Santiago Echeverry

House of Tupamaras, 01, 02 & 03


The House of Tupamaras is a group of Voguing performers based in Bogota, Colombia. They are professionally trained dancers that chose to break from the norm and explore the queerness of their bodies and their everyday self-expressions to turn their art form into a political tool, questioning the double standards of Colombian society. They create impromptu happenings, choreographed dances, kiki balls and have performed on stage with groups such as Pussy Riot, among others. Bogue stands for "Bogota Voguing" and seeks to capture the Tupamaras's attitude, athletic musculature, and spunky personalities. Seeing Voguing as a dance duel, the original music mixes the sounds of two very famous scenes of hispanic soap operas, that portray violent - but absurd - female fights. The volumetric capture process isolates the dancers and creates a baroque like light and atmosphere. Created with the Kinect volumetric sensor, Processing 3.0, After Effects and Premiere

D-Art  Interview:

1.  What inspired you to create this artwork?
Back in 1989 I started working with Gay and Lesbian visibility in Bogotá, Colombia, when homosexuality was still punishable by law in the country. We fought hard to open doors and create bridges, we received death threats for being too visible, and explored alternatives to help my community stay alive in the middle of the AIDS crisis. 30 years later, I run into the House of Tupamaras, a group of young dancers and artists that use Voguing as a self expression and political tool. 30 years later, I can see these talented and energetic dancers living a life that was just a dream for us when we were in college. It gives me a lot of hope to see that we were able to open the closet doors for many, even though it took almost two generations to happen.

2.  Where do most of your creative inspiration come from?

I believe in true self-expression. I cannot separate myself from the work of art, and my works cannot be separated from my referential context, whether it be political, social, economic, or emotional. I resonate with events and people that I encounter and I try to find common elements to connect with them, finding a background of relatedness. It's these encounters that have transformed my life, allowing me to grow as an individual and as an artist.


3.  How do you choose new ideas derived from the creative process? 

Reality. Reality hits you hard in the face and when it does you have three options: run away, hide, or grab the bull by the horns. In most of the cases, I manage to transform adverse circumstances into a creative energy. For example, the political crisis in the USA, gave me the motivation to create The Cabaret, a series of volumetric prints and videos that capture the lives of those of use who are resisting adversity, homophobia and violence, by living our lives in the open. Once the engine starts running, I let myself guide by the aesthetics of what I witness, and I let my eyes dream through the use of technology. By using volumetry, code and math to capture my models and create my pieces, I intend to find an algorithm that defines us as humans.


4.  Could you please talk about how you felt about the importance of your research applied to your art when you were creating?

My research IS my creation, there is no difference. That is the beauty of being able to create freely, without the need to publish a paper, or present a thesis to graduate from a post-graduate program. As an academician, my research focuses on creative coding, and the visual/experimental applications of traditional coding techniques, which has opened a lot of doors to experiment in my art, not only in the visuals, but also in the audio composition and production. But being a full time professor, allows me to have two tracks in my life, the crazy, creative side, and the more demure, logical and efficient aspect. 


5.  As an artist, what do you most want to tell the viewers?

It is clear that I want to tell the stories of those who have their voices silenced through homophobia, racism, and radicalism. After the PULSE massacre in Orlando, FL - where on Friday June 12th, 2016, one gunman killed 49 people, and injured 53 more in a Gay club - I realized that if I do not tell the stories of the members of my LGBTQ+ community, who will? If we do not tell the stories from our own perspectives, our own aesthetics, we allow outsiders to tell our stories from their viewpoints. We must explore new technologies and methods to preserve our legacy in the world.