Havana Streetview in full color

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Last May 27th the doors of the popular Cuban Art Factory (FAC) opened a little earlier than usual. The motive: to welcome the first public presentation of the project HSV and the awards ceremony of its First Contest. In thirty minutes at the most the place was packed with friends, participants and some onlookers who didn´t know exactly “what” was going on, but it was “something cool”.

Lázaro Eduardo Bermúdez, one of the founders of HSV along with Daymí Coll, presented a whole travel around the creative process of HSV before the audience, its sections, interactions and objectives. Among them, how a content page on Havana, made by Havanans from here and there, can become a self-generated and self-managed community by its own users. In any case, this is the proposed ideal setting.

To insert the website in the city that originates and inspires it, which is paradoxically of difficult access for Havanans that live in the country, HSV created its own strategy of getting in touch with the public, of approaching and disclosing itself to them. One of the first and more effective actions was the public announcement of the First contest HSV, on the categories of Cultural Poster, Publicity, Chronicle and Short Story. It was only addressed to people who live in Havana; the participation allowed a feedback from the place and a bigger reach within the city, at the same time that it generated new and fresh contents.

The first step was given; it was the time for the second one; to prepare the launch in situ of the project, as well as to award the winners of the contest. The jury was structured into two groups to work with the four categories. The first group was made up by Leonardo Sarría, Gladys González and Joanna Castillo, dedicated to evaluate the works of literature and journalism. The second jury, responsible of awarding the categories of design and publicity, was composed by Pepe Menéndez, Nelson Ponce and Cristina Figueroa. After evaluating the accepted works, the jury awarded “There are some things that are not to play” by Antonio Carballo in the category of short story and “Bus station: a life experience, 3 days” by Yonlay Cabrera in the category of chronicle. Likewise, by the quality of the presented works, they gave a mention to “Conversation in the garden” by the artist Leonardo Salgado. One curious thing about this award ceremony was the interweaving of disciplines, because in the category of journalism the winner was an Art Critic (Yonlay) and the mention of short story was to a plastic artist (Leonardo).

In the case of the category of Poster, the jury decided to evaluate six finalists due to their “level of self-expression and huge energy of the works” as they expressed in the award minutes. After a strict evaluation, finally the awarded piece was “Havana, in every existence” by the designer Eric Silva. In the category of advertisement, it was decided not to give any prize due to the reduced participation, where, in spite of having pieces of interests, they didn´t get the minimum amount to be able to choose a winner. This unexpected outcome could be a sign that, despite the openings graphic design is having from the numerous new private business in Havana, there are not enough spaces for the execution of graphic design for publicity.

The afternoon closed with a jam session by Vanito Brown, asking in his chorus and repeating the refrain, “let´s feel great” and, of course, if it is about Havana it was the perfect end to sing “Havana in full color”, which unconsciously became the core theme of Havana Streetview: a site about Habana in full color.

Cristina Figueroa

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