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Internet is tricky in Cuba. This is pretty much an understatement, but the “why’s” require a much more expansive conversation to wrap our heads around the stakes.

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(Photo credit: Juan Cruz Rodriguez for Resolviendo Exhibit, Annenberg)

I will be visiting LA & San Francisco this month to discuss one of the most fascinating subcultures on the island today – the Tech sector. It’s been a long road for all things New Cuba regarding our gatherings to contemplate contemporary Cuban culture. Three years back, we gathered in the ballroom of The Standard Hotel in 2015 to talk about various creative industries — including music, art, and architecture. This year, it’s all about the Web, which of course affects the fate of all these creative and business endeavors.

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(Photo credit: Juan Cruz Rodriguez for Resolviendo Exhibit, Annenberg)

What appears as a fully disconnected country is truly the opposite. Like most things in Cuba, the people have found a way to “inventar”, creating digital solutions, thus turning your average grandma into a hacker, learning to circumnavigate Wifi hotspots in the most unusual ways.

This Feb, two conversations will take place on the US West Coast, focusing on Cuba’s internet and its state of connectivity. RSVP confirmations are required for both.

(1) Annenberg, Feb 10th, Los Angeles

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(Jauretsi, Curator/ Digital Strategist. Photo credit: Michael Kovac/Getty Images N. America)

An extension of the Resolviendo Exhibit (which launched in Sept 2017), the Annenberg invited The New Cuba to co-host a special panel in Los Angeles on February 10, 2018 entitled Cuba: Sin Limites that gathers experts on the state of Internet in Cuba.

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(Photo credit: Juan Cruz Rodriguez for Resolviendo Exhibit, Annenberg)

The listing reads:

Moderated by Cuban-American curator and digital strategist Jauretsi, speakers will include Dadne Carbonell (Cuban computer systems analyst), “Dany Paquete” (a kingpin of El Paquete Semenal, an underground weekly distribution of pirated international content via hard drives), and Susanna Kohly (Marketing Lead, Google Cuba).

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(Dany of El Paqeute in his home in Havana. Photo credit: Jauretsi)

Please visit the Annenberg Wifi Cuba Panel page to confirm your attendance or read more on the event. You can learn more about Dany by viewing the documentary Give Me Future, currently downloadable on iTunes (trailer here).

For a proper headstart, you can also now visit the art exhibit at the Annenberg gallery entitled Cuba Is, which contains a section called Resolviendo, an exhibit that The New Cuba helped curate with Commonwealth Projects. You’ll see photographs of Wifi Parks, a spectrum of videos from Cuba’s famous El Paqeute, and some DIY magazine culture Imagine the streets of Cuba’s content networks transported into an exhibit hall in Los Angeles.

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(Jauretsi at “Cuba Is” Launch. Photo Credit: Michael Kovac/Getty Images N.America)

The original launch event took place early September 2017, with a big bash where I was lucky enough to helm the DJ booth with Matthieu Schreyer, host of the excellent KCRW show on Global beats. It was a bonafide Cuba love-fest in the heart of Los Angeles, complete with a “who’s who” of Cuban arts, film, photographers, curators, gallerists, and fans alike. The full exhibit will be up til March 4, 2018, so don’t forget to book out an afternoon to soak in all the beautiful photography before the panel.

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(“Cuba Is” Exhibit. Photo Credit: Leysis Quesada Vera)

THE PHOTO EXHIBIT:
“Cuba Is” Exhibit
Currently on Display through March 4, 2018
The Annenberg, 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles CA 90067
General Gallery Hours: Wed-Sun 11am to 6pm. Mon-Tues is closed

THE INTERNET PANEL:
“Cuba Sin Limites” Panel
Annenberg Space for Photography’s Skylight Studios
Feb 10, 2018
7:00-9:00pm
10050 Constellation Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90067

(2) Media Noche, Feb 11th, San Francisco

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(Media Noche Cafe, San Francisco)

The next evening, Feb 11th, the topic continues nearby in San Francisco at the charming restaurant named Media Noche. This is a more casual gathering in a cafe setting hosted by a a group called Bay Area Cubans, lead by Project Binario’s Eddy Perez who we recently covered in our visit to Techcrunch.

