Chile From Within

El Mercurio is in the Google Earth GIS (SIG) Mapping Business!

Posted in chile, Corruption, monopoly, Pinochet, technology by tomasdinges on November 19, 2007

Europa Technologies, TeleAtlas, DMapas/El Mercurio, NASA. Sound familiar maybe? For users of Google Earth (GE) these are the organizations that show up on the first page of the Google Earth global view. Rotate the globe and depending upon the image or frame the company responsible for that image changes. Sometimes instead of TeleAtlas, its Digital Globe, or Terrametrics, for example. Zoom into another level of closeness and one finds yourself in a world brought to you by a whole different level of companies or organizations.

Google Earth front Page
The globe in front of your eyes. All the geographical and cartographical richness that we depend upon, or fawn over for our travel fantasies, or fly with like when we dreamed we flew, roofers who make estimates for customers and business data, geo-tracking, for example, brought to you by these folks. They must be pretty important people to be involved with such an awe-inspiring and occassionally fearsome initiative as Google Earth.

What they all do, and how they do it, I’m not exactly sure. There is a Google Earth bulletin board you can seek out more information.

Europa Technologies, according to a bulletin board post by Warren Vick for Google Earth folks, is a “Supplier of places, airports, coastlines and borders data to GE.” In other places it is listed as “first level administrative border information.”

Terrametrics does, “pure uncompressed NASA source data lineage,” basically the global satellite imagery for Google Earth to a resolution of 15 meters per pixel.

DMapas/EL MERCURIO does, well, I don’t know…they provide “Map Data.” What is “Map Data” in Google Earth world? Wait, is this Grupo de Empresas El Mercurio? Is this the newspaper we love to hate for its control over the media environment in Chile getting into the GIS and mapping business? Is this the owner of La Segunda, Las Ultimas Noticias and almost all of the regional newspapers in Chile, the home of Hermogenes Perez de Arce, and Agustin Edwards. Is this the company of newspapers who were willing participants in the propaganda efforts of the conservative Chile before and after the coup by Pinochet?

Yes. What does it mean for the quality of information that DMapas is providing?

El Mercurio was famously known in the Sixties for having been the subject of a saying that is still regularly cited today. “El Mercurio miente.” The newspaper was known for documenting and speaking for the interests of the powerful and wealthy in Chile. Up to this day despite its presence in the Grupo de Diarios de las Americas, a prestigious association of 11 newspapers throughout Latin America (and Spain) it is still accused of having a conservative ideological drive to its coverage of news and politics. See its Wikipedia entry.

For good reason, people have credibility issues with El Mercurio. Is there a reason why we should question the legitimacy and quality of their mapping info, through their company, DMapas?

Will they engage in ommission, or commission, of places and names, doing something like cartographical revisionism. Is there a way to subvert google earth with ideology and control over content, like newspapers have historically been used. Is Web 2.0 subject to poisoning? See this recent Wall Street Journal article on activists using Google Earth for data mapping for an example of the positive uses of what I mean.

Below, a known malady in Chilean society. I’ve heard statistics that Chile is the number three consumer of Coca-Cola per capita in the world. This image below is found a few miles outside of the northernmost large city of Chile, Arica and was done in 1986 to commemorate 100 years of Coca-Cola. Ahhh, the liberty, the carbonation, the red and the white, the wave, the iconic imagery, the cocaine, the salt, the high fructose corn-syrup, the citric acid, the decadent rot, now rampant through Latin America, in my refrigerator and on my desk.

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NOW PLAYING!!! Chile Film in NYC

Posted in chile, Chile culture, Chile film, Pinochet, Santiago, US, video art, Viva Chile by tomasdinges on November 11, 2007

Chilean Cinema has come to America…kind of.

A respectable showing of films made in Chile is at the Quad-Cinema on 13th St, in a neighborhood where Bar Six is, where I met the guy who imports Los Amantes mezcal (like tequila, except smoky, more hallucinogenic and if poor quality, a worse hangover).

It is here, one block from the lefty New School, where selections from the whole gamut of Chilean filmography will be displayed from the 9th to the 14th. Most of the contemporary films are from around 2005, when it seemed like Chilean film had woken up from years of forcefully induced sleep and was prepared to open its eyes and speak again. We are still waiting for what else it has to say. Chileans at the New School for a loose conference with Bize, Lelio and Wood talked about their films in the film festival. Bize and other Chileans there, including Jeronimo Rodriguez, a Chilean film critic at NY 1, gave me the indication that there is, in fact, a new and upcoming crop of youngsters with much to say. It may be a simplistic indicator…but just go to YouTube and check out Chilean 15 year olders on film.

