Cynthia Lawson Jaramillo is a Brooklyn-based Colombian artist, technologist and educator. Her artwork, centered around themes of time and transience, has been internationally exhibited and performed, including at The Kitchen, Giacobetti Paul Gallery, Exit Art and HERE Arts (NYC), UCLA Hammer Museum (LA), Point Éphémère (Paris) and the Museums of Modern Art in Bogotá and Medellín (Colombia). She self-published “Of and In Cities,” an academically framed art book about five of her photographic projects, and three books about “Cross Urban,” an ongoing collaboration, since 2008, with artist Klaus Fruchtnis. In the late 90s, she helped start the media arts curriculum at Universidad de los Andes, and has presented in this area at ISEA, FILE Symposium, and Cumulus. In 2012-13 she served on the advisory board of ISEA’s Latin American Forum.
Lawson Jaramillo has taught university courses and workshops, since 1997, in Colombia, Dominican Republic, France, Guatemala, Mexico, Japan, and the United States, and since 2003 has worked full-time at The New School in New York City, where she is currently Associate Professor of Integrated Design at Parsons The New School for Design and Associate Provost for Distributed and Global Education. Her published research is in the area of community-engaged design education, which started with a series of summer courses at the Altos de Chavón School of Design, in Dominican Republic. Since 2007 she has been an active participant in, and now coordinates, the university-wide project DEED: Development Through Empowerment, Entrepreneurship, and Design, which has connected over 50 New School students with artisans in Latin America to support craft-based, income-generating opportunities. Her work with DEED has been featured in the NY Daily News and the TV show LatiNation. She has written many papers on this topic including an article in the peer-reviewed top-tier journal Visible Language. Lawson Jaramillo is frequently invited to speak about her art practice and higher education, such as her TEDx talk “Universities without Classrooms” delivered at Furman University in 2013. In September 2011 she helped found Occupy University. This led to her participating in Michael Mandiberg‘s Experiments in Extra-Institutional Education, which then evolved into a yearlong seminar and an unconference in spring 2014.
Prior to The New School, Lawson Jaramillo was an educational technologist for the research project Ludomática (Bogotá) and then at Columbia University’s Center for New Media Teaching and Learning. As a consultant she has worked with international organizations such as CARE and the World Bank. Recent projects have investigated how design education methodologies can help organizations improve their own internal training programs.
Lawson Jaramillo was born in Guatemala and lived in Iran, United States, Colombia, Argentina, and France. She was raised bilingual (Spanish and English) and is fluent in French. She has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá) and a Masters in Interactive Telecommunications (ITP) from New York University. She lives in possibly the smallest neighborhood in Brooklyn, Greenwood Heights, and in 2013 was honored with a Fulbright Scholarship for the inaugural Higher Education Administrator’s Program in France.
I can be reached via email [cynthia] at [cynthialawson] dot com or by leaving a comment on any post or page on this site. Feel free to also follow me on Twitter: @cynthialawson, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and Vimeo. (ah, social media!)
The focus of my work is the exploration of time and the everyday, with work ranging from textual interactive pieces to sculpture with embedded electronics to digital photography. I capture and re-present fleeting moments, both in digital/virtual interactions as well as in physical space.
My practice intends to slow viewers’ sense of time by protagonizing the everyday as defined by transient space and make them aware of their own quotidianity. It is my hope that the viewer will reflect on their own existence, and become hyper aware of the small moments from which we now quickly disconnect: the stranger passing by carrying groceries, the voicemail awaiting to be heard, commuters rushing to catch the train.
My image-based works exist in the moment between still and moving image. I use photography as a time-based medium, pushing each image far from the expected notions of the “still” and “paused”.
Layering is a principal strategy via which I address temporal moments within each print. In Hidden Choreographies (Pompidou from Above, 2008, and most recently, The Shops 96 Seconds, 2010) I address the concepts of time and space in a single location. In multiple photographs, the repeated (and extracted) presence of figures in each frame demonstrate that these apparently different moments actually happened in the same place and at the same time. The chaos and complexity that one would not necessarily witness when viewing at transient public space, in which nothing seemingly happens, emerges through in the relationship between the images. Although shot in half-second intervals, viewers perceive the resulting piece through the expansion of time in transient public space.
In the case of Nooks and Beaubourg, 36 Seconds, the work is presented in light boxes in which photographs on transparency and duratrans are physically layered. For Beaubourg, 36 Seconds an additional layer of video is inserted into the piece. Various temporal moments are superimposed to create “still” works in constant motion – moving from one layer to the next as a space over time is described.
Since 1999, I have been recording my voicemails, and have started to share these recordings through seven annotated videos in which I contextualize the sound of the message with text captions. Voicemail Diaries is an ongoing repository of each voicemail I’ve stored – a database that gives permanence to my everyday’s fleeting moments. It is my hope that reflecting on the transience of my private space, via these voicemails, will encourage viewers to slow down and appreciate the seemingly banal in their own lives.