November 5, 2004

Conciencia Artistica

The Etcetera Collective: Engaging in positive social evolution

By Geneva Gamez

The Etcetera Collective will be hosting an opening night reception for Better Here Than Tomorrow at the Mandeville Annex Gallery at UCSD tonight, from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. The art show features artist and art show director, Camilo Ontiveros; visual and video producer, Roberto “Bobo” Freddi; and music artist producer, Marko Manriquez, who share a common sociopolitical interest in manifesting the inconformity and crisis of today. Their work projects a quest for a better here, now and present, as opposed to lagging to the fast approaching tomorrow before forming social consciousness.

The Etcetera Collective comes to life at a globally symbolic and socially critical time, when people are more inquisitive than ever, but at the same time most actively cross-armed than should be allowed. In joint efforts to consolidate thoughts and ideas about a most fruitful society, while challenging deeper analysis about the world that surrounds us, the collective hopes to raise awareness and provoke critical thinking about issues that slip us by almost silently, yet affect us so greatly.

“I” by Camilo Ontiveros. Mixed media on canvas.

Together, the Etcetera Collective and Better Here Than Tomorrow create a synergy put together by a group of thriving artists who embody diverse artistic media in order to communicate positive elements to our society. The art show contributes to the battle against the ever-so-demanding superficial ideals of our society and focuses on factors that play key roles on the slow evolution of a ‘better here’.

“The show expresses the perception of an enriched society where materialism is abundant,” says Ontiveros, who also added “materialism is a vicious cycle that bottles us up within a system that feeds our ego, hands us a “comfort zone”, while at the same time denies growth, humanitarian consciousness, and prevents a positive social evolution.”

Italian born and educated between Bologna, London, and Paris, Freddi steps in with fundamental foreign ideas through a patchwork of compelling video images called “Home Sweet Home.” Freddi’s close-up video shots transform recognizable global symbols into scary giants in a way that juxtaposes the loss of identity between global symbols and society. “The combination of images and voices from television and real life creates an ironic counterpart to surrealism we experience in everyday life,” says Freddi. To further describe his work, Freddi adds that the logos play a central role in the process of interactivity and constitute the nodes of a mental map, a guide in the interpretation of a foreign landscape.

Manriquez’s laptop Dj set complements the dystopian tone of the Etc. Collective’s multimedia environment, scoring a soundtrack comprised of minimal, atmospheric textures for the, “deprogramming of the consumer American lifestyle”. Later in the night, Manriquez will shift the tone a bit to tempo tunes and a frenzy of carpet cutting beats.

All currently undergrads at UCSD, Freddi and Manriquez, Ontiveros decided to collaborate on this show after a series of deep discussions and exchange of artistic ideas, coming together with other UCSD undergrads to co-found the Etcetera Collective. Their work combined echoes the living voices of a youth that’s willing to step in to challenge positive change and create social consciousness through awareness.

Better Here Than Tomorrow is the first of many exhibitions to come in direct support by the Etcetera Collective. Stay tuned.

The Mandeville Annex Gallery shows the work of undergraduate Visual Arts students at the University of San Diego California. Call 858 534-2252.

To contact Geneva Gamez, e-mail: gamezgeneva@yahoo.com.

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