Films from past include the recently retouched version of the film by Miguel Littin, El Chacal de Nahueltoro, to Patricio Guzman, who I love to hate because its just so simple, with La Memoria Obstinada, and Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Fando y Lis, his first feature film. Also, Silvio Caiozzi, who I know nothing about.

Contemporary offerings include portrayals of the under-thirty, Post-Pinochet, film-making world by Matias Bize with En La Cama (originally shown in 2006 at the MOMA) and Sebastian Lelio (Campos) Sagrada Familia.

La Sagrada Familia was written up by the New York Times with lukewarm but positive results, and the Village Voice with destructive results. Both of these folks and their generational counterparts, which include Alicia Scherson of Play (who is doing a take on a Roberto Bolano story), were fawned over by the French film magazine Cahiers du Cinema back at the Valdivia Film Festival of 2005, when they all were screened publicly. Bize just one a couple awards at Valdivia for his new film Lo Bueno de Llorar.

Also, see Padre Nuestro, by Rodrigo Sepulveda, which I know nothing about, but was selected by the Chilean film industry to be the official selection to the Oscar foreign language film category.

Also the documentary by Maria Elena Wood, La Hija del General, which tracks Chile’s first female president from a year out of the election. It’s like a film write-around, like Guy Talese’s profile of Frank Sinatra! For the first four months of filming the director was denied all but public access to her subject.

The history of the family, the director has said, is like the history of Chile of the past forty years. A valuable portrait by the journalist sister of Andres Wood, the director of the film, Machuca.

C.hileno. A review. Vote.

Posted in chile, Chile culture, People and Places, Santiago, US, Viva Chile by tomasdinges on November 3, 2007

Prolific, sardonic, witty, now less reactionary and increasingly, experienced, Mr. Sherman’s blog is mysteriously called Chileno. Hailing from the West Coast, this lad settled in Chile for just under two years and has made a life of himself here. Now his blog has been nominated for the Best Latino, Caribbean or South American blog of the 2007 Weblog Awards. I say vote for C.hileno.

Part of his life is his blog. Part of his blog is his life. This is good for his readers, a mix of international travelers (both dumb and informed), expats (spammers and non-spammers alike), lurkers, other generation folks with a past connection to Chile and increasingly, Chileans. This is both a resource site and an opinion site. Its a place to try and get a feeling for what the hell is going on in Chile. Lots of good use of photo and video. Seriously.

His sharp and fired-up commentary will take you to an understanding of Chile far beyond whatever you could glean from the tired rehash regularly found at The Santiago Times or always found with expat bloggers who try to sell real-estate (not like Kylie, who is recently married.)

But, tread lightly on the spider’s web. C.hileno loves his readers for their light and their dark, their opinion and their misinformation. Chile is a paradise of misinformation and half-baked thinking and Chileno sees the low-hanging fruit.

Words are his life-force and Will loves a good argument.

He pounces mercilessly upon the legions of jack-asses unwitting enough to realize that Will’s combined powers of the pen and the mind have both greater endurance and logical coherency than most. He is an educated, literate and a skeptical gringo in a hate/love relationship with Chile. He is a far cry from a knee-jerk liberal romanticist whose understanding of Chile is based on human rights protests in the 1980’s, a love of arpillera’s and Salvador Allende. Or, alternatively, those who like to read in the classroom about democracy in transition, human rights protests in the 1980’s, a love of arpillera’s and Salvador Allende. His literacy and now-life experiences are reflecting a more complex understanding of Chile.

He does have a deep sense of social justice despite having occasional trust issues with the service industry. C.hileno touches regularly upon the great inequalities and injustices in Chilean society. He backs them up with information and statistics and occasional interviews with players (which he should do more often.) that you would probably be too lazy to find yourself. And when he is too lazy to find it, then he’ll ask you to help.

Sherman is also a very good writer, so even if you find his content reactionary, frivolous, uninformed, naive or spammy, its still very entertaining.

Take for example his recent post and commentary on the school-yard blowjob video later posted on Youtube, Wena Naty. Where else would you get a discussion on the Gini coefficient spinning off of a Wena Naty post?

In my closest flirtation with spam in my life, Vote for C.hileno in the 2007 Weblog Awards, for the best of the nominated blogs in Latin America.

Although, I mean it, and I write what I mean.