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Reflections on 2013

A year ago, people thought the world was coming to an end. The Mayan prophecy would come true in December 21st 2012 and cataclysm would strike. But my people, the Mayans, did not predict the end of the world. They predicted the death of an old age, an old way of thinking, and the birth of a new age. An age of revolution in thought, an age of discovery, an age to start anew. Now, 5,126 years later, one of their descendants (as I learned this year I am 20% Mayan) is traveling through space, traveling through a new year of challenges.

Imagine you are in space. You are travelling through space at 2 parsecs per second, stars flying pass by you. Nebulas exploding, gravitational pull ignored, and then out of the corner of your eye you see one small planet, with chances of life! Chances of civilization! Chances of maybe finding a new species of organisms that other humans have never seeing before. Yet, maybe there is nothing there, maybe is nothing but an empty rock, an empty hope. Plus if you slow down you will lose time and will be hard to regain back the speed at which you’re traveling. But quick! You have a few seconds to make your decision! You are about to pass the planet and it will be too late! What do you do? Do you stop? Do you pass the chance and wait for a better opportunity? Quick! Decide! And then… That’s how 2013 felt for me.

This past year was a year of challenges. A successful one, but challenging nonetheless. It was a year of many “first” experiences. First time travelling in an airplane by myself, first time having a house, first time speaking in front of hundreds of people, first time not living with my parents, first time turning 21 (That only happens once in a life time though!) and the list goes on. It was definitely an accelerating year, from college classes, to presenting a game in front of hundreds of people in an international research conference. 2013 was definitely a year that challenged my determination like no other. So many times I could have chosen the easy path, I could have chosen to just “lay low” and walk instead of run. This would have make things way easier for me this year, way more easy, but if I would have taken this path, if I would have walked all the way to December, I would have not being able to take all the opportunities that crossed my path this year. It was tough, by the end of the year I was brought down to my knees barely able to keep up, barely able to stop to realize what was going on around me. I was challenged, my intellect was challenged, my morals and believes were challenged. It was a crazy ride; there were moments I did not know if anything was going to be worth it at the end. But finally the year came to a stop, and I was able to look around me and look back at the beginning of the year and realize that I survived the crazy ride. Every single mistake taught me something, and each mistake built up the road to success. Is nice to stop and breathe and feel proud. But a new year has started and a new challenge, a new planet somewhere in space, awaits me.

I am not sure what the Mayans predicted, I am not sure what they wanted for their descendants, but I can definitely say that I am not the same person from one year ago. I have definitely being through a personal revolution and I have grown a lot because of it. Does this mean, that maybe, just maybe, the Mayans were right?

The Bust of The Human Condition

We are a combination of emotions, memories, desires, goals and dreams. All of these emotions are kept inside of us adding weight to our soul and heart. Each experience, each person we meet, each decision we take, just adds more and more to the weight we gather through our lives. And sometimes this weight and pressure might just make us lose our head.

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The sculpture was created by making a mold of a torso with plaster bandages and then mixing concrete with vermiculite and one gallon of water. I mixed the sediments together for around half-hour to an hour and then casted it onto the mold. The mixture takes twice as long as regular concrete to settle and dry. The most difficult part of the process was to hold the consistency and structure of the sculpture while getting air pockets out, otherwise the sculpture would have crumbled when moved from place to place.

Preserving Nature

When nature fails to live up to the standards of human society, humans tend to come up with a way of “fixing” things, a way to “fix” nature.

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This installation was created by coating logs with concrete and installing them on dirt. Yet these logs are actually rotten in the inside to the point that they must be handle with care, they even have insects and fungi living inside of them. During the process of creating this piece, some logs crumbled as I was coating them making the process time consuming. The dirt also has parts of roots, insects and decaying plant matter that has being left intentionally to complement the piece.

