between artists and audience to provide a significant and memorable experience. The proposed setup will be implemented by HEAD BROTHERS (http://headbrothers.com) which successfully executed a similar system for the event Ingeniería Demuestra 2018 (http://headbrothers.com/idm2018/) (Figure 1 available upon request). HEAD BROTHERS will work in conjunction with the already designated event-production company A CHICKEN (http://www.achicken.com.uy/) and will be in constant communication with the author to successfully execute the proposed setup.
The setup is intended for an estimated audience of about 1,000 persons and could be adjusted depending on the demands from the organizers of ‘Festival para la Convivencia Montevideo Tango’ and the attending crowd if superior to 1,000 persons. The location is presumed to be in Plaza Matriz, Montevideo.
4.1.8 Documentation - The process leading to the event as well as the event itself will be video-documented in the form of a black & white micro-documentary to be created by the author. The documentary will highlight interviews conducted to the organizers of ‘Festival para la Convivencia Montevideo Tango’ as well as the participating artists and production companies specifically involved in ENCHUFE - METAFE. The documentary will be subsequently included in the video art exhibition accompanying the festival, and will be used as promotional and media diffusion material for the festival.
4.1.9 Web, Media & Press - ENCHUFE - METAFE will have a dedicated website in English to host all the festival related content, including the video art exhibition (see below). The website will be used as anchoring and presentation material to introduce to the press (newspapers, radio, TV, independent audio podcasts and blogs, online magazines, social media outlets and more). Promotional fliers will be created by the author as ad-material for online distribution and as referencing visual for the festival. A media kit and press release will be created by the author to be used as reaching out material for newspapers and magazine reporters.
4.1.10 Data Gathering & Analysis - A survey will be designed by the author to measure audience’s response to the event. The resulting data will be analyzed to understand audience’s perception and experience of the festival and to identify strong and weak aspects for further improvement in subsequent editions (2020 - 2021). The results of such analysis will be presented to the organizers of ‘Festival para la Convivencia Montevideo Tango’ in the form of a written document and/or oral presentation.
4.1.11 PIPELINE & COST ESTIMATION - The organizational structure for ENCHUFE - METAFE is shown on Figure 2 (available upon request). The pipeline and cost estimation leading to the three-hour show on September-28-2019 includes: (a) the preparation of this proposal, (b) edit and adaptation of proposal upon revision by evaluating committee, (c) executive supervision of overall activities leading to the festival by the author, (d) audiovisual content creation and performance by artists, (e) setup of physical space and stage for the event, (f) creation of website, promotional flyer, press-media kit, and audience’s response survey, (g) video documentation of the festival, (h) measurement and report analysis of the festival success based on audience’s response, (i) travel, lodging and meals costs of artists traveling from Argentina and USA.
When estimating costs for the festival, the author assumed the following premises:
# Artists from Argentina will transport theirselves from Rosario to Montevideo by car. Jorge Castro has communicated he already scheduled an audiovisual performance in Rosario right before September 28, so he will directly travel to Montevideo from Rosario together with Nicolás. From Montevideo they will return to Córdoba by car. Thus travel, lodging and meals expenses were calculated for a 3 day stay assuming the arrive to Montevideo on September 27, perform on 28 and leave on September 29.
# Artist - curator - executive director of ENCHUFE - METAFE (Martin Calvino) is assumed to stay in Montevideo from September 1 to October 31 of 2019. The first 27 days of September he will work to ensure the successful implementation of the proposed activities for the festival (4 hours/day) with the rest of his time (another 4/days) working to ensure the successful implementation of the video art exhibition to run during the entire month of October (see below). Only the working hours leading the the event on September 28 were estimated on the cost shown on Diagram 1. The estimation of cost for the proposed video art exhibition is show on Figure 3 (available upon request).
