Our social reality, described everyday as globalization, provokes an huge impact in our culture, and the way we come across and approach it is the first element to be affected…these are everchanging times we’re living in, faithfully portrayed in cultural realms: science and technology are conceived only by marketing-oriented interests – efficiency, profit, and function generating a new concept of reality. Thus, via mass communication media, an aesthetic sense, a vision of happiness, a perception of reality, and even a language, which is being forced as authentic culture, have been introduced. This finally destroys what is authentically human in cultural building-up processes, coming from personal and collective interchange. In macro terms, a new cultural colonization, generated via overlapping artificial cultures, disdaining local expressions and imposing an homogenized culture in every area of society is being verified. (Excerpt from V Latin America and the Caribbean Bishopric General Conference Conclusions. Aparecida, Brasil, 2007).
From now on, living inside global patterns will be inevitable, and, according to this paradigm, recent revolutions in technology and the so-called ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies,) have implied the full-scale implementation of the World Wide Web via Internet. In this global village conception, the Net offers itself as an educational tool, promoting access to information and generation of knowledge, thus disseminating and preserving our everyday smashed folklore, tradition and ancestral heritage. Thus, we can go forward according to the global process we are experiencing as human beings, and, at the same time, stimulate younger generations to value the culture they come from more successfully, for they are the sons and daughters of digital age, born and raised in it, recognizing themselves in this environment.
Fiestas Religiosas de Atacama is the first stage of a process involving compiling, ordering, and inventory of documentation, oriented towards web platforms as a means of preservation, and, at the same time, a mass communication and dissemination media for the living expression of fiestas religiosas in Atacama. It is an invitation to merge into a universe of cultural traditions from Northern Chile… colors, sounds, images, symbols, dancing, music, faith and beliefs of the local people, who, by their art-life relationship, seek maintaining themselves in permanent connection and dialog with the divinidad, and their way of walking their road to transcendence. It is the testimony of their protagonists, Bailes Religiosos’ promeseros, who, with great personal efforts, organize raffles, bingoes, plato único dinners or completadas (chilean hot dogs sales) all year long to raise the money for financing costumes, instruments, transportation and catering. In deep love and respect, I dedicate and offer this work to all of you.
Alexander Ortega Sepúlveda