Hot Links 10: Maria Ines Rodriguez
This months hot link interviewee is Maria Ines Rodriquez. Maria founded Tropical Papers in 2005, which has been recently reactivated as a web-based project dedicated to contemporary creation within the Caribbean region. Parallel to her work on Tropical Papers, Maria is a renowned curator who has worked in numerous museums over the past years.
– Tell us about yourself.
I am a curator and I work in museums for many years. I believe in the idea that a museum is a space for knowledge and exchange through exhibitions, cultural and educational programs. I had the pleasure of working with incredible artists and curators and developing with the teams a program that deals with the links between artistic production and historical, political and social contexts, fostering a dialogue about the local and the global.Parallel to my curatorial work, I have organized conferences and public exhibitions on the issues of publishing and architecture.
In 2005 I founded the Tropical Papers editions, which now exists as an active website dedicated to contemporary creation in the tropical region with a residency program for artists, scientists or architects … , a tv channel that works as a space for public programs and a special special space dedicated to hosting Instagram accounts that generate content that interests us.
– What is your connection to the Caribbean Art Initiative?
It is a matter of affinities, shared interests and an enormous desire to work together generating spaces for creation and experimentation with artists and colleagues from the Caribbean and other latitudes.
– What does “cultural exchange” mean to you?
Cultural exchange is the possibility of sharing different ideas, knowledge and ways of doing something with others in your immediate environment or in a completely different context than yours. In these days of collective confinement, we have tried thousands of possibilities to share our knowledge with others. We have seen recipes pass, we learn new skills, concerts for multiple voices and instruments in various places through Instagram or zoom. We have also seen how small and large solidarity networks have been created between people who did not know each other before or who probably would not meet in a different situation than this.
– What is a unique perspective or element about the Caribbean that you would like the global community to know better?
As we are talking about solidarity networks, the great mobilization of the artistic community after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. It was a devastating moment for the entire population, which continues to fight for reconstruction and will be hit hard by this pandemic, like many other places on the planet.
– And finally, please describe something you find “hot” (e.g. this can be a particular food, a place, a thing, and idea…)
The project that the artist Ivan Argote is preparing on East Island. This island in the United States has a very complex colonization history and is now slowly becoming eaten by the Pacific Ocean, due to climate change. The film he isl producing will focus on cultural resistance in this region and on how culture could perhaps bring us another socio-political perspective.