In 1998 the Fundación Telefónica instituted VIDA - the International Art and Artificial Life Competition - in order to stimulate artistic creativity based on emerging new technologies and artificial life. In this year’s event - the 12th - 136 pieces of work were entered by artists from 27 countries. On this occasion, we should highlight the participation of Latin American artists as well as the large number of projects related to biotechnology and its relationship to the environment. Within the framework of this competition, it is also worth mentioning that the winning works at VIDA 9.0 and 11.0 were presented in July at the Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. The exhibition, entitled Petit Mal, was visited by 144,000 people.
As is customary, in 2009 the Fundación Telefónica and the Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires awarded prizes to the works and projects of young Argentinian creators who, through artistic language, investigate the relationship with today's technological universe. The MAMBA-Fundación Telefónica award, now in its sixth year, is the only one of its kind to be held in Latin America.
Set up by the Fundación Telefónica in 2000, this online digital macro-museum, one of the first of its kind in the world, gives internet users an interactive 3D visit of 53 monuments, sites and natural spaces, representing the very best of Spanish, Latin American and Moroccan artistic, cultural and historic heritage. Each of the virtual visits allows the discovery, with an incredible degree of realism, of a great number of details and ‘secrets’, some of which are not normally accessible to the general public. 2009 saw Seville Cathedral recreated in arsVIRTUAL, to be followed by a recreation of Santiago de Compostela Cathedral and the Roman city of Emérita Augusta, today’s Mérida, work on which will be completed in 2010.
Throughout 2009 the Fundación Telefónica continued to digitize the written documents and imagenes of special value from a number of archives, in order to ensure their conservation and facilitate universal access to their content. Among the digitized material, the following are worthy of special mention: the documentary archive of the Joan Miró Foundation, the Catalonia National Art Museum Library, the Palau Library of Catalan Music and the Espigas Foundation Photo Library in Argentina.
Finally, the Fundación Telefónica has, since 1992, been responsible for the management and conservation of the Telefónica Group’s historical-technological heritage, considered to be one of the most important in the world and which consists of equipment and pieces that offer a global vision of the origin and development of telecommunications throughout history. This collection is made available through the Museo de las Telecomunicaciones in Spain and the Núcleo Memoria Telefónica in Brazil in an educational and fun way, which especially appeals to youngsters.
In order to celebrate ten years of the Fundación Telefónica in Brazil, part of the Núcleo Memoria Telefónica collection was exhibited under the title “So far, yet so near: telecommunications and society” at the Brazilia National Museum. The exhibition was hugely successful, both from the public’s perspective, visited as it was by over 46,850 people, and that of reviewers and critics.