Oct 12, 2015

Exploring Cultural Identity and Heritage

Smithsonian Latino Center (SLC)

Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum Day of the Dead/ Día de los Muertos

"Our interaction is real, our engagement is genuine, and our fascination with exploring our identities through avatars is an ongoing project that has created a life-long learning environment." –Maria Miranda Maloney
Exploring Cultural Identity through Avatars and Hashtags
Macuilxochtzin, La China Poblana and La Llorona, represent the oral traditions of Latin American oral histories. They are part of the history of ancestral and indigenous communities. 
The immersion and sensory-rich experiences, such as writing, reading poetry, performing music in a world outside of our real world is transformative.
The Mesoamerican ballgame and ball court and the significance of the rubber ball (the discovery of rubber substance by the Olmec): The ball game played on a court with a rubber ball and two opposing teams; although the game was found in islands of the Caribbean, as far south as the Amazon and as far north as the American Southwest. Different games had religious significance and involved human sacrifice. – Dr. Jane MacLaren Walsh, Ph.D. , Curator, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

Since pets are also considered part of our lives, we also honor them at the LVM Pet Virtual Cemetery.

Dead Poets Open Mic Series
Dead Poets Open Mic is a community outreach program presented annually during Day of the Dead. It is a space that inspires poems and narratives around life and death. Writers, artists and scholars gather around in the LVM Sin Fronteras Café to honor life and the return of departed loved ones and ancestral spirits.

Guest poet Viva Flores, embodies the virtual body politic with engaging live poetic performance.

"The Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum is perhaps one of the best spaces where artistic expression has thrived since its conception. The space has played a role in “expanding our experience of other lives, other spaces, and other ways of being.” (Biocca). Upon entering this space, the user whether artist, writer, musician or visitor, becomes a participant." –Maria Miranda Maloney-Mouthfeel Press

Students from The University of Texas at El Paso joined students from Howard University in a series of exercises in identity construction via avatar and hashtag creation.

Howard University students shared their process and ideas on how identity is represented and interpreted in various cultural contexts.

Exploring Cultural Identity and Heritage in Real and Virtual Spaces.
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