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)

UNM International Practicum: Havana Biennial

March 8, 2015 40 Arts

There is another exciting dimension to my participation in the Havana Biennial 2015. Thanks to the support of UNM Albuquerque Fine Arts Department, Dean Kymberly Pinder, Chair Mary Tsiongas and Professor Andrea Polli, a course has been created that will allow four selected graduate students to be a part of the creative team that will go to Havana for the install and opening.  Abbey Hepner, Adrian Pijoan, Cristine Posner, and Julianne Aguilar will be assisting with photo/video documenting, blog, article writing, and social media management, mounting the installation, the youth workshop and final projection intervention on opening night. Congrats to these students for being selected. I am thrilled to have them on the team.

Day One at ATLAS Experiment

March 5, 2015 Arts


After checking in, orientation and the constant stream of information provided by my guide, Dr. Steven Goldfarb, I sat for a crash course on the basics of the Standard Model of Physics. Special thanks to the simplicity and gentle patience of physicist Peter Watkins. In this 2 hour chat we gleamed into the basic particles that make up the universe-fermions and bosons, the four forces, dark matter, dark energy, antimatter, Higgs field and the Higgs-Boson particle, uncertainty principle and super symmetry, and reviewed some basic math! Absorbing it all now. The CERN website has some great educational material for beginners like me

Help make it happen. Donate here.

February 11, 2015 33 Arts, exhibits



ONLY $3135 TO GO!

Deadline May 15, 2015. We have raised $9700 so far. The budget will cover programmer and workshop stipends, materials for installation and team travel expenses.

I have been invited to the 12th Havana Biennial in Havana Cuba where I will collaborate with a team to present an indoor projection installation and  youth workshop. To learn more about the project see this post, then come back here to choose your sponsor plan. See the full pdf proposal here. $100 makes you a Pabellon Sponsor and gets you an original 4″ x 5″ color drawing that is part of the installation design for the Havana Biennial.  Or maybe you would like to be the Habanero Sponsor and come to Cuba with us? Join the team for the opening and dinner and a private tour of the Havana Biennial by the curator.  Check out the sponsor plans below and contact me for more information at All rewards will be delivered by end of June, 2015.

Azucar Sponsor $20

Show your support and receive a thank you card with a special line drawing from me!

Mojito Sponsor $45
(100 maximum-99 remaining)

Receive: A signed limited edition (1/100) 5″ x 8″ print from the Havana Series. All artwork will be delivered by June 30, 2015, after the Havana Biennial.

Pabellon Sponsor $100
(50 maximum-49 remaining)

Receive: An original 4″ x 5″ study for the actual installation. Each drawing is part of a unique 1 of 50 numbered collection and created on the fabric that will be used for the actual projection. Each piece is handcrafted, dry mounted and ready for framing. (Photo gallery coming soon). All artwork will be delivered by June 30, 2015, after the Havana Biennial.

Malecon Sponsor $500
(10 maximum- 9 remaining)

Receive: One signed limited edition print or one original art piece from the “Particle Window” series (appx 20′ x 25′). One signed official Havana Biennial poster. One signed official catalog of the “Between, Inside, Outside” exhibit. Studio visit in Taos after the exhibit for a recap and behind the scenes tour of the artists work. All artwork will be delivered by June 30, 2015, after the Havana Biennial.

Vedado Sponsor #1 $1,000

Receive: If you get yourself to Cuba: Artist will give you a private tour of the exhibit, “Between, inside, Outside”. Join the Particles team for a fun dinner and evening out in Havana. Copy of the digital program for fun viewing at home. One signed limited edition large scale print (24” x 36”) from the artist’s Havana Biennial series. One signed official Havana Biennial poster. One signed official catalog of the “Between, Inside, Outside” exhibit. All artwork will be delivered by June 30, 2015, after the Havana Biennial. If you can not get to Havana: Studio visit in Taos after the exhibit for a recap and behind the scenes tour of the artists work. Copy of the digital program for fun viewing at home.  All artwork will be delivered by June 30, 2015, after the Havana Biennial.

Vedado Sponsor #2  $1,000

Receive: An original large scale art piece from the “particle window” series, (appx 24 h x 48w). Studio visit in Taos after the exhibit for a recap and behind the scenes tour of the artists work. All artwork will be delivered by June 30, 2015, after the Havana Biennial.

Habanero Sponsor $2,500 (SOLD)
(1 maximum)

Receive: Visa to travel to Cuba for the Havana Biennial (does not include flight or travel expenses). Reservations at hotel for Biennial guests  (*Not including Hotel fees). Private tour of the Havana Biennial led by Royce Smith, co-curator of the 2015 Havana Biennial. Invitation to the opening dinner for our collective exhibit, “Between, inside, Outside”. Name of individual or company logo on the official banner outside of the Havana exhibit hall. Name of individual or company logo in the official catalog of the “Between, Inside, Outside” exhibit. One signed limited edition large scale print (24” x 36”) from the artist’s Havana Biennial series. One signed official Havana Biennial poster. One signed official catalog of the “Between, Inside, Outside” exhibit. All artwork will be delivered by June 30, 2015, after the Havana Biennial.


$12,900  Total Budget $   9765  Raised

$ 3135   Remaining (as of 05/5/15) 

The budget will cover programmer and workshop stipends, materials for installation and travel expenses.

Havana Biennial 2015

February 10, 2015 Arts, exhibits

Time is accelerating as we prepare for participation in the 2015 Havana Biennial in Havana Cuba opening May 22, 2015. We have been invited to participate in a collective exhibit, “Between, Inside, Outside” which will take place in the Pabellon building in the district of Vedado. In this blog we will be documenting about the experience and sharing photos and videos from Havana (as internet allows)

The project that was accepted is called pARTicles: Merging projection art and particle physics. I am collaborating with an interdisciplinary team of programmers, artists, scientists, students and educators to investigate how we can create art and education interventions to explore emerging particle physics theories that are radically challenging our understanding of ourselves and our universe.

We believe that a personal understanding of new concepts about space, time, matter, and light can have a profound impact on the way we visualize and interact with the world around us. We are interested in this research personally, artistically and as a medium for positive social change.

Interactive Installation

In collaboration with visual artist/coder Marcel Schwittlick, we will produce an indoor installation that combines interactive components and projection art (see xtrees). In this piece I will explore my own experiences as a 1st generation Cuban, through the lens of particle physics.


In collaboration with Austrian artist/Tagtool app developer, Markus Dorninger we will offer a 3-day Projecting pARTicles youth workshop in Havana with eight high school students. Students in the Projecting pARTicles workshop will have the unique experience of an art/science exploration. Using iPads and the Tagtool App students create physics-inspired projection art and together we will engage the public in a series of projection interventions in the streets of Havana for the opening event.

Youth Mentorship

In collaboration with the University of New Mexico (UNM) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I will teach a course called International Practicum: Havana Biennial, which will allow four graduate students to become part of this project and event. They will assist me in Havana with photo/video documentation, the youth workshop and the projection interventions on opening night. Malu Velara will lead the photo/video documentation.

In preparation for this work, I have been invited to collaborate with Dr. Steve Goldfarb, physicist and educational outreach coordinator, at the ATLAS Experiment@CERN physics laboratory in Geneva. I will participate in a 2-week research stay in March 2015, which will inform and inspire the pARTicles series and the interactive design of the art installation.

Become a sponsor!