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Focus On Puerto Rico : Rafael Vargas Bernard

Rafael Vargas Bernard utilizes performance, sound, programming, sculpture, video, painting, humor, and drawing in his creative practice. He employs readily accessible materials and technologies, found objects, and a utilitarian esthetic.


For his Focus Puerto Rico residency project, entitled "Trío Little San Juan", Bernard will explore nostalgia resilience, futility, fervor, and introspection. This project intends to explore these ideas in the context of the Puerto Rican culture in the Wynwood area of Miami, FL,  through a collaboration with three members of the local Puerto Rican community, each from a different generation. 


"Trío Little San Juan", is a reference to El Trío San Juan; a Puerto Rican Bolero trio formed in 1948 in New York City. Inviting multi-generational collaborators to participate in his project, to contribute their thoughts on the past, present, and future of the Puerto Rican diaspora in Wynwood, he will develop his project by recording individual as well as group interview sessions. Participants will also be asked to help facilitate objects, memorabilia, and photographs pertinent to the local history and culture of Little San Juan.

The collaborators will be invited to participate in a culminating performance, which activates the project's installation in its final iteration. The project installation is to consist of an interactive generative video that combines, layers and manipulates photographs and videos of the Puerto Rican community in Wynwood and the collected audio. Additionally, the final project will feature three interactive sound generating sculptures.