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Centro Espacial Satelital  © Elkin Calderón and Diego Piñeros García

Critical Moves: Latin American Visual Narratives
presents Elkin Calderón

Saturday, November 7th 2015 at 7.30 pm (sharp)

Critical Moves: Latin American Visual Narratives presents fictions on Latin America created by artists of Latin American origin, whose work has been developed outside the Latin American subcontinent. Its aim is to offer an introduction on some topics related to Latin America’s sociopolitical concerns and how artists have been addressing these through their practice. The idea behind it is to portray  fictions that have been created around Latin America, put into question these real or fake assumptions, and discuss them with the audience.

This ongoing project, curated by Katerina Valdivia Bruch, starts as a series of video screenings in different venues in Berlin. With these events, we want to open a platform to present video art from Latin America and offer other presentation formats, besides galleries and museums. It is planned to do these encounters on a regular basis and in different locations throughout the city. Each time we will do a presentation that will end with a final discussion with the artists.

The first session will take place at IL KINO. It will be dedicated to the work of Elkin Calderón.


Centro Espacial Satelital de Colombia (2015), 12:04 min.
Created in collaboration with Diego Piñeros García – German Premiere

The Centro de Comunicaciones Espaciales de Colombia (Centre for Spatial Communications of Colombia) was inaugurated on March 25th 1970, less than a year after the arrival of the man on the Moon. It was located at the municipality of Chocontá in Cundinamarca, amidst the rural landscape of the region. The centre was responsible for microwave radio and television transmissions. Commonly known as “Ciudad Satélite de Colombia” (Satelital City of Colombia), the centre hosted a number of tours and public visits during almost two decades. Today, 45 years later, the building has been abandoned and left to its decay.

In the video, the Children’s Symphonic Orchestra of Chocontá – comprised by young musicians  between seven and fifteen years of age, who have never been able to visit the centre during its period of glory – has been invited by the artist to play the piece Arullo (Lullaby) by Colombian  composer Victoriano Valencia in this nowadays historical building. With this song, the orchestra literally “brings  the antennes to sleep”, so Calderón, to give an end to this particular period of time. Centro Espacial Satelital pays an homage to these monumental architectonic structures, but also to a bygone era in the history of technology. It evokes a glorious past, depicts an agonic present and leaves it open to an uncertain future.

Dodgy (2012), 23:12 min.

Dodgy is a word that in British English has different meanings: suspicious, badly made, something that does not work properly or is badly presented. Dodgy is a dodgy film. It is a political tragicomedy based on real experiences of the artist as an immigrant worker in London.

Synopsis by Angela María Rodríguez Rojas:

“Give me liberty or give me death” is the motto of the Sandwich Man, who represents all those who appear in Calderón’s video. Dodgy relates the experiences of a migrant in London from his own perspective. The journey to Bocas de Ceniza is the end of a migrant’s tale, which began with the wish to emigrate to London in order to learn English and escape from the lethargy of his homeland. Once in London, the artist gets in touch with British culture, while living with two different host families. Later, through the encounter with other migrants, he starts to share similar experiences. With humorous illustrations, the viewer is confronted with the everyday hardships that involve living in a foreign country. Following a failed attempt to earn some money as a sandwich man, the artist finds a job delivering sandwiches. At the same time, he creates  a music band as one of his futile attempts to increase his income. At one point, he ponders the meaning of the British word “dodgy”. Here, the artist lets the narrative and reflective threads meet. The amateurish quality of the images emphasises the blurred boundary between reality and fiction. What the word “dodgy” means is conveyed by the atmosphere of this tale, which leaves open the question about which one of the two predominates, the documentary or the fiction.

About the artist:

Elkin Calderón was born in Bogotá, Colombia. He completed his studies in Fine Arts in 2003, with a focus on media arts. In 2007 he finished a M.A. in Creative Documentary at the Universidad Autònoma de Barcelona. His work has been exhibited internationally, among others at the Stenersenmuseet in Oslo (2013), the AC Institute in New York (2011), and in Germany at nGbK Berlin (2007) and the international video art festival Videonale 14 at Kunstmuseum Bonn (2012). Back in Colombia, besides working as an artist, he has been working as a lecturer for several universities, including Universidad de los Andes, Universidad Javeriana and Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano. Calderón lives and works in Bogotá and Berlin.

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