Artist Ernesto Oroza graduated from Havana’s Superior Design Institute in the mid-1990s during Cuba’s economic crisis, the so-called “Special Period in the Time of Peace”. The Special Period began as the Soviet Union collapsed and withdrew support from Cuba, and resulted in severe energy shortages, malnutrition, and a cultural overhaul. Armed with ideas about the ways he and other Cubans were devising solutions to scarcity, Oroza forged his creative thesis. He explored peoples’ inventiveness through the objects and machines they crafted, not solely in response to basic needs, but to transcend the poverty of circumstances.
In this documentary which I produced, shot, and edited, Oroza reveals his investigation of these eclectic artifacts, many of which vividly illustrate what he has coined the “technological disobedience” of their creators. A discussion of these objects, still in common use, reflects Cuba’s unique culture and its challenges.