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Professor from Los Andes, curator of the art gallery at SIGGRAPH 2018

Andrés Burbano oversaw selecting the works for one of the most important global galleries exhibiting art and technological innovation.

Andrés Burbano oversaw selecting the works for one of the most important global galleries exhibiting art and technological innovation.

Andrés Burbano oversaw selecting the works for one of the most important global galleries exhibiting art and technological innovation.
Andrés Burbano oversaw selecting the works for one of the most important global galleries exhibiting art and technological innovation.
20/12/2018
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SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group on Computer GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques) is an annual event and the world´s biggest conference on computer graphics and interactive media. Close to twenty thousand professionals, users, developers, educators, students, artists, and scientists get together to share the highest level of creative technology and research on the latest trends in animation, games, interactive graphics, virtual reality, and real-time computer graphics. This year the conference was held in August in Vancouver, Canada. 

Every year the conference is held alongside the SIGGRAPH Art Gallery, for which professor Andres Burbano from the Department of Design at the Universidad de los Andes was asked to be art gallery chair of the art and technology gallery.

For close to two years, Burbano received recommendations from innovating projects and visited different artists; he was looking for creative practices that were mediated through technology. From fifty proposals from all around the world, he chose twelve works that explored the topic of narratives from indigenous communities. 

The 2018 edition of the art gallery was called “Original narratives”. For Burbano – the challenge of proposing something different was embodied in works of art from contemporary media, pieces of art from indigenous communities, and other fragments of ludic practices from technological mediation.
A selection of works presented 

She Falls For Ages

Skawennati Fragnito


She Falls for Ages is a science fiction narration of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois people who are a historically powerful native North American confederacy of Aboriginal nations. The piece was produced using a new media technique known as machinima. The story, which was created by Skawennati Fragnito, reimagines Sky World as a futuristic utopia and Sky Woman as a courageous astronaut and creator of the world. When she finds out that her planet is dying, Sky Woman volunteers to become the seed of the new world: an Earth covered with water. She Falls for Ages audaciously mixes old narration with science fiction to connect the deep past with the distant future.

Transformation Mask

Shawn Hunt – Independent artist 


Transformation Mask is a collaboration between Microsoft Vancouver and independent artist Shawn Hunt. Hunt moves away from the hand-made and explores the authenticity as well as our expectations of what it means to be indigenous by eliminating hand-engraved surfaces. The mask appropriates the traditional aspects of metamorphosis with the transformation of the mask from bird to man. However, in this adaptation, the human mask has been changed, improved, and fused with the machine. This piece incorporates elements from technology, sound, and space. As such, each part of the work reflects Hunt´s interest in how we identify with and understand the word “indigenous”. 

You are the Ocean

Ozge Samanci and Gabriel Caniglia

You are the Ocean is an interactive installation created in Northwestern University that generates ocean waves and clouds as a response to the participant´s brainwaves. Elements such as water, light, clouds, and rays are realistically simulated by computer code. In order to experience the installation, the participant uses EEG headphones (electroencephalography) that measure their estimated attention and levels of mediation through their brain waves. Relaxation and concentration allow the participant to control the water and the sky while the attention level affects the storm: a higher level of concentration leads to an increase in the waves and the clouds become heavier. When the mind is calm, the participant can create a calm ocean. 

Somnium

Danny Bazo, Marko Peljhan, and Karl Yerkes


Have you ever asked yourself how it would feel to be on another planet? To provide this experience, the artists created the cybernetic installation Somnium. Visitors can contemplate, feel, and understand exoplanetary discoveries, as well as their micro and macro dimensions, and the potential for life in our galaxy. 

Burbano is a professor in the Department of Design at Universidad de los Andes, and he has a PhD in Art, Media, and Technology from the University of California in Santa Barbara where he wrote his dissertation on the history of technology in the media in Latin America. In 2017, he was academic chair of ISEA in the Potential Spaces conference at ZKM and visiting professor in the University of Kerms in Austria. In 2018, Burbano was named as chair of the Siggraph Art Gallery.