4.2.1 Video Art Exhibition - In order to contextualize even further the aim of the festival, a video art exhibition is proposed in which video artworks resulting from a selection process derived from a national and international OPEN CALL for artists will be exhibited during an entire month. Like any other art exhibition, it will have a printed program highlighting the selected artists and their work, a daily guided tour given by the author to explain the visiting audience the work being displayed and the exhibition’s aim at integrating tango with art and technology. The initial proposed venue for such an exhibition could be at the Centro Cultural España (CCE Montevideo: http://www.cce.org.uy) or any other suitable venue depending on space availability and project’s budget. The implementation of such exhibition will consist of an OPEN CALL for video artworks to be announced/published in the festival’s website. Subsequently, the OPEN CALL will be advertised at several social media artists groups such as these on Facebook:
Generative Design Research Network (2,400 members) Procedural Generative Art (6,000 members) Algorithmic Composition (2,682 members)
Experimental/Electronic Music Network (2,941 members) Open Calls (14,096 members) Media Art Platform (2,190 members) Art Opportunity, Jobs and Advice (21,986 members) Max/MSP (17,886 members) We are VJ (3,998 members) Creative Coding (3,582 members)
Students for several audiovisual orientations at different academic departments and universities from Uruguay and Argentina will also be invited to submit video artworks to be considered for the exhibition:
Laboratorio de Medios, Facultad de Ingeniería (contact person: Christian Clark http://clark.uy/about/)
Grupo del Área de los Lenguajes Computarizados I.ENBA, Bellas Artes (contact person: Daniel Argente http://www.enba.edu.uy/alc/)
Facultad de Comunicación y Diseño, Universidad ORT (contact person: Fabián Barros https://docentes.ort.edu.uy/perfil.jsp?docenteId=13380)
Ingeniería Audiovisual, Departamento de Comunicación, Universidad Católica del Uruguay (contact person: Ignacio García)
Cátedra Groisman, Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Urbanismo (FADU), Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), Argentina (contact person: Martín Groisman http://mediosgroisman.com.ar)
All submitted video artworks will be curated (in principle) by Martin Calvino. If submission materials exceed 100 artworks, a second or third curator will be included to help assist in the selection process. Suggested curators are Carrie Sija Wang (https://carriesijiawang.com) and Brian Mackern (http://netart.org.uy/brian.html).
Video artworks requested will have the characteristic of being single channel, with or without sound and of any duration under 5 minutes. They should be experimental in nature and should address a contemporary take on tango culture.
The technical implementation of the exhibition will be conducted by HEAD BROTHERS and may include (a) four 65-inches flat screen TVs; or (b) four projectors with sound system, central server and video playback software.
The exhibition will have flyer, press release and press media-kit similar to the one proposed for the audiovisual event on September-28-2019. Depending of budget availability, the author could also produce a video micro-documentary on the exhibition featuring interviews with selected artists. Such video work can then be used a documentation material. A survey can also be designed and implemented to measure and analyze audience’s response on the exhibition and its content. This data will very helpful in guiding future improvements for the exhibition in upcoming editions.
4.2.2 Traveling Exhibition - The exhibition will have a mechanism for international diffusion based on the already existing infrastructure of Uruguayan Consular Offices and Embassies around the world; with special emphasis on those located at cities with strong tango communities that can benefit from attending a screening event featuring selected video artworks. The author himself has organized a cultural event related to tango at the Consular Office in NYC with attendance from the tango community and beyond. Because all Consular Offices have a dedicated time, space and budget for events destined to promote Uruguayan culture, they are an invaluable resource to project ENCHUFE - METAFE at the international level and hopefully to increase the influx of tourists into Montevideo City.
Since Consular Offices and Embassies already count with projectors and sound system, the traveling exhibit will be screened as a single movie file containing the video artworks in sequence. This format does not require any technical implementation and does not incur in any additional cost. The only cost associated would be traveling and lodging expenses for the author to go introduce the exhibit program to tango communities abroad.
For a first edition of the traveling exhibit these are the tentative Consular Offices and Embassies of interest:
Argentina - Buenos Aires (Embassy) - Córdoba (Consulate General) - Rosario (Consulate General)
United States - New York City (Consulate General) - Washington DC (Embassy) - Chicago (Consulate General) - Los Angeles (Consulate General) - Miami (Consulate General)
Italy - Rome (Embassy) - Milan (Consulate General)
France - Paris (Embassy)
England - London (Embassy)
Russia - Moscow (Embassy)
South Korea - Seoul (Embassy)
Japan - Tokyo (Embassy)
The author suggest Argentina, United States, Italy, Russia and South Korea as entry points to an international audience that may want to visit Montevideo as tourists for the subsequent editions of ENCHUFE - METAFE.
4.2.3 PIPELINE & COST ESTIMATION - The estimated costs for the exhibition are shown on Figure 4 (available upon request) and does not include the implementation of the traveling exhibition. Costs were calculated for the use of 4 flat screen TVs instead of 4 projectors and associated sound system (this set up cost much more).
5.1 Final Thoughts - Implementing the proposed idea of ENCHUFE - METAFE as an integrated audiovisual performance event and video art exhibition would entail the allocation of $XYZ (exact amount of money is available upon request). The festival would be a unique instance in which to bridge art, technology and tango and presenting it to a general audience and tango enthusiasts alike. It will also encourage young audiovisual students/artists to find interest in tango culture and explore the intersection of multimedia arts with traditional aspects of Uruguay culture and society.