Ricardo Miranda Zúñiga

Structural Patterns

Reflections on Art, Technology and Society

Archive for December, 2007

VOTEMOS.US Mexico Decide

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Thursday, January 3 is the Iowa Caucus and the 2008 U.S. presidential election year begins! With ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a dropping dollar, increasing foreclosures of homes, fear of a recession and an incredibly negative international view of the United States, it is time for a change! And in a country built by immigrants who better to bring change than the country’s immigrant population, legal and illegal.

We live in a multi-millionare two party republic with a gigantic near slave-wage labor population that helps keep this country going, the United States should give all its hard working residents a vote! Votems.us – Mexico Decide does so by presenting a Spanish language portal to the US presidential elections and allowing users to register, vote and give their opinion on the US elections.

“In 2005 the percent of U.S. population that are migrants is 12.86%” the highest in the history of the country.” – Farhana Hossain, “Snapshot: Global Migration”, The New York Times

“The U.S. Social Security Administration has estimated that undocumented immigrants contribute approximately $8.5 billion in Social Security and Medicare funds each year.” — National Immigration Law Center, “Paying Their Way and Then Some”

“The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has determined that undocumented immigrants paid almost $50 billion in federal taxes from 1996 to 2003.” — National Immigration Law Center, “Paying Their Way and Then Some”

Votemos.us also features parts of an interview with Raymundo, a Mexican immigrant who left his home in Puebla in 1984 to come to the United States. He discusses the pointlessness of the border fence, that it is merely a political act that will not slow illegal immigration, after all most people pass through the border entries. He also recollects his own crossing of the border and the reality that although he has been living and working in the United States since 1984, he remains without his resident papers since he never had his birth certificate nor the means to acquire his residency because he doesn’t speak English or have money.

Votemos.us goes on to propose that Mexico have a vote in the U.S. elections. The United States has had a powerful influence in the Mexican national elections, now it’s time to turn that around. Between Mexico and the United States exists a constant circulation of people, product and capital so there is plenty of reason to give Mexico a say in who will be the next U.S. President! Mexico should be part of Super Tuesday, February 5th when California and New Mexico, two states that were once Mexican territories go to the caucus.

I originally planned this web site for Transitio, the video and new media festival in Mexico City that happened this past October. With the help of John Kuiphoff, votemos.us has a content management system that allows visitors to register with the site, vote and write an opinion on the elections; anyone may view other’s opinions and write their own reaction. The goal of the project is not only to point to the fact that within the US border lives a very active Mexican population that contributes to the national economy and is not allowed to vote, but also to present a repository of information and links to the Latin American community (within and beyond the U.S.) concerning the US national elections and to establish a public space to share their views.

Written by ricardo

December 31st, 2007 at 7:35 am

Muertorider (deadrider), the beautifully macabre lowrider

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El Muertorider

Growing up in the Mission (San Francisco, CA), my dad loved cruising Mission street on Friday and Saturday evenings when it was packed with lowriders and girls running from car to car, guys trying to prove who had the superior car. My brother and I were too young to really appreciate it. I found the bouncing cars entertaining for the first 10 minutes, but as cars inched along we’d be stuck between 25th and 26th Streets for nearly an hour, way too long for me. However, when I see an incredible lowrider, it reminds me of that period and evokes a bit of nostalgia. (This was before the SF police cracked down on cruising, the lowriders moved to Daly City at that point, early 80s.) The artists John Jota Leaños and Artemio Rodriquez have teamed up to create a beautifully painted lowrider with motifs indicative of today’s reality – motifs that point to war, disaster and death.

“The fully functioning mobile art installation includes four animations from the New Media Opera, Imperial Silence that plays on the LCD movie screen in the car as well as radio programs from ¡Radio Muerto!, a specially curated radio dial with content from dozens of artists, writers, youth, and everyday Californians.” Go to John’s site to check out the full description: El Muertorider.

El Muertorider

Written by ricardo

December 26th, 2007 at 5:35 pm

Zimbra is amazing!

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My school recently switched to a new email client, Zimbra, which I avoided for a while, because I felt like it had too much going on and it takes a while to load and I was just used to the good’ol squirrel client. But Zimbra is amazing, it’s like the web in hyper drive. Zimbra is an early “web2.0” product that needs code updating for some platforms, but it’s only crashed my browser once and works well otherwise.  For example, I received an Amazon notice that my order had shipped with the UPS tracking number. After spending nearly an hour at the post office yesterday and watching people in line nearly get into fights, I’ve decided that I’m going to closely track the package as not to miss it. The tracking number was a hyperlink, so I clicked on it and a new window opened up with the UPS page for my item. Generally, I’d copy the number, go to the UPS site and paste it… Also any address are also hyperlinked so that an ajax preview box pops up with a yahoo map of the location (yahoo recently acquired Zimbra). I’m sure Zimbra is old news to people, but it’s a surprise to me. Best of all it’s open source and free to download.

Written by ricardo

December 11th, 2007 at 8:15 pm

Posted in society_technology