Mi Casa es Tu Casa/My House is Your House

Posted by Rhizome | Wed Aug 7th 1996 1 a.m.

children's
museum
san diego
museo de
los ninos

Twelve children, six each from Mexico City and the San Diego
area, will participate in a residency program with artist Sheldon Brown at the
Children's Museum/Museo de los Ninos on August 13-15 to research and introduce
a binational, state-of-the-art, virtual reality art installation. Titled, "Mi
Casa Es Tu Casa/My House Is Your House", the installation is intended to
connect children in the two cities through a common cyberspace "playhouse."

The children's residency in San Diego is the first of several such
research-oriented activities that Sheldon Brown will conduct in Mexico and the
United States over the next year in an effort to discover children's ideas of
"home" and identity within both countries. The children will collaborate on
projects such as making collages of houses, inventing characters and stories
together, discussing individual and cross-cultural ideas of home and completing
a virtual reality construction demonstration. Brown will incorporate the ideas
and responses of the children into both a computer program and design for the
art installation that will eventually become "Mi Casa Es Tu Casa/My House Is
Your House". The exhibition will be housed at the Children's Museum in San
Diego, the Centro de Multimedia of the Centro Nacional de las Artes in Mexico
City, and, according to Brown, ".....a space that is created by a
computer-mediated interchange of activities from these two places."

The commencement of the project is well-timed, given the proximity of the
Republican National Convention and the nation's focus on U.S./Mexico border
issues. According to Luis Herrera-Lasso, Consul General of Mexico and a board
member of the Children's Museum, "Mi Casa es Tu Casa/My House is Your House
will help surpass the cultural boundaries between both countries, a necessary
condition for a better understanding between Mexico and the United States".

Sheldon Brown, a San Diego resident who is an Assistant Professor of
Visual Art and a Research Associate of the Center for Research in Computing and
the Arts at the University of California, San Diego, also hopes that "Mi Casa
Es Tu Casa/My House Is Your House" will foster acceptance and understanding in
children. As Brown says, "It is far easier to plant the seed of awareness of
diverse cultures in a child than to uproot fear and intolerance in an adult."

"Mi Casa Es Tu Casa/My House Is Your House" is scheduled to be installed,
and the cyberspace playhouse functional, at the Children's Museum and at the
Centro de Multimedia by September, 1997, for the opening of inSITE97, a
binational art exhibition organized by Installation of San Diego and Instituto
Nacional de Bellas Artes of Mexico, in collaboration with 26 regional art and
educational institutions.

"For the Centro de Multimedia, Mi Casa Es Tu Casa/My House is Your House
provides an enormous opportunity to work with important U.S. institutions and
reach a large national audience in both countries, not only with technology but
with an application of technology that has the potential to truly promote
communication and understanding," says Andrea de Castro, Director of the Centro
de Multimedia in Mexico City.

In addition to the Children's Museum/Museo de los Ninos and the Centro de
Multimedia of the Centro Nacional de las Artes, major collaborative partners
include: UCSD's Center for Research in Computing and the Arts, inSITE97, the
Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, the Consejo Nacional Para la Cultura y Las
Artes in Mexico, and the Mexican Cultural Institute of San Diego. The
project, which will require considerable corporate support, has already
garnered software development assistance from MultiGen Inc., Praja, the Visual
Computing Lab at UCSD and Dr. Ramesh Jain.

Children's Museum / Museo de los Ninos
200 West Island Ave, San Diego, CA
(619) 233-KIDS.
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