That Which Contains Emptiness is a series of multimedia works by Rodolfo Peraza exploring the interiors of abandoned historical spaces designed for social engineering and control. From this series, JailHead.com (2009/2017) is an ongoing web-based project that recreates in virtual reality the Cuban Presidio Modelo, an abandoned prison built after Bentham's Panopticon penitentiary model. The jail is located on the former Isla los Pinos—an island southwest of Cuba, now named Isla de la Juventud—and was considered a definitive example of efficient prisoner control. It became emblematic for housing historical figures both pre- and post-Cuban Revolution, including Fidel and Raúl Castro.
By virtually mirroring this existing architecture, JailHead.com explores internet surveillance as a regular praxis exercised by internet service providers (ISPs), governments, and corporations in our daily use of the internet. Wearing an Oculus Rift device, players are able to "walk through" the cells of the prison in an immersive experience. Conceived as a multiplayer video game, it can be played via a game server over the internet with other players around the world. Users' IP addresses become their "inmate" numbers, and they are able to interact with other inmates who are online at the same time.
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Rodolfo Peraza graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Camagüey, Cuba (1999) and earned an MFA in sculpture from ISA, the University of the Arts in Havana, Cuba (2005). He is the founder of Fanguito Estudio, an independent artist-run space in Havana dedicated to new media art. Since 2007 he has been developing software for video games and interactive works and showing internationally in places such as LOOP Barcelona, Perez Art Museum Miami, Mocca Museum in Toronto, the XXXI Biennial of Pontevedra in Galicia, and the XII Havana Biennial. Peraza's work is represented in collections such as the Jumex collection in Mexico City and AGO Museum in Toronto. Questions of isolation, loneliness, and identity are constant in Peraza's work, while his concerns go beyond the confines of geography through technology. Using the internet, social media, and animation, his body of work explores the moral, spiritual, and social modes of conduct governing society. He is particularly interested in big data analysis and digital culture and how these overlap with the visual arts.