Artworks \ !!!Extra


Interactive installation and digital archive

nGbK neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Berlin, Germany [2021]

– In collaboration with Julia Weist


!!!Extra is a digital directory of downloadable files created by American artist Julia Weist and Cuban artist Nestor Siré from their research on a creative social strategy related to the absence of Internet connectivity in Cuba: the Paquete Semanal (Weekly Package). This cultural phenomenon distributes throughout the country a weekly collection of digital media of 1TB, which is transported from city to city on hard drives. Its contents are entertainment materials, from which pornography and politics are strictly excluded. A full download of the Paquete costs approximately US$2, which makes it a relative luxury, though affordable for most Cubans. 

Although the digital copying system is technically illegal, it is tacitly permitted by the Cuban government’s non-enforcement of copyright law. This person-to-person “information traffic” is a decentralized phenomenon that does not depend on a hierarchical structure but on the customers. Any person can re-appropriate the Paquete and readapt it, put a logo on it and resell it as if it were a creative common. This practice is shaping up as a user-generated economy, which generates infinite possibilities when it comes to each city weighting to the content distribution structure. This in turn gives rise to the emergence of other cultural micro-phenomena, such as PackeTubers. These are teenagers who share videos through the Paquete and use SMS and calls to contact their followers, translating the interactivity of the Internet to the Cuban offline condition.   

Weist and Siré’s work operates as a time capsule. It collects a wide variety of content and ephemeral microphenomena in 5 folders. These could be consulted and copied from a computer in the Kiosk Square, Berlin, under the claim of a sign announcing «Se llenan memorias», (Memories are filled), about the distribution points of the Paquete Semanal on the island. 

Index of Categories

Original contents: Covers a collection of contents created in Cuba for the Paquete Semanal. It includes digital magazines, advertisements, entertainment programs, sports, entertainment news, and local culture. 

Matrices: Contains an archive with the promotional logos of Cuban distributors or matrices, ranging from VHS rentals in the 1980s to the present. It also contains the studios that produce the Paquete Semanal. 

!!!Sección ARTE: Includes an archive of all the curatorial projects and works presented in this digital space in the folder of the same name within the Paquete Semanal. 

Paquete Semanal (national archive): Includes a collection of contents and screenshots documenting the folder architecture of each sub-matrix and regional distributor in Cuba. 

Photo Selection: Contains a collection of high-quality images related to the Paquete Semanal. Included are photos of the PCs used by the matrices and of the boxes that are built by hand to transport the hard disks from one city to another. 

!!!Extra Museum of Democracy: Includes a folder of content compiled exclusively for this exhibition, including research articles related to the works in the museum’s temporary collection, free of copyright.

Paz Ponce Pérez 

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