Abel Barroso: Upgrading

April 16 - May 17, 2019

Abel Barroso San José

Sala de Navegación y Realidad Virtual a la Cubana [Internet Browsing Room and Cuban-style Virtual Reality] revisits and updates one of Barroso’s previous installations, the Third World Internet Café. Reflecting upon the relationship between global and local connectivity, he acknowledges that, almost without our knowledge or permission, globalization has influenced the configuration of our very identities, weaving a web of economic, social, and political interrelationships from which we can’t escape. Barroso takes particular aim at our connections to cyberspace for both social media and commercial purposes, as he creates low-tech computers in wood, replicated at full scale, through which visitors can interact to facetiously access Cuba’s Uber service (UVER) or a find a travel agent with listings of private homes available for tourists during their visits to Cuba. One computer, dedicated to social media, is titled You Have a Friend Request; through another, one can bank online or solicit a travel visa. The application that permits these functions Barroso calls Boogle, a Cuban version of the program known worldwide as Google. The installation will also include Virtual Reality headsets, and the most up-to-date hardware, including tablets with touch technology. All of these devices are part of the Mango Tech system – the low-tech reinterpretation of those technologies more globally known as Apple – representing the technology of the poor, and all constructed in the simple medium of wood.