Back in the 1960’s, when the United States left Cuba, it took the majority of Cuba’s engineers with it. Then, in the 1970’s a culture of self-taught innovation emerged from the remaining scientists, revolutionaries, mechanics, and common folk. They formed the National Association of Innovators and Rationalizers (ANIR).
Then, when the USSR ended enormous subsidies to Cuba in 1990, the “Special Period in the Time of Peace” started, and brought with it a huge change. The combination of a collapsed economy and thirty years of isolation reimagined a society of invention – citizens built and created brilliant devices when no other options were available. Ernesto Oroza is a Cuban-American artist who took an interest in such devices.
In his movement titled “Technological Disobedience”, Oroza shows his collection of machines and contraptions from this era. And they really are quite genius! Speaking of his countrymen and their experience, Oroza says, “As the crisis became more severe, people’s creativity grew more powerful, and everywhere you looked, you saw solutions to the needs that people faced all the time, in every aspect of life. Transportation, children’s toys, food, clothing…everything was replaced with substitutes produced by the people.”
The following video from Motherboard shows Oroza’s collection, and he explains the motivation behind the movement. Enjoy!
Written by Raven Fon