July 13, 2023

Cristina Isabel Rivera: Uniting Art and Technology for Social Change

In the ever-evolving landscape of art and creativity, the intersection of art and technology has become an opportunity to catalyze social change. With a background in traditional photography, filmmaking and film production, artist and creator Cristina Isabel Rivera is using new technologies, such as AI, to breathe new life into her work and drive awareness of important social issues. Through her interdisciplinary project, Selva Sonica, Cristina aims to honor her ancestors and raise awareness about the Peruvian Amazon.

One of the key aspects of using technology for social change is the ability to capture and engage audiences in a way that traditional mediums struggle to achieve. As attention spans shorten and the world becomes more fast-paced, it can be challenging to capture the attention of individuals for extended periods. This is where the fusion of art and technology provides a unique opportunity. By using innovative tools like the LeiaPix Converter and Lume Pad 2, Cristina has been able to create immersive experiences that captivate her audience.

Instead of relying solely on traditional documentary work, Cristina leverages technology to present information in a more artistic and interactive manner. By showcasing her work on tablets and allowing people to explore and interact with the visuals, she effectively brings the topic of climate change and sustainable development to life. Through this approach, she aims to persuade people into caring about these issues, by creating awareness in an exciting and engaging way.

“We're literally at that point where we can make anything, so I feel like it's a really exciting time to be a creative. Anything's possible.”

One of the most significant advantages of technology in art is its ability to bridge gaps and inspire collaboration. Cristina's use of technology has allowed her to connect with diverse communities, including creative collaborators and indigenous communities in the Amazon. By sharing her knowledge and engaging in dialogue, she has been able to empower others to explore their own creativity.

The role of technology goes beyond the creation of art; it also plays a vital role in dissemination and impact. Cristina's use of projection mapping, slideshows, and other interactive elements has allowed her to initiate conversations about AI and its potential. By showcasing what is possible through creative uses of technology, she inspires others to think outside the box and embrace new possibilities.

While technology can be a powerful tool, it is important to use it with intention and purpose. Cristina believes in leveraging technology as a means of communication and connection, rather than simply for its own sake. By empowering others to create and inspiring them with the possibilities technology offers, she believes that lasting change can be achieved.

Cristina's work can serve as an inspiration to artists and creators just starting their journey. She emphasizes the importance of getting organized and exploring new ways to breathe life into existing work. Whether it's repurposing old images with AI tools or using generative AI to create new stories, the possibilities are endless.

Cristina hopes her work inspires change and support for Indigenous communities and the Amazon. She aims to plant seeds of awareness and encourage individuals to take even the smallest steps towards making a difference. Through her ongoing projects and collaborations, she hopes to create a permanent shift in the way we perceive and interact with the natural world.

“Playing video back in 3D compared to 2D feels more real. I think that if you don't see something and you don't experience something, you're unlikely to care, it's hard to tell people that haven't lived in the jungle and spent time there to care. But by seeing it closer and being able to share that experience, I feel like people are able to connect more. I have had way more conversations with people with my Lume Pad 2 than with my still photography work -  it feels like we're getting a step closer, into that reality and so I feel like it brings more connection overall.”

As the art and technology landscape continues to evolve, Cristina's journey serves as a testament to the power of creativity and innovation. By embracing technology and using it as a tool for social change, artists and creators have the ability to captivate, inspire, and make a lasting impact on the world around them.

To stay connected with Cristina and her work, you can visit her website or follow her on Twitter (@sonica) and Instagram (@cristinaisabelrivera). By supporting artists who are at the forefront of the intersection of art and technology for social change, we can all contribute to a more vibrant and impactful creative community. 

We also invite you to learn about the Rainforest Foundation, a non-profit that works to protect rainforests in partnership with indigenous people, for which Cristina is a consultant. They're using AI and technology to track land, teaching indigenous people how to use their phones, and bringing in drones for them to both mark and monitor their land.

For more inspiration, check out our creator spotlights on Kim Alban, Ben Desai and Andre Oshae!