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THE JAPANESE CENTER AT LOS ANDES IS OPEN FOR EVERYONE

The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
The center´s inauguration strengthens relations between the Government of Japan and the Universidad de los Andes, who have created a partnership to promote culture, academia, as well as economic issues.
20/12/2018
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The Japanese Center for Culture, Economy, and Academia – The Japanese Center opened its gates to the public on December 3rd. 

The inauguration took place as part of very important celebrations for Colombia and the land of the rising sun: it was one of the most significant events to commemorate 100 years of friendship between the two countries and part of the celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the university. 

The new center was built through collaboration with Universidad de los Andes, a group of companies with ties to Japan, and the Government of Nippon.

Its principal objective is to strengthen mutual understanding between the two countries, not only on a governmental level but also for the general population in areas relating to culture, academia, and economics. 

This new center is looking to become a focal point and consultation center for students, businessmen, and academics who are interested in establishing contact with the oriental nation. The public will have access to information from the private sector, which will make Japanese companies more visible and strengthen their relationship with them.

Similarly, the Japanese Center will provide a space for the development of classes and workshops on the Japanese language, and it will also be a place to bolster the promotion and understanding of Japanese culture.

Prior to the center´s inauguration, throughout the year, the Universidad de los Andes and the Embassy of Japan in Colombia have been developing a very active cultural strategy, which has included activities such as concerts, workshops, lectures, and further education classes.

After being opened, and for the first event hosted in its facilities, the Japanese Center has prepared a special photographic exhibition that present the history of Japanese migration to Colombia: a history that is one hundred years old. 

For more information on the Japanese Center, please visit THIS webpage.

THE JAPANESE CENTER

Address: Calle 18A # 0 – 07 Block Ñe

Telephone: (+57-1) 339 4949 Ext. 4874

Opening Hours:

Monday – Friday 10:00 – 17:00

Saturdays 9:00 – 13:00

EMBASY OF JAPAN IN COLOMBIA – Culture and Press Secretary

www.colombia.emb-japan.go.jp

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The global harp ambassador performs a concert in Los Andes

27 year-old Elisabeth Plank is the global harp ambassador.
27 year-old Elisabeth Plank is the global harp ambassador.
27 year-old Elisabeth Plank is the global harp ambassador.
27 year-old Elisabeth Plank is the global harp ambassador.
20/12/2018
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Young Austrian harpist Elisabeth Plank performed in the Alberto Lleras Camargo auditorium in the Universidad de los Andes to an audience of 150 who enjoyed sublime melodies full of romanticism. 

Plank is known throughout the world as a soloist and harp ambassador. She came to Los Andes after concerts in Chile, Argentina, and Brazil.

She has played in renowned places and in festivals such as the Wiener Musikverein, the Mozarthaus in Vienna, the Young Classic Europe Festival "Arpissima", and the World Harp Congress as well as concerts in Japan and South America.

As a soloist, Elisabeth Plank has played with orchestras such as the Praga Camerata, the Thüringer Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Baroque Ensemble of the Vienna Symphony.

The young harpist has been awarded numerous prizes in national and international competitions in Germany, Austria, Italy, and Japan (including Musica Juventutis, Internationaler Reinl-Wettbewerb, and the Osaka International Music Competition).

In 2014, Elisabeth Plank was given the Young Celebrity Master position at the HarpMasters Festival. 

This concert was held thanks to the alliance between the Ambassador of Austria and the Cultural Center at the Universidad de los Andes.

