In this unusual and unprecedented global situation, we are all discovering that we are much more reliant on the fantastic minds of artists than we’d ever fully realized. Quarantined in our own homes; we watch, bake, teach, and cultivate the possibilities that we might discover in ourselves. Ana Carolina Estarita-Guerrero is much further advanced in this than most of us. The title “Immersive Media Expert” is an official moniker but Ana Carolina is known far and wide as a fantastic mind who manifest dreams. She is the link that connects artistic vision to the physical world for the many projects on which she collaborates. Delving into the most progressive artistic situations, Ana Carolina has cultivated a reputation as that unique type of individual who possesses a balance of left & right brain, allowing her to materialize realities seemingly out of reach. From her beginnings in Colombia and the artist collective known as “RECLAB”, Ana Carolina has ascended to a level of renown which sees her being utilized on multiple continents in the most cutting edge projects. Her recent work in the entertainment center of Los Angeles indicates that the creative minds there feel they’ve found a kindred spirit and exceptional talent in Ms. Estarita-Guerrero.
When Director Anna Luisa Petrisko’s presented the Sci-Fi Rock Opera “The Vibration Group”, she enlisted Ana Carolina along with Tonia B to create a believable and immersive environment set in space. The characters in the opera are stranded in a location away from Earth without the possibility of returning. The result for audience members is that of being “inside” Lost in Space rather than simply watching it. What was manifested went much further than displaying a location; it created a sense of the mood and emotional state that was transferred to participants. Lauded by numerous media outlet like LA Weekly who referred to “The Vibration Group” as “a soft-disco commune on Battlestar Galactica”, the production required a psychology-meets-tech approach for Ana Carolina. She informs, “What I did was about much more than technical aspects; it was essentially designing the VR element of the show. The most evident products of this collaboration are the VR spa and the touch computer interface that participants of the gallery interact with. Building the VR Spa with Tonia, I tried to imagine what a colony of stranded people would like or need to have as a way of relaxation. We came up with the idea of a relaxing trip through earth’s natural landscapes that had some connection with the emotional state of the participants. However, we thought that if the members of the ship have been away from earth for so long without no possibility of coming back, what would keep them from doing a fantasized version of earth? That’s how we came to the definite style of the piece.”
Sometimes Ana Carolina’s work is designed to connect the space between current times and quickly approaching technological advances. Similar to the Twilight Zone or Black Mirror, her exceptional reputation leads others to procure Ana Carolina for projects that seem to glimpse the next wave of advances. “Good Girl” is such a project. Tonia Belgari created a storyline in which an uber famous artist has mysteriously fallen into a coma. Fans (participants) are able to use a device called “The brainwave” to access her subconscious in hopes of discovering clues. Through a VR headset, these participants experience the artist’s subconscious. While “Good Girl” happens “inside” a hospital room with the assistance of a headset, Circles of Care is a multimedia immersive installation which manifests music and visuals directly around participants. Visitors enter a specially constructed space where a minimalist sculpture at the center of the piece invites the participants to interact with the installation to trigger a visual music piece that envelops them. The visual music is affected by the hand gestures of the participants, who through “caring” hand gestures (caressing, rubbing, holding…) become the “Caretakers” of the piece, which unfolds as a process of growth and decay. As with most of Estarita-Guerrero’s creations, “Circles of Care” is intended to communicate something of great importance to those who experience it. In this case, it’s the relationship we have to the environment around us and how we can positively or negatively effect it. The sensory journey of “Circles of Care” is truly surreal.
One of the recurrent relationships of Ana Carolina’s career has been with the Getty Center. LA’s Getty Center welcomes 1.8 million annual visitors who come to see a collection that includes Vincent Van Gogh’s “Irises”, Gauguin’s “Arii Matamoe”, and other great works. As part of Getty Unshuttered since 2018, Estarita-Guerrero has served multiple roles such as the technical designer of the event and the gallery itself. Working closely with Erik Bertelloti (head of creative content) and Jill Moniz (curator), Ana Carolina implemented modern features such as a projection which cycled every few minutes, showing the work of all the participants at a bigger scale and with more detail, maximizing the presentation & efficiency of the shows. Getty Unshuttered and Unshuttered II saw in excess of 3,000 attendees; Unshuttered III is expected to exceed these numbers.
Her creative and fastidious nature allow for little downtime; an aspect that Estarita-Guerrero doesn’t mind much. Her association with Getty and the artistic community continually leads projects like the upcoming “Starcast” and the Pacific Asian Museum’s “Remade in LA: Asian American Migration Experiences and Transnational Lives” to her. Caught between the embrace of institutionalized art and high concept Indie art is the perfect place for a talent such as Ana Carolina Estarita-Guerrero.
Writer: Angela Cooper