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(Photo credit: Juan Cruz Rodriguez for Resolviendo Exhibit, Annenberg)

We expect our Cuban-American community to come out and celebrate our culture, gather for constructive conversation, and build awareness of future generations. Hermanos unidos. Like most Cuban-Americans, the topic of Cuba is passionate and immersive. Our belief is that it’s imperative for both our cultures, on and off the island, to grow a better understanding of each other for a brighter future. Building bridges, not walls. We invite any curious non-Cubans who would love to be part of the conversation.

Feb 11, 2018
7:30pm
Media Noche
3465 19th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
To confirm your attendance, please click on the EventBrite page listing. Enter code “givemefuture” for 30% discount

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I’ve always been struck by the barren offerings in neighborhoods where Cubans shop. The products, surreal. Brooklyn based photographer (Germany born) Alexa Hoyer walked the boulevards, spending 2 years capturing images recently published in Vice.

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The photo essay is moody, poetic, and a humble documentation of all the products that Cubans DO NOT have. The shops seem almost the ghost of what originally was a serious global shopping destination before the Revolution, riddled with consumerism and opulent displays of Luxury.

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As evident in the images, today, there are not nearly enough products to fill the enormous displays. Window dressers are now employed by the Government through the State Ad Bureau, but you can see the care and considered strategy, arranging minimal items in geometric or colorful narratives. To view more images, visit Alexa Hoyer.

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During broadcast hours, all TVs in Cuba are on, no matter if they are being watch or just serving as background noise. Simone Lueck is a Los Angeles based photographer originally from St. Paul, Minnesota who visited Cuba and captured TV culture, for better or worse. The photo essay is a hardcover 80 page book.

The actual television sets are outdated relics imported from America or Russia close to twenty years ago. Convulsing static pictures in off-color hues, the sets are jury-rigged with computer parts and other discarded technological talismans; they are adorned like religious altars.

In her words:

It happened by chance. In 2000, I tagged along with a good friend on a two-week trip to Cuba. I took my 35mm camera and a bunch of film. The first thing I noticed in Havana was that the city was dark at night. There were no streetlights, porch lights or living-room lamps. It was pitch black except for the faint colorful glow spilling out of open doors everywhere, and it came from the TVs. The light captivated me. For the next two weeks I wandered around, slipping in and out of strangers’ living rooms. Each time I came across an open door and a TV set, I asked if I could take a picture of it. The answer was always yes. Nobody seemed to think it was an odd request and it was usually accompanied by a Cuban coffee or rum.

To purchase the book, visit Clicgallery.com

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Today we introduce another 2 hours of Cuban jams and talk time with our special guest of the week, Helena Kubicka de Braganca. At 20 years old, Helena saw Soy Cuba for the first time and her life would never be the same.


(Sugar Barons guest, Photographer Helena Kubicka de Braganca)

It would take another 8 years before she finally followed her gut and dove into the island herself for over 2 months meeting “artists, musicians, prostitutes, farmers, and revolutionaries”. The result is I Am Cuban, a hardcover coffee table book inspired by her travels through the nation. Although Helena was born in London (to Polish and Portuguese immigrants), we consider her an honorary Cuban. You won’t want to miss our conversation about contemporary Cuba and the fountain of inspiration she bumped into.

Tune in today (Wednesday) on www.radiolily.com from 2-4 pm for a new set of Cuban classics and some a trip down memory lane for Helena.

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Nowness recently ran a photo essay by American photographer Michael Dweck, known for his photos of natural babes in Montauk, New York. This time, Michael visited Cuba and discovered a whole scene of the young cool crowd in Cuba’s elite circles (not the type of youth normally captured by most predictable photographers). “These people travel freely, have nice cars, big studios and a lot of assistants” writes Nowness. “They sell their artworks in other countries; they show at Art Basel, some have work in MoMA and the Tate. The government allows it even though Cuba is supposed to be classless. The regime doesn’t admit that this creative class exists, but I think they also realize that without culture you don’t have a society.”

Visit Nowness to see the whole feature… or go to Michael Dweck’s Cuba Project to see a more complete collection of images. The photographs will be exhibited in San Francisco at Modernism Inc from Sept 8 to Oct 29th located at 685 Market Street.

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