by Alex Rivera
Why Cybraceros? takes the form of a mock promotional film. It is based on a real promotional film produced in the late 1940's by the California Grower's Council, titled Why Braceros? This film was used by the Grower's Council to defend the use of braceros, or temporary Mexican farmhands. I use footage from this old industrial to briefly lay out the history of the Bracero Program in the United States. At the half way point the piece takes a sharp turn as the narrator advocates a futuristic Bracero Program in which only the labor is imported to the United States. The workers themselves are left at home in Mexico, as they Tele-commute to American farms over the high-speed Internet. The narrator explains that in this imagined future there is no difference between rich and poor on the Internet, this is a future in which truly everyone can work from home, even braceros.
Biography: Alex Rivera is a New York based digital media artist and filmmaker. Through the past five years he's made work in digital video and on the internet that addresses concerns of the Latino community through a language of humor, satire, and metaphor. His work has been screened at The Museum of Modern Art, The Guggenheim Museum, Lincoln Center, on PBS, as well as at film festivals, universities, libraries, union halls, and community centers. Rivera has received support from various foundations including The Rockefeller Foundation, The Sundance Institute, Creative Capital, The Jerome Foundation, The New York Foundation for the Arts and The US/Mexico Fund for Culture. Lalo Lopez is an internationally published editorial cartoonist who has been drawing the self-syndicated comic panel la cucaracha since 1992. The comic panel and Lopez's political satire column appears in the LA Weekly. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Village Voice, La Jornada (Mexico City) and Bunte (Germany). He is co-founder and co-producer (with Esteban Zul) of Pocho Productions. Lopez recently finished illustrating Latino USA: A Cartoon History by Iian Stavans. He co-edits the satirical magazine Pocho, and his animation collaborative, Animaquiladora, has created award-wining computer animation that has screened around the United States, including at Lincoln Center (New York) and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), and in Japan.