Guest Post By Brian Cockman (@BCockman)
Last week, we described Colombian artist Edwin Gil’s Quilting Differences project and its goal of connecting culture throughout the world and across Colombia. Social media is at the fore of this particular project and is exemplified through Gil’s use of these online tools. That is, Gil interviewed participants via Skype and recorded the interviews on his iPhone (which coincidentally, he also used to edit and upload them to YouTube). Another great use of the Apple iPhone! Once uploaded to YouTube, Gil promoted via his social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, and ensured that information about the project was on his website. Gil also utilized the project’s sponsor connections of LATISM and Por Colombia to help spread the word about this social art initiative.
In a study conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Audience 2.0: How technology influences arts participation, the relationship between the arts and electronic media is examined, as well as who participates in the arts via electronic media. Interestingly enough, it found that people who participate in the arts through electronic media are nearly three times as likely to attend live arts events as non-media participants. Thus, the power of electronic media (social media) cannot be discounted as a driver of arts awareness. In the same way, Gil’s Quilting Differences and its combination of aesthetics (an actual art piece) and technology (social media) demonstrates how we can all be active participants in our communities regardless of location.
Edwin Gil’s Quilting Differences social art project connects cultures, demonstrating how social media can build social capital. However, one of the most important aspects of being a visual artist is color. It’s no surprise then that Gil’s use of color in Quilting Differences is front and center in his interview questions to project participants. In an interview with Gil, I learned that colors carry a cultural connotation. When asked what colors represented Colombia many people picked red because of its relation to passion. This passion and fortitude, according to Gil, are hallmarks of Colombian people and Latinos as a whole. In developing his “quilt” or individual art pieces used to make one giant quilt, Gil had participants view all the video interviews and select their three favorites. Once this was completed, Gil used this as his color pallet to paint each quilt piece. In doing so, he demonstrates how Quilting Differences promote unity among the people of Colombia, while also giving us an inside look at how people’s childhood memories can make a lasting impression on how they view the world. Through the use of color, art and social media, Gil asserts that we can build social capital, bridge cultural gaps and empower communities.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Brian is the Director of the LATISM Charlotte Chapter, the President of Rooster Communications. His passion for the Latino culture drove him to create
@Gringos4Latinos, a communications platform for Gringos to share news, events, images and videos in support of the Latino community. You can find out more about Gringos4Latinos on Facebook, and more about Brian’s company at http://www.RoosterComm.biz.