Villa Futuro is an artistic research and an ongoing Ph.D. project by media artist Gonzalo H. Rodríguez at the Konrad Wolf Film University of Babelsberg. It is inspired by the autonomous, communal urban cosmos and high level of social mobilization of the inhabitants of marginal cities in Villa El Salvador (Peru), Ocupaçao Izidora (Brazil), and Kowloon Walled City (Hong Kong) among others.
The project deals with digital media, contemporary narrative practices, and marginalized urban collectivities in precarious living conditions. Emphasizing the epistemological potential of artistic research, the project investigates narrative mechanisms in digital media. It critically unfolds the artistic process and methodology theoretically by relating them to philosophical concepts such as the rhizome, figures of possibilities, and forms of speculative narrative. In addition, the project engages with an artistic tradition in Latin America that approaches marginalized spaces of living as cartographies of disruption that challenge received narratives and concepts of territoriality. In this sense, the project takes an interdisciplinary and intertextual methodological approach interweaving scholarly analysis and artistic practice. The aim is to give shape to a fictive urban space called “Villa Futuro”, which addresses assemblies of the marginalized in their social, cultural, and technological aspects through transmedia storytelling, while at the same time, reflecting on the critical possibilities of digital media for the artistic research.
On this website, the transmedia story of Villa Futuro is formulated as a form of narrative cartography. With the use of digital media, the story is creating the narrative map of a fictive “periphery” where we shift to a threshold position of affection, reflection, and proposition. To this end, the storytelling is developing four media assemblages that are narratively interwoven: a web-based participative platform (Nomad Settlers -in development from 2022 to 2025), a mixed-media installation (Liminal City -planned for 2023), a series of audiovisual lecture-performances (Amadea -planned for 2023-2024), and a VR essay film (News From (Now)here planned for 2024-2025).
By handling digital media not just as cutting-edge technologies but as narrative networks that provoke critical connections, Villa Futuro is claiming a mechanism of recontextualization in the sphere of appearance for the technological means and marginalized urban spaces. By fictionalizing reality through the development of a story that affirms the capacity of any person to reconsider different realities as connected, rather than divided, Villa Futuro is asking about the extent to which digital media can offer narrative and non-site-specific frameworks for the artistic research to imagine how to live together. And by doing so, we propose marginal spaces as liminal spaces of disruption, re-connections, and possible collectivities.
So then, by visiting this website you are accessing a narrative platform. It is structured in a participation-based storytelling development, which means that you can contribute creating the story of the slum Villa Futuro.
If you want to know more about the artistic research or be part of the creation of this story take a look at the media assemblages.