Aesthetic and Design of Latin American Technology
History of technology is a relatively young field in Latin America and thus the engagement with Latin American technological aesthetics and design has received scant scholarly attention. Scholarship on the history of technology in Latin America has largely focused on the embrace or rejection and/or appropriation and domestication of imported and native technologies through a textual reading of sources, leaving aesthetic rendering of these processes outside historical inquiry. This working group, in preparation of an edited volume, begins to correct this by bringing together perspectives examining the tensions between technology, design and aesthetics by analyzing state modernization projects for the urban and rural environments and individual users who reimagined or reconfigured the aesthetics of technological devices as these were domesticated in their context of use. By combining these two scales, the scholars in the working group will not only contribute to current discussions on the concept of sociotechnical imaginaries but also (1) explore how they informed and are informed by the politics of design and aesthetics (2) underline the way these imaginaries are not only textual but visual and aural, (3) and, how users altered and reinvented the aesthetics/design of technological devices to meet their cultural and personal values, needs and desires.
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There are no currently scheduled upcoming events.
June 23, 2022
October 13, 2022
- Presenter #1-Yohad Zacarias, University of Texas. Austin. The aesthetics of lighting and electrical substations and the unequal extension of technology in urban space. Santiago de Chile. 1900-1930.
- Presenter #2-Lucas Erichsen. Places for a first and last look: slaughterhouses, aesthetics, and technology in 19th Brazil
May 26, 2022
Leida Fernandez-Prieto, Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, “Mute Witnesses: Mapping the Meanings of the Images on the History of Cuban Agriculture”
To be rescheduled for Fall 2022. David Pretel (on parental leave, sp22), Pompeu Fabra University, “Green Gold Modernity: Machines, Peonage and Henequen in Yucatan’s Gilded Age”
March 24, 2022
#1-Lisa Munro, Independent Scholar. "Collecting Souvenirs Close to Home: The Politics of the Machine Production of Authentic Indigenous Aesthetics for Mass Consumption." She has published some of her work at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17530350.2021.1977677
#2-Peter Soland, Southeast Missouri State University, "Aerial Shots and Bomber Jackets: The Role of Aviation, Celebrity, and Cinema in Re-Imagining Latin America."
February 24, 2022
#1-Fabián Prieto-Nanez, Virginia Tech, “The Invastion of Satellite Antennas. Autoconstruction and the Routes of Popular Electronics in Latin America"
#2-Sonia Robles, University of Delaware, "Aural and material obstructions to technological development in Mexico"
January 27, 2022
#1-David Dalton, UNC Charlotte, “Eduardo Urzaiz's novel, Eugenia and the Interface of aesthetics and science in constructing eugenics in postrevolutionary Mexico”
#2-Lucas Izquierdo, Independent Scholar, “Analogue Technologies: the novel genre’s virtualization of Peru in Arguedas, Vargas Llosa & Roncagliolo”
October 28, 2021
Diana Montaño, Washington University in St. Louis, "Development is Modernity + Rural Electrification: The Aesthetic of Latin American Electricscapes"
Daniel Rebouças, Universidade Federal da Bahia Brasil, “Aesthetics of Electricity in Bahia”
September 23, 2021
- Yovanna Pineda, University of Central Florida, "Gendered spaces/representations of machine design and repair in Argentina, 20th Century"
- Dafne Cruz Porchini, Researcher, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, UNAM, “Fermín Revueltas fresco Alegoría de la productividad (1934)”
Agenda (updated 9/5/21)
- 1:00pm-1:15pm - Introductions
- 1:15pm-1:20pm - Race & Tech. Announcement
- 1:20pm-1:50pm - Speaker (Yovanna) presentation + QA/comments
- 1:50pm 2:20pm - Speaker (Dafne) presentation + QA/comments
- 2:20pm-2:30pm - Discussion: "What is your idea of aesthetics and design?"
Diana J. Montaño
Diana J. Montaño is Assistant Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. Her teaching and research interests broadly include the construction of modern Latin American societies with a focus on technology and its relationship to nationalism, everyday life, and domesticity. Her first book Electrifying Mexico looks at how "electrifying agents" (businessmen, salespersons, inventors, doctors, housewives, maids, and domestic advisors) used electricity, both symbolically and physically, in the construction of a modern nation. Taking a user-based perspective, Dr. Montaño reconstructs how electricity was lived, consumed, rejected, and shaped in everyday life (https://utpress.utexas.edu/books/montano-electrifying-mexico). For her articles on the intersection of humor and class in streetcar accidents see History of Technology (https://tinyurl.com/5cr7r6hu -) and Technology's Stories (https://tinyurl.com/p4ucsmns). For her HAHR article on power theft in turn-of-the-century Mexico see https://tinyurl.com/9chy8s8v
Yovanna Pineda is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Central Florida. She is author of Industrial Development in a Frontier Economy: The Industrialization of Argentina, 1890-1930 (Stanford, 2009). Her ongoing manuscript, Sensational Machines: Technē Culture in Argentina, examines the aesthetics of the design, maintenance, and repair of heavy machinery, such as harvesters and tractors. Drawing on ethnographic methods, archival sources, oral histories, rumor, social media, and material culture, this transdisciplinary work charts the genealogy of technological culture in Argentina. It analyzes the development of peoples’ emotional and sensory meanings of cutting-edge technology during the 20th century. Dr. Pineda also experiments with game design and film. (Her university page: https://history.cah.ucf.edu/faculty-staff/?id=684)
Three recent academic publications include
- Yovanna Pineda (2022). Spaces of Design & Repair in Twentieth Century Argentine Factories. Histories of Maintenance and Repair Workshop. Université du Luxembourg, C2DH Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History, https://repair.uni.lu/blog/spaces-of-design-repair-in-twentieth-century-argentine-factories/
- Yovanna Pineda (2020). Ways of Seeing Maintenance and Repair, Argentina. Technology Stories, vol. 8, no. 2 (September). http://www.technologystories.org/ways-of-seeing-maintenance-and-repair-argentina/
- Yovanna Pineda (2020). International and Local Collaboration in the Social Design of the Harvester in Argentina during the Long Twentieth Century (1900-2010). Historia Agraria de América Latina (HAAL, ISSN 2452-5162), 1:1, 70-93.
- Yovanna Pineda (2021). Law to Protect Free Speech Actually Endangers it, Orlando Sentinel, OpEd, 23 July: https://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/guest-commentary/os-op-regulating-free-speech-schools-hb233-20210723-jyo2eg5kgndhxhdha27jwto7ya-story.html