Carlos Motta, The Good Life



Oct 24, 2008
Public Program
Democracy and Bureaucracy Panel
Sep 26, 2008
Fall 2008 Exhibitions Opening
Sep 27, 2008–Dec 13, 2008
Carlos Motta, The Good Life
New Commissions

Carlos Motta, The Good Life

Carlos Motta


Since 2005, Carlos Motta has recorded over 360 video interviews with pedestrians on the streets of twelve cities in Latin America. The questions he asked covered topics such as individuals’ perceptions of the United States’ foreign policy, democracy, leadership, and governance, and its history of interventions in Latin America and elsewhere. His research resulted in a wide spectrum of responses, with opinions varying according to local histories of U.S. involvement in the region, and specific forms of government in each country.

The Good Life (www.la-buena-vida.info) is an internet archive that features Motta’s interviews, and provides several ways to search the material such as: the type of question asked and the particular themes expressed by the interviewees, organized by city, gender, age group, or occupation. The interviews were recorded in Bogotá, Colombia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Caracas, Venezuela; Guatemala City, Guatemala; La Paz, Bolivia; Managua, Nicaragua; Mexico City, Mexico, Panamá City, Panama; Santiago, Chile; San Salvador, El Salvador; São Paulo, Brazil; and Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Carlos Motta is a Colombian artist residing in New York. He received his MFA from Bard College and his BFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York. He is an alumnus of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in New York, and has exhibited widely in the US and abroad in solo and group shows. Motta has been awarded various grants and residencies, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008, an Art Matters Foundation Grant in 2007 and a Cisneros Fontanals Foundation Subvention Grant in 2006. He has participated in residencies such as the International Artists Studio Program in Sweden and Smack Mellon in New York.

The New Commissions Program is made possible by The Institute of Museum and Library Services, an independent federal grant-making agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners by helping libraries and museums serve their communities; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the Jerome Foundation; The Greenwall Foundation; and Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro. Additional support for Carlos Motta’s project was provided by the Puffin Foundation.

Carlos Motta Exploring the Concept of Democracy in Latin America: Carlos Motta’s The Good Life reviewed in Rhizome

From the Book
Stamatina Gregory’s essay Speaking Democracy: Carlos Motta’s The Good Life
An Interview on the Interview: A Conversation with Carlos Motta by Eva Diaz


  • Tyler Coburn, "Exploring The Concept of Democracy in Latin America: Carlos Motta’s “The Good Life”", Tricorder, September 8, 2009,http://tricorder.at/?p=1990