Praba Pilar is a diasporic Colombian artist disrupting the overwhelmingly passive participation in the contemporary ‘cult of the techno-logic.’ Over the last two decades Pilar has presented cultural productions integrating performance art, street theatre, invisible theatre, electronic installations, radio programming, digital works, video, websites and writing. These projects have traveled widely to museums, galleries, universities, performance festivals, conferences, public streets, political meetings, bookstores, bars, and radio airwaves around the world.
Shaped by resistance to the colonial project throughout the Americas, Pilar focuses her solo practice on projects challenging complex state/corporate systems of control, domination and death. She is now in the midst of the Techno-Tamaladas, a multi-disciplinary project of food, generosity, conviviality and dialogue on technologies of life of the Americas. She is co-Director of the Hindsight Institute, is embarked on an all-encompassing post-human/microbiomial multi-species journey with Anuj Vaidya titled Larval Rock Stars; works with Ignacio Valero on a digital humanities initiative, and collaborates extensively on one time events. Some of the artists and scholars she has worked with include Erika Hannes, John Jota Leanos, Rene Garcia, La Pocha Nostra, Alex Wilson, Larry Bogad, Adam Zaretsky, Joe Dumit, Peter Kulchisky, Freya Olafson, Mia S. van Leeuwen, Theo Pelmus, Luna, Lyndsay Ladobruk, Martin Franco and various photographers and videographers who have helped document her work. She is immeasurably helped by Janet Sarson on numerous aspects of her practices.
Pilar is the recipient of numerous awards, which in 2019 include the City of Emeryville Community Grants Program, the Local Impact Award of the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Past awards include a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Digital Humanities and New Media with the Hub for Innovative Exchange at the University of Winnipeg, the UC Davis Presidential Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, the Puffin Foundation Award, the Creative Capital Award, the Creative Work Fund Award, the Potrero Nuevo Fund Award and two nominations for a Rockefeller Award. Her most recent writing has been featured in Performance, Religion and Spirituality; ROAR; Feminist & Scholar Online; Lateral Journal of the Cultural Studies Association, Women's Eco Artists Dialogue; Dance Current, KATALOG, localflux, and h+Magazine. She has co-written and solo authored book chapters dating back to 2001. Her work has been written about in journals and books, and she was featured in a book on inspirational women by Cathleen Rountree, On Women Turning Thirty: Making Choices, Finding Meaning (2000).
Pilar has a PhD in Performance Studies, with designated emphases in Studies in Performance Practice as Research and in Feminist Theory and Research from the University of California, Davis; a Bachelor of Arts in Intermedia Arts from Mills College; studied Max/MSP/Jitter with Bob Ostertag at UC Davis; took workshops in RFID tag creation (Zapped!) with Beatriz de Costa, Jamie Schulte and Brooke Singer; basic robots creation with Elise Baldwin; and workshops at Video Pool in Winnipeg in electronic circuitry, Arduino and PureData programming with artists Ken Gregory and Andy Rudolph, DIY technology design with artist Andrew Milne and Wet Lab biotech practices with Niki Sperou. In a much earlier chapter of life, she studied economics, political science and development at NYU for three years.
Recent CV available upon request.
REFLECTIONS ON MY WORK CAN BE FOUND IN:
Multispecies Salon, edited by Eben Kirksey (Duke University Press: 2014).
Latin American Identity in Online Cultural Production, by Claire Taylor and Thea Pitman (Routledge: 2013).
Body As Evidence: Mediating Race, Globalizing Gender, by Janell Hobson (SUNY Press: 2013)
TechKnowledgies: New Imaginaries and Transmigrations in the Humanites, Arts and TechnoSciences, edited by Mary Valentis (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007)
Naked on the Internet, by Audacia Ray (Seal Press, 2007)
The Civil Disobedience Handbook: A Brief History and Practical Advice for the Politically Disenchanted, edited by James Tracy (Manic dPress, 2002)
“The Paradox of Evolution - Yes, I am Obsolete Human Being,“ by Paz Torneo. ISEA 2012 Proceedings. Albuquerque: Machine Wilderness, ISEA, 2012.
“Techno-Heroines. Transhuman resistances. The example of Praba Pilar.” by Paz Tornero. Feminist Agency and Empowerment in Visual Arts Symposium. Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, MADRID, Spain. 2011.
Paradigm Shifts: Walter McBean Galleries Exhibitions and Public Programs, San Francisco Art Institute 2006-2011. Hou Hanru with Mary Ellyn Johnson. San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, 2011
Bay Area NOW 5 Wayfinder. Catalogue of Bay Area Now 5 exhibition at Center for the Arts at Yerba Buena, 2008
An Emeryville artist is hosting tamale parties to celebrate the sustainable technology of communities of color, by Alix Wall. Berkeleyside. August 20, 2019
ECAP on the Frontlines of Emeryville’s Battle Against Homelessness & Hunger, by Sarah Belle Lin. Emeryville Eye. August 2, 2019
LIVE Biennale: Praba Pilar's ‘The NO!!!Bot’ by Katherine Chan. SAD Magazine. October 21, 2017
“Colombian Artist Helps Winnipeg Indigenous Youth Map Their Identity.” By Meg Crane. Metro News Winnipeg. March 17, 2016
“Mapping Identity: A Decolonizing Arts Practices Project.” By Joan Suzuki. Community News Commons. March 15, 2016
“Possible Utopias in Winnipeg Feminist Art Symposium.” By Alison Cooley. Canadian Art. Oct 14. 2014
“Provocative, politically minded artwork challenges consumer culture and art's place within it.” By Steven Leyden Cochrane. Winnipeg Free Press. May 30, 2013