Artist Ernesto Oroza graduated from Havana’s Superior Design Institute in the mid-1990s during Cuba’s darkest economic crisis since the Revolution, what Fidel Castro called “The Special Period in the Time of Peace”. The Special Period began as the Soviet Union collapsed and withdrew support from Cuba, and resulted in severe energy shortages, malnutrition and a complete cultural overhaul. Armed with ideas about the way he and other Cubans were devising solutions to everyday scarcity, and unable to find work, Ernesto forged his creative thesis. With great acumen he began exploring peoples’ inventiveness through the objects and machines they crafted, not solely in response to basic needs, but eventually, perhaps, to transcend the poverty of circumstances. In this documentary, Ernesto reveals his investigation of these eclectic machines and artifacts, many of which vividly illustrate what he has coined the “technological disobedience” of their creators. A discussion of these objects, still in common use, reflects Cuba’s unique culture and its challenges.
Stream the full version online at Motherboard TV.