The Colombian Pacific On Display In Coral Gables

May 2, 2017

I’m looking at a photograph of a shoreline on the wall at the opening reception of "Potente" through my smartphone.

Four little white dots converge in the center and all of a sudden the water begins to crash on the rocks.

How did this happen? For answers I spoke with Felipe Aguilar, creator of "Potente," the installation currently being shown at the Colombian consulate in Coral Gables.

Aguilar, a native of Bogota, Colombia, is a graduate of the University of Miami with a degree in filmmaking.

“Even though I initially studied architecture, I was drawn to documentary filmmaking. I love getting to know people and places," Aguilar said. "With a camera you gain access that you normally wouldn’t get. Now everyone has a camera. Nobody can get enough of this medium."

'Experience power of the wave'

Aguilar says the environment at Colombia's consulate is an ideal setting for this type installation.

“When I received the invitation to do the show at the Colombian consulate, I noticed that people just sat around waiting for hours to get their papers processed. I thought it would be cool to create an experience where they could interact in a fun way while they were waiting."

Thirteen black and white large format photographs line the walls of the consulate. 


'Local Soccer Match'

One of the artist’s goals is to bring the viewer closer to this remote environment and spark curiosity to learn more about Colombia's Pacific coast, perhaps even igniting a desire to visit.

“The coastline of Chocó, in the Pacific region of Colombia, is one of those places on earth where nature is still in control," Aguilar said. "The dense jungle, a chlorophyll colossus, confronts the sea, which won't relinquish an inch and pushes back powerfully; great waves with their momentum gathered by whale’s songs and splashes."


'Underwater song'

"Potente" reveals fascinating fragments of everyday life in this region of the world. Aguilar shot the footage with a Red Epic digital cinema camera, which allowed him to print in a large format.

Each photograph is a frame from the actual video, which was made in 2015. The software recognizes the patterns in an image.

The content doesn’t fill the whole screen. It comes alive only where the photograph is viewed in the center of a smartphone.

Motion, along with the sporadic use of color and sound give elements of surprise to transport the viewer into different worlds.

Aguilar plans to return to the Chocó region of Colombia this summer and share the photographs with the townspeople who so graciously posed for him. “I want to connect the outsider with this remote environment and transversely, give the locals a different perspective on their everyday life.” 


'A colorful smile'

Download the Aurasma app to a smartphone or iPad, then follow Felipe Aguilar and point your device to the photographs in this article.

You can also experience the entire exhibition at the Colombian Consulate, 280 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables, 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. through May 2. Let them know you're there to see the photographs.

Find out more about Felipe Aguilar’s art work at Bogotá Digital Cinema.