The Techno-Tamaladas is a project created by artist Praba Pilar and coproduced with Pro Arts Gallery & COMMONS. Praba Pilar generated this project at a residency at Grace Performance Space in upstate New York in May 2018. Generous support for this project has been awarded by the City of Emeryville Community Grants Program, the Local Impact Award of the California Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Techno-Tamaladas draw on thousands of years of knowledge and practice cultivating corn/maize across the Americas to sustain life. We invite community members, tinkerers, artists, activists, scientists, eco folks, immigrants, refugees, students, homeless folks, tech workers, city council members, residents and all to sit together, and make and share tamales. We will transfer knowledge about technologies of survival and resurgence of Indigenous, Latinx and African-American communities to instill a more creative technological imaginary. While the broad impacts of technologies of surveillance, social media, racial profiling, militarized policing and effects of displacement and dislocation on low-income communities of color have been devastating, we reorient ideas and practices around technology.
The Techno-Tamaladas transfer knowledge about technologies of survival and resurgence of Indigenous, Latinx and African-American communities to instill a more creative technological imaginary. While the broad impacts of technologies of surveillance, social media, racial profiling, militarized policing and effects of displacement and dislocation on low income communities of color in the Bay Area have been devastating, we reorient ideas and practices around technology.
The Tamaladas focus on MesoAmerican tamales from Mexico; on the Hot Tamales of African American communities of the Mississippi Delta; and on plantain tamales from the Andes in Colombia.
About Praba Pilar
Praba Pilar is a diasporic Colombian artist disrupting the overwhelmingly passive participation in the contemporary ‘cult of the techno-logic.’ Over the last two decades Pilar has presented cultural productions integrating performance art, street theatre, invisible theatre, electronic installations, radio programming, digital works, video, websites and writing. These projects have traveled widely to museums, galleries, universities, performance festivals, conferences, public streets, political meetings, bookstores, bars, and radio airwaves around the world.
Shaped by resistance to the colonial project throughout the Americas, Pilar focuses her solo practice on projects challenging complex state/corporate systems of control, domination and death. She is now in the midst of the Techno-Tamaladas, a multi-disciplinary project of food, generosity, conviviality and dialogue on technologies of life of the Americas. She is co-Director of the Hindsight Institute, is embarked on an all-encompassing post-human/microbiomial multi-species journey with Anuj Vaidya titled Larval Rock Stars; works with Ignacio Valero on a digital humanities initiative, and collaborates extensively on one time events. Some of the artists and scholars she has worked with include Erika Hannes, John Jota Leanos, Rene Garcia, La Pocha Nostra, Alex Wilson, Larry Bogad, Adam Zaretsky, Joe Dumit, Peter Kulchisky, Freya Olafson, Mia S. van Leeuwen, Theo Pelmus, Luna, Lyndsay Ladobruk, Martin Franco and various photographers and videographers who have helped document her work. She is immeasurably helped by Janet Sarson on numerous aspects of her practices.
Pilar is the recipient of numerous awards, which in 2019 include the City of Emeryville Community Grants Program, the Local Impact Award of the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Past awards include a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Digital Humanities and New Media with the Hub for Innovative Exchange at the University of Winnipeg, the UC Davis Presidential Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, the Puffin Foundation Award, the Creative Capital Award, the Creative Work Fund Award, the Potrero Nuevo Fund Award and two nominations for a Rockefeller Award. Her most recent writing has been featured in Performance, Religion and Spirituality; ROAR; Feminist & Scholar Online; Lateral Journal of the Cultural Studies Association, Women’s Eco Artists Dialogue; Dance Current, KATALOG, localflux, and h+Magazine. She has co-written and solo authored book chapters dating back to 2001. Her work has been written about in journals and books, and she was featured in a book on inspirational women by Cathleen Rountree, On Women Turning Thirty: Making Choices, Finding Meaning (2000).
Pilar has a PhD in Performance Studies, with designated emphases in Studies in Performance Practice as Research and in Feminist Theory and Research from the University of California, Davis; a Bachelor of Arts in Intermedia Arts from Mills College; studied Max/MSP/Jitter with Bob Ostertag at UC Davis; took workshops in RFID tag creation (Zapped!) with Beatriz de Costa, Jamie Schulte and Brooke Singer; basic robots creation with Elise Baldwin; and workshops at Video Pool in Winnipeg in electronic circuitry, Arduino and PureData programming with artists Ken Gregory and Andy Rudolph, DIY technology design with artist Andrew Milne and Wet Lab biotech practices with Niki Sperou. In a much earlier chapter of life, she studied economics, political science and development at NYU for three years.
This project is made possible in part with funds by: