Higgs and beyond!

May 22, 2015 Arts

Contributing blogger, Julianne Aguilar, UNM art student assistant

It’s done!

Projecting pARTicles is up and running, and what an experience it’s been. Neither heat nor humidity could stop us! With the Bienal opening today we didn’t finish a moment too soon.

We had a moment of scariness when we were told all our equipment had to go through customs, but we made it through.

Focuses have shifted to the student workshop, where Agnes is teaching the Tagtool app. But that’s not the most exciting part! The Bienal has graciously and awesomely invited Dr. Luis Roberto Flores Castillo to come to Havana and be a part of the workshop. Luis isn’t just any physicist – he was a part of the CERN team that discovered the Higgs Particle! He is also a professor at the University of Hong Kong. The Atlas Experiment at CERN is sponsoring Luis to help make this possible.

Luis will do a presentation to the scientific community on Saturday at 5pm at the Salon de Mayo in the Pabellon building. Needless to say it is an extreme honor to have him here with us. As part of the workshop, he is teaching the kids about the Higgs and other tenets of particle physics. I can’t think of a better person to do it!

Tomorrow we’ll all be giving a presentation about Projecting pARTicles, and today the final, final, final finishing touches are going into the installation. It’s been a crazy ride but it’s all coming together in a pretty great way!

The Biennal fabrication team could not have been more helpful, understanding and cool, and we could not have done any of this without them. Cheers to them!

Getting it done!

May 19, 2015 Arts

Contributing blogger, Julianne Aguilar, UNM art student assistant

Wow! It’s been a crazy first two days in Havana!

What an incredible and surprising city this is. The people! The food! The architecture! All amazing. Everyone has been so welcoming, and we could not have asked for a better introduction to this city.

The Projecting pARTicles team has been hard at work scoping out our pavilion and getting ready for our big install day tomorrow! The Biennale team has been great. Our space looks great and they couldn’t be more accommodating.

Tomorrow we put the final touches on everything. The projector and Kinect will be calibrated and we’ll see the final piece as it has been planned for months!

Havana has been so good to us. The weather is gorgeous and we’ve met the kindest people and eaten the most delicious food.

Tomorrow is the big day. After that, we switch gears and get ready for the Tagtool work shop!

Check back tomorrow for more updates. See you soon!

Between Idea and Experience

May 18, 2015 Arts

Lorraine Monteagut, contributing blogger

The streets of Havana are sizzling with activity! Powered by the infectious energy of the Cuban people, the Projecting pARTticles team is currently hard at work on the installation, double-checking measurements, climbing scaffolding, making adjustments. Our Cuban friends have been invaluable in the process, lending their expertise and resourcefulness to transform the team’s vision into reality.

The installation, Origination Point, will be up and running with the opening of the Biennial this Friday, May 22. It is housed in El Pabellon, a massive indoor/outdoor structure that connects two busy streets in the Vedado district of Havana, nicely complementing the theme of the exhibit: “Between, Inside, Outside.” Other artists will set up in different locations of El Pabellon’s expansive atrium, and performances will punctuate the spaces between to inaugurate the exhibit on Saturday, May 23, beginning at 11 am. Stay tuned for more from the Cuban front!

Lorraine Monteagut is a Ph.D. candidate in Communication at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Follow her summer travels:

And we’re off!

May 15, 2015 Arts


The time has finally come — we’re jetting off to Miami today!

Wait! First, let me introduce myself.

My name is Julianne Aguilar, and I’m a member of Agnes’ pARTicles student team from the University of New Mexico, where I’m a graduate student in Electronic Arts. I’ll be blogging about our experiences traveling to Havana and setting up the projection installation  called Origination Point which is part of the Projecting pARTicles project that has been accepted into the Havana Biennial.

It’s been a whirlwind two weeks of preparation, packing, unpacking, packing again and setting up Origination Point to make sure everything is just right. Along with the other three members of the student team — Adrian Pijoan, Cristine Posner and Abbey Hepner — it’s been nonstop action! It’s our first time to Cuba, and what an exciting time to visit. The country is truly changing, and there couldn’t have been a more fascinating time to visit and experience this country in transition.

If things go even sort of according to plan, it’s going to be a crazy 10 days! In addition to setting up Origination Point for the Biennial, we’ll also be assisting Agnes in leading a pARTicles workshop for high school students, where they’ll get the opportunity to play with some cool technology and put on a live light drawing performance for the public.

Havana technology-willing, I’ll be blogging here everyday about our progress and experiences. Even if you don’t hear from me everyday, check back often — we’ll be on the hunt for WiFi constantly!

See you soon!

The Havana Biennial: An Opening for U.S.-Cuba Cultural Exchange

May 9, 2015 Arts

Lorraine Monteagut, contributing blogger

May is here, and the Projecting pARTicles team is gearing up for its journey to the 12th Havana Biennial. It’s truly a historic time in U.S.-Cuba relations. Last December, President Obama announced his intention to ease sanctions imposed against Cuba under the half-century-long embargo. And last month, he met with Raul Castro during the Summit of the Americas in Panama, which marked the first time leaders of Cuba and the U.S. have convened since 1959. There is much left to negotiate—U.S. tourism to Cuba is still prohibited, for instance— but the pathways to cultural exchange between the two nations are already opening, as evidenced by U.S. artists’ involvement in the Biennial.

On May 22, the Projecting pARTicles team will participate in a collective exhibit, “Between, Inside, Outside,” which will examine fringe experiences created by political tensions between Cuba and the U.S. and demonstrate how artistic expression can dissolve the barriers that separate us. The projects in the exhibit are participatory, trans-disciplinary, and process-oriented, representing different perspectives of reality coming together in an interactive space of human communion.

Artist Agnes Chavez is a first-generation U.S. citizen born to Cuban immigrants. The Projecting pARTicles installation, Origination Point, draws from her experience straddling two worlds. She says, “In this piece I contemplate both my origins as a Cuban American and humanity’s shared ‘subatomic’ origins to express that we are more than the physical bodies and socio-cultural identities we construct.” I’m eager to observe and assist with this project, as I too am a child of a Cuban immigrant, and I’m the first in my family to “go back.” I’ve long been aware of the tension between the old world of my ancestry and my family’s new life in the U.S., and as a result, I’ve inhabited an “in- between” space full of imaginings of my ancestors’ past and hopes for the future of the Cuban people.

So much has already changed for me since this opening: back in December, shortly after President Obama made his first announcement, Agnes called me to ask if I’d be interested in participating in the Biennial. We are fourth cousins, but we are separated by thousands of miles, and we have never met. We will meet in person for the first time—in Havana, no less!

It’s been a surreal experience, witnessing this opening between our worlds. We represent the many Cuban Americans who are eager to heal the rift of the past and participate in the new wave of U.S.-Cuba relations. This will not be an easy path, and many challenges await, but I believe art has the power to bridge great distances, and through our art, we may learn how to reestablish relationships and create beautiful new ways of communing with our fellow humans.

Stay tuned as we report from the Havana Biennial!

Lorraine Monteagut is a Ph.D. candidate in Communication at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Follow her summer travels:

We need your help- Havana Biennial Fundraiser

April 27, 2015 Arts

The deadline for the Havana Biennial fundraiser is coming up- May 15th. We have raised $9700 of the $12,900 needed to make this happen. Only $3135 left to go! Please consider making a donation and share with friends that may want to help make it happen. Rewards include prints and original work from the Havana Biennial series! Heck I will even throw in some cuban cigars since they are legal to bring back to the U.S now!

This photo was taken in 2012 when I went to Cuba with my dad for the first time to visit my fathers side of the family. Now I will be going back as part of an art and education project that will bring something back to the Cuban people, and hopefully open up doors for future collaborations between New Mexico and Cuba.

Check out the sponsor options and DONATE HERE

Antimatter Photographic Emulsion Technique

March 30, 2015 Arts

I met Dr. Michael Doser while at CERN for my research stay. Michael is studying antimatter and has some exciting projects going on that allow you to participate. Ever wondered what happens when you drop antimatter? The AEGIS experiment at CERN needs your help to analyze experimental results to figure out how antimatter is affected by gravity. Just join the dots to reconstruct particle tracks and your contribution could be included in an upcoming scientific publication. Just drop him a line at if you would like to help.

What I found fascinating was the technique they have developed to photograph antimatter particles. It’s a wonderful blend of old and new technologies. Check out this video from the documentary, Subatomic. This is the fifth episode in the series The Invisible Photograph, made in collaboration with Arts@ CERN for the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pennsylvania, US. The film draws parallels between concepts and technologies in particle detection and photography.

Also stay tuned for a new Kickstarter campaign to come out of CERN. The kickstarter project by Michael will be visible soon via but also via the facebook page

Thank you Sponsors!

March 30, 2015 Arts, exhibits


To all the sponsors that have supported the Havana Biennial project so far….Thank you!!! We still need to raise $5600 to reach our goal so please share.

UNM CFA Office of the Dean
ATLAS Experiment at CERN
Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, Republic of Austria
STEMarts Lab
Sube, Inc.
The Paseo
Social Media Workgroup
Americorps VISTA
Josh and Kate Comfort
Mary H. Burns
Andrea Szekeres
Barney and Ursula Berkowitz
Matt Thomas and Richard Spera
Anita McKeown

Mark Speight

Shelli Bergmann


Presenting at CERN Library

March 11, 2015 Arts


The CERN library hosts regular presentations by scientists, educators and visiting artists, etc.I have been invited to talk about the work I am doing as part of my research stay through the ATLAS Experiment at CERN. Thanks to Annette Holtkamp for inviting me and organizing this. Here is the link to the CERN library post.

I have been walking past these rows of filing cabinets that sit outside the library all week and finally found a minute to peek inside one of the drawers to see what was inside. I thought someone might scold me for doing so. I found thousands of scientific papers that date back to 1954 when CERN was formed. Papers in all languages. Lovely little manuscripts. Some only a few pages and others like manuscripts. Many with wonderful diagrams and drawings and of course, formulas. Formulas that to me are like hieroglyphics and as always, draw me in to this world. I plan to open a different drawer every time I walk by.

Great Animation on Higgs-Boson/Higgs Field

March 9, 2015 41 Arts

This short animation “The basics of the Higgs-Boson”, by David Barney of the CMS collaboration and Steven Goldfarb of the ATLAS collaboration, really helps to grasp the Higgs-Boson and Higgs Field concept. Animation by Jeanette Nørgaard for TED-Ed (link is external)