Katerine Vasquez, Guatemala Después

Putting together an exhibition design is something new for me. I will have to admit that it has been a roller-coaster. Interacting with artists in different country, completing last minutes assignments and following last minutes decisions in time were challenging task. However, every single student in our class was strong enough to overcome those obstacles and continued on with what now we call “Guatemala Despues, Exhibit Design”.

Throughout the course my interest has always been the Guatemalan community. My interest is/was to engage the Guatemalan community directly and hear their perspectives as part of the exhibit project. I thought we would have Guatemalan students at The New School speak about their past experiences. I also thought of extending an invitation to our Exhibit Design to Guatemalan natives in NYC, followed by interviewing them and hearing their intake on what we have done.

Even though we were asked not to pick an artwork that we worked on, I found very interesting the voiceover of the artist in Guatemala. While doing the translation I was able to feel a connection with them. Yet, I feel that this audio would have a greater impact on its audience if the public were able to see the facial expression of each of the artist. The artist tone of voice convey emotion and the words coming out of their mouth transports you to the time and location of the event. As filmed documentary student, I believe that the best way to understand one culture is by visualizing it yourself.

As Brenda stated, in her article “Getting to great ideas: Brenda’s fab five activities for fearless exhibit designers”, See the Story around you”. She gives the sample of a Bodega (Convenience store). She sees these small groceries stores “as if it were a person sharing a story about its neighborhood, incorporate objects, juxtaposition. Content and a deep awareness of visitor experience”, I believe this was accomplished with the Guatemalan dishes such as the atol and tacos. However, the emotional aspect of the exhibit was missing.

Overall with food, videos and quilts the exhibition design was able to illustrate how Guatemalan communities share the same story, culture or experience. Yet, I feel that the gallery leaves too many unanswered questions. The whole purpose of an Exhibition design is to provoke and emotional impact and educated its audience. I believe this could have been accomplished even more if more people from the Guatemalan community were involved in the project. Perhaps, if there were more images on the wall, or if the posters were bigger and all the videos had sound (voice).


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