GLS (Games Learning Society Conference)

For the past three months I’ve being preparing myself for the GLS, an international conference hosted by the University of Wisconsin for educators and researchers in the field of education and gaming. I was accepted as a speaker to showcase a serious game that I created to educate the audience about eco-friendly alternatives to oil drilling and safety in the oil rigs. The main focus of the conference is to bring awareness and innovation to the use of video game technology in the field of teaching.

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My experience in Wisconsin was incredible! It was my first time in the state of dairy products, and as is usual of me, I like to survive my way around an unknown place. Asking random people where to find certain place, or where to take the next bus, everyone that came to contact with me in the Madison area instantly knew that I was a “tourist”. As I finally made it to the dorm I was staying in at the University of Wisconsin Madison, the campus perplexed me. Beautiful trees with leaves falling down in slow motion with a romantic Spanish guitar in the background. Rows of beautiful aged building reminiscing of 18th century English country houses, a giant red castle imposing its magnificent figure in the middle of campus, and, of course, college students everywhere. I explored the surroundings immediately, stopping by a Mediterranean restaurant to have dinner, and then going to Walgreen respectively. I noticed that there were many Mediterranean restaurants around, a good number of Italian and German ones too, but mostly Middle Eastern restaurants in taste. Which was curious, because the majority of the people I encountered were Caucasians, or of East Asian descent, in fact I was the only one that looked of Hispanic descent around (later on my trip I found a large number of Middle Eastern communities in the vicinity), nonetheless, the food was great!

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The conference greeted all of its guests with excellence, from open buffet lunch and dinner, to open bar winery and local beers every night. The topics presented by researchers and video game designers were outstanding, ranging from how to implement video games into curriculum for in-class purposes, to how to think more critically about the content in video games to eliminate biases and racism. Although, each day was more demanding than the other, sometimes even going to five sessions per day, each session lasting one hour and a half to two hours. Finally the day of showcasing my video game happened. The game that I created by far had the best graphics of the conference; one of the main points of my application was that it could be play across any computer and browser and still hold most of its graphic qualities. I had many people from the medical industry, museums, and STEM schools tell me how impress they were by such application and how they’ve never seeing something like it. I explained to most of my audience that oil rigs are all across the world, yet no one really gets to see what’s going on in there, except for those certified to be there, and how this application mixes video game mechanics, design and technology to bring an educational experience to everyone. Although I thought it was hilarious that the favorite part of the game to everyone was the explosion of the oil rig when you are trying to escape an oil blow out (I am not sure if that is good or not!). Speaking for myself here, one of the most difficult things for this application was how to make all this content that is very specific to a certain jargon and career and make it fun and interactive for the general audience to understand.

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 At the end, the conference was a total success! I met people from the Czech Republic, had dinners with lead researchers and educators next to a beautiful lake, and even discussed about soccer with someone from the Netherlands. My video game performed well across the board, and I got to truly experience why I chose to be a video game designer, to witness people playing the game I created and see them enjoying it or hating it, I love their reactions to something that I worked so hard to accomplish. This is my first video game, but not the last one!

Don’t forget to check out the application at:

www.epicphotogear.com/harc/GLS

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EPIC SOFTWARE SCULPTURE

This will be the sculpture that will be constructed at the front of EPIC Software’s property. The sculpture will be created out of shipping container metal and will feature water and light elements! Also, the approximate size of the sculpture will be 9ftx9ft, and construction will start soon! So stay posted for pictures of progress and the big day that the sculpture will be completed!

EPIC Software Commission!

EPIC Software has granted me a commission to make a sculpture at the front of their property! This will be my first large sculpture that shall take place in The Woodlands! The sculpture will contain elements of water, light, and movable parts. 

I will keep everyone updated as the construction of the sculpture starts to take shape!

Grand Opening!

Hello everyone! and welcome to my artist blog! My artist blog is finally online and open for everyone to see! Check out my Art installations and my poetry page!

Also stay tuned for more poetry coming up! and new page of animations dedicated to the 3D models and animated clips I have made! 

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