Juan Pablo García Sossa

Rapid Response Fellow 2020 - 2020

Artist Bio

Juan Pablo García Sossa, JPGS, is a Designer, Researcher and Artist fascinated by the clash between emerging technologies and popular culture in tropical areas. JPGS explores the development of cultures, visions and realities through the remix and reappropriation of technologies in the tropics. I research and develop future and alternate realities with real and semi fictional organizations in a wide range of media such as graphics, interfaces, web, installation, and other visual experiments. I explore ways of sensibilization through narrative experiences of interaction — and envision tropical futures. JPGS was part of the Digital Class from Joachim Sauter and Class Ai Weiwei at The University of the Arts UdK Berlin. JPGS has previously worked at research institutions such as Design Research Lab and Design Studios such as FELD | Studio for Digital Crafts. JPGS has developed diverse curatorial projects as The Glass Room Bogotá, an exhibition on Data and Privacy initiated by Tactical Tech – displayed for the first time outside the Global North in this edition. In 2019 JPGS developed the exhibition Future Heritage —> The New Normal from Instituto Habanero at the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá, where artists, artisans, designers, and researchers gathered together to envision multiple futures and realities for Post-Agreement Colombia from an everyday life perspective. I’m currently part of SAVVY Contemporary The Laboratory of Form-Ideas’ Design Department as a Design Research Member. I co-direct Estación Terrena, a space for Technology, Arts and Research right at the electronic components street in Bogotá.

What do you plan to do during Phase 1 of Rapid Response?

Futura Trōpica is a thought experiment and research project which explores new modes of distribution and diversification of the network from a *Tropikós perspective. *Tropikós—> greek root of tropics – it means ‘to turn’ Embracing the concept of interdependence, Futura Trōpica takes the form of a decentralized network for lateral exchange among territories of the tropical belt, such as Bogotá, Kinshasa, and Bengaluru. It operates through an on-line and off-line platform for sharing local resources. This network is composed of Nodes that combine low cost DIY local networks and analogue networks of distribution. Digital content spreads with USB sticks, similarly as el “Paquete Semanal” in Cuba or USB Networks in Colombia. Within these networks you could access digital content without needing connection nor computers because you can connect the sticks to TVs or Sound Systems and it will play the content automatically.

How does your work relate to the theme of the open call?

The fields of hegemonic Knowledge, Design and Technology have not been sufficiently influenced from perspectives coming from the Global South and or Tropical Areas, this exchange is still pending. By diversifying the networks of power in terms of technology and imaginaries, within these three fields that shape our worlds, we will be able to avoid biased perspectives and more importantly, it will also bring us closer to pluriversal understandings of the planet. This redistribution of power might help us relate within each other in more horizontal and lateral ways and less vertical and exploitative ways. A better digital future is “a world where many worlds fit”.

What does the future look like to you?

I envision Tropical Futures – The Tropikós as a mindset taking the greek root of tropics, meaning ‘to turn’. A future where a bending Tropical Resilience is understood not necessarily as resistance but rather elasticity and flexibility. It doesn’t break like the rigid glass – it dances it’s way to the conditions of the environment and turns conditions around developing symbiotic relationships. The Climate Emergency and Post COVID-19 Realities demand an unprecedented collective planetary effort and collective conversation exploring new modes of coexistence between all forms of life. Futures aren’t what is going to come but what we collectively shape. This planetary conversation must include perspectives from regions that have been often overlooked and overexoticized. The Tropics are a key player towards pluriversal understandings of the planet.

What is your grounding ethos?

I strongly believe in Diversity, Horizontal Relationships and Lateral Exchange. I am interested in weaving symbiotic relationships based on the Quechuan principle of Sumak Kawsay: an interdependence between all living and non living beings in the planet – collective dreaming combining natural and artificial intelligences. I believe that as designers, technologists, and cultural producers, we have a key role and responsibility in the envisioning and development of alternate realities that coexist in multiple spaces and times: not only focused on what’s lacking but specially what we could be – how we turn it around. I believe in the encounter of bottom-up and top-down practices: The grassroot altering the concrete. I believe in Open Cultures, Remix and Tropical Hacking —> Latin American Rebusque, Brazilian Gambiarra and Indian Jugaad. I listen before I talk.