3rd 01SJ Biennial September 2010

A global festival of art on the edge


Juan Luna-Avin
Gallery 2
San Jose State University
School of Art & Design
One Washington Square

June 4- 8, 2008
11am – 4pm

Memotronic is a video installation by Bay Area artist Juan Luna-Avin. The Installation is based on a Spanish-language cover song of the 1989 Technotronic hit, Pump Up the Jam. Called Memotronic, the cover song is done by Mexican comedian Memo Rios. Rios’ Memotronic wildly diverges from the original song, keeping only Technotronic pulsating-synthesized beat. Rios’ version tells the tale of a part-robot, part-cactus man named Memotronic, it chronicles his interactions with various celebrities and his crime-fighting escapades in Mexico. Memotronic becomes a savior of the people and “cleans up” crime and pollution as well as celebrities, who are often seen as decadent by the common man.

Luna-Avin has deconstructed the lyrics using drawings, found images, and live action sequences. The video’s analog and digital processes give the video what Luna-Avin describes as a “homemade look, symbolizing a merging of new and old technologies.” Luna-Avin’s intention is to “present a humorous side to how technology is perceived, incorporated, and reinterpreted into popular culture in Mexico.” The DIY nature of the cover song, Luna-Avin’s artistic praxis and the narrative of the cyborg Memotronic provide insight to the ways in which different groups of individuals engage with technologies not necessarily created for their consumption, and illustrates how these groups make them their own.

Luna-Avin’s Memotronic offers a wry examination of the paths on which so called “First” and “Third World” Nations exchange technology. It conflates original production with re-interpretation with further re-interpretation revealing a flow that is multi-directional and unconcerned with original-use parameters; end-user adaptations mix with scant resources, with popular culture, and creativity. These modified technologies often make their way back to their countries of origin reinvigorating the first generation of goods along with the cultures that surround their use.

Juan Luna-Avin was born in Mexico City and currently resides in Mountain View, California. He holds a BFA in Painting (2003) from the San Francisco Art Institute, where he was an Osher Scholar. He will be pursuing his MFA in Art Practice at Stanford University in fall 2008. His work has been shown at such venues as Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), Queen’s Nails Annex (San Francisco), Galeria de la Raza (San Francisco), El Museo del Barrio (New York), MOCA Los Angeles, and at MACLA as part of the 2006 Zero One Global Festival of Art on the Edge. He is also a member of the DJ-artist collective, Club Unicornio.