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UNIVERSITY OF GIESSEN AND LOS ANDES TO CREATE INFORMATION EXCHANGE CENTERS

The team from the Justus Liebig University Giessen during their visit to Colombia with Pablo Navas - vice-chancellor of the Universidad de los Andes.
The team from the Justus Liebig University Giessen during their visit to Colombia with Pablo Navas - vice-chancellor of the Universidad de los Andes.
The team from the Justus Liebig University Giessen during their visit to Colombia with Pablo Navas - vice-chancellor of the Universidad de los Andes.
The team from the Justus Liebig University Giessen during their visit to Colombia with Pablo Navas - vice-chancellor of the Universidad de los Andes.
The team from the Justus Liebig University Giessen during their visit to Colombia with Pablo Navas - vice-chancellor of the Universidad de los Andes.
The team from the Justus Liebig University Giessen during their visit to Colombia with Pablo Navas - vice-chancellor of the Universidad de los Andes.
The team from the Justus Liebig University Giessen during their visit to Colombia with Pablo Navas - vice-chancellor of the Universidad de los Andes.
The team from the Justus Liebig University Giessen during their visit to Colombia with Pablo Navas - vice-chancellor of the Universidad de los Andes.
The team from the Justus Liebig University Giessen during their visit to Colombia with Pablo Navas - vice-chancellor of the Universidad de los Andes.
The team from the Justus Liebig University Giessen during their visit to Colombia with Pablo Navas - vice-chancellor of the Universidad de los Andes.
20/12/2018
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The main objective of the Information Exchange Center, which will be created both in the University of Giessen and the Universidad de los Andes, is to promote the exchange of students, teachers, and researchers between Germany and Colombia.

Joybrato Mukherjee, vice-chancellor of the Justus Liebig University Giessen in Germany, and Pablo Navas, vice-chancellor of the Universidad de los Andes signed the partnership agreement that will join efforts in strengthening scientific cooperation and promoting study programs from both universities.

“This is the first agreement of this kind that we have made at Giessen, where we have established an information exchange center and offer infrastructure for Los Andes´ office in our university” said Joybrato Mukherjee vice-chancellor of Justus Liebig University Giessen.

He added that these information centers will be helpful to facilitate recruiting students and scientists from both countries, explain the education systems, and strengthen the relationship between Giessen and Los Andes, which has already lasted for fifty years. 

During the signing of the agreement, Vice-Chancellor Pablo Navas highlighted the bonds of friendship that have been constructed with the University of Giessen since 1967 when a cooperation agreement was signed between the German university and the Latin American university. 

Since the agreement was signed, the two institutions have continuously worked together to promote scientific and academic development in Colombia. 

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MEMORY OF A FORGOTTEN DISEASE

Chagas disease is not commonly studied, but globally it affects six million people.
Chagas disease is not commonly studied, but globally it affects six million people.
20/12/2018
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Close to six million people are infected with Chagas disease each year; and it is estimated that twelve million die from not having received adequate medical treatment. In Colombia, there are at least 600,000 confirmed infected people, and 20% of the population is vulnerable to being infected. 

Chagas disease is a silent disease. This means that it ´disguises´ the symptoms until they have caused irreversible damage such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

This tropical disease is transmitted in different ways, but the most common way is through being bitten by the pito: the insect that carries the Trypanosoma Cruzi parasite.

Initial symptoms of Chagas can be confused with simple flu-like symptoms as they include fever, unwellness, and small red areas of the skin that disappear after a week. 

However, people may not develop further symptoms for ten years or more, during which time Chagas may have affected the heart and even led to death.

Felipe Guhl, emeritus professor at the Universidad de los Andes and one of the biologists who has spent most time studying this pathology in the country states that, “the Chagas cardiomyopathy is chronic, slow-developing, and its symptoms take a long time to appear in adults; in children it is almost always fatal”. 

Although the main vector that transmits the disease is insects carrying the parasite, it can also be spread through blood transfusions, which means that its reach has spread to urban and non-tropical areas.

Chagas disease is dangerous not because it is a silent disease: this cannot be changed. It is dangerous because it is a forgotten disease: it is not a priority for the governments in any one of the 17 countries in South America inhabited by the pito.

Guhl, director of the Center for Microbiology and Tropical Parasitology Research (Cimpat) explains that, “It is forgotten because it mainly affects people from low socio-economic levels: campesinos and people who live in huts and other poorly constructed homes”.

The pito mainly lives in forested areas and thrives in wall-cracks and where domestic animals sleep. It can also hide and reproduce in fallen leaves and piles of rubbish. Chagas is a disease that is related to poverty; therefore, not many laboratories are interested in investing in producing a vaccine that will not generate sufficient economic return. 

Colombia is, however, one of the countries that has shown most interested in this disease. 

This is thanks to studies undertaken by the Universidad de los Andes starting in the 1970s through an agreement between the Government of Holland and the National Planning Department. 

This agreement gave rise to a partnership between the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam and the Universidad de los Andes. In 1970, Cornelis Johannes Marinkelle founded the Microbiological and Parasitological Centre (MPC), which later became the Center for Microbiology and Tropical Parasitology Research (Cimpat).

The creation of Cimpat led to advances both in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease in Colombia: in 1995, the Center and the National Health Institute undertook research with a significant sample of people to find out how many adults over the age of 18 had donated infected blood. 

The results found that in departments such as Norte de Santander, Santander, and Arauca 25% of donors had the disease. The figures led to the Ministry of Health issuing Decree 1738 of 1995, which established mandatory screening of all donors on a national level. Cimpat has also been involved with Chagas disease cooperation initiatives between Andean countries as it has hosted, for example, the 1997 Conference for Diseases Transmitted by Vectors in the Andean Area, which was organized by the Ministry of Health.

Between 1999 and 2003, Cimpat, the Universidad Industrial de Santander, and the Colombian Institute of Tropical Medicine undertook a study of hamlets from fifteen departments to characterize homes, collect insects, and establish the number of people who are at risk of being affected. 

The result was a risk map that allowed the Chagas disease situation in the country to be characterized as well as how and where the vector insects are distributed and, most importantly, the risk of being infected. The research project, which was financed by the Ministry of Health, produced an epidemiological model for the government that can be used as a tool so that, as Guhl concluded, “the scarce resources for the control of this disease can be used rationally and effectively in the places that need it”.

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Los Andes, fifth best university in Latin America

According to QS World University Rankings, Los Andes is ranked first in Colombia

The university has been in the top-10 best universities in Latin America since 2014

According to QS World University Rankings, Los Andes is ranked first in Colombia
According to QS World University Rankings, Los Andes is ranked first in Colombia
20/12/2018
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In the 2019 QS World University Ranking, according to the British company, the Universidad de los Andes is ranked fifth in Latin America: an improvement of three places since the previous year. The university has been in the top-10 Latin American universities since 2014. 

Three other Colombian universities are also in the top-20 in the region: the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (10th), the Universidad de Antioquia (15 th), and the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (17 th).

The QS rankings analyzes eight criteria: academic reputation (30%), employer reputation (20%), teacher/ student ratio (10%), number of teaching staff with a PhD (10%), citations per publication (10%), number of publications per professor (5%), the international research network (10%), and web impact (5%). The average score for all of these elements evaluated was 95.7/ 100.

On a regional level, employer reputation was the strongest indicator for the Universidad de los Andes with 99.9/100. Academic reputation also stood out with 99.3/ 100, as did international research network with 97.8/ 100. 

Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) is a British company established in 1990 and a global higher education network. Since 2004, it has ranked universities on a global as well as regional level (Asia, Latin America, the Arab States, EECA countries, and the BRIC countries) by subject areas, by employability, by student cities, etc. 

For the Latin American rankings, QS measures universities in the region using surveys, primary sources and tools as well as secondary information to create a ranking of the best 300 institutions, which are ranked according to the weight of the indicators. 

Click HERE for the complete QS World University Ranking.

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