SACO was created in 2012, in the city of Antofagasta. It began as a Contemporary Art Week, becoming an International Festival five years later and from 2021 it is the Contemporary Art Biennial of Chile. Its privileged location, in the driest desert in the world and under the most pristine skies on the planet, has allowed it to develop a solid residency program, developing projects that usually culminate in an exhibition that combines art with science or other study phenomena.


Its priority is to establish horizontal meeting points to generate circulation between art and the community, deepening the creative processes as informal education tools, “outside the box”, promoting the transfer of knowledge, interculturality and exchange of ideas, designing models of social transformation through art with concrete actions both in cities and in smaller towns.


SACO’s activities are based on three fundamental pillars:

Museum without museum: temporarily occupying public and private infrastructures, open and closed, connected in a circuit of exhibition spaces.

School without school: extensive informal artistic education program prioritizing children and youth.

Territory: artistic residencies and transdisciplinary research.



The ISLA Artistic Residence Center is a place designed by the SACO Cultural Corporation for its guests, usually curators, artists, teachers, researchers, directors or the like. Thought from the world of culture, taking into account the regional economic-mining context as well as its environment and operation, it seeks to be a contribution in the creative work of residents, in addition to facilitating their connection and generation of networks with the north of Chile. The residence house has two rooms, one double and one triple, shared bathroom, fully equipped kitchen, room for meetings and interviews, workspace, library specialized in visual arts and the northern Chilean territory, Wi-Fi and yard for pedagogical activities. The residence house is located in the Playa Blanca neighborhood of Antofagasta, close to supermarkets, public transport, universities, and the coast.

Along with its main residence place, SACO has collaboration networks in San Pedro de Atacama, a town famous for its archaeological and natural places of great beauty and historical value, and Chiu Chiu and Quillagua, places less visited and therefore more untamed.,where it is possible to connect with nature and the desert in all its immensity. Quillagua also holds the title of the driest place on Earth according to NASA.



Located in a privileged territory, adjacent to the Pacific Ocean, the Atacama Desert (driest desert in the world) and the most pristine skies on the continent, Bienal SACO invites its visitors to connect with a unique landscape that contextualizes the work of the Corporation.


Since its inception as a Festival, various artists and curators took advantage of the unique characteristics of the landscape to inspire and generate works and research. Through collaborative work, the artists were able to develop residencies in conjunction with institutions and experts specialized in various areas such as astronomy, mining or archeology in places such as San Pedro de Atacama, Chiu Chiu, Ollagüe, Pedro de Valdivia, María Elena, Taltal, Paposo and Quillagua. This flow of creators allows the cultural-territorial exchange to and from Antofagasta for the rest of the world; and the relevance of the area as a focus of the visual arts that also attracts international projects that take advantage of -and activate- in various ways the unique context of the second region of Chile.

List of research areas that SACO is currently developing through its residencies:













SACO proposes the following residence modalities:

– A full month at ISLA, for residences with an urban and social profile, in addition to the following areas: art&astronomy, art&geology, art&microbiology.

– One week in ISLA, three weeks in San Pedro de Atacama, an ideal format for residencies on art&archeology.

– Three weeks in ISLA, one week in Quillagua, the driest place on the planet.

– Itinerant residence in the desert: one week in ISLA, one week in San Pedro de Atacama, one week in Quillagua and one week in Chiu Chiu.


There is the possibility of making adjustments in the periods of residence, or merging the modalities, always according to the availability of each space and possibilities of travels and their respective distances.



For the four types of residence, it is considered a minimum duration of 2 weeks and a maximum of 2 months.



The climate of the city of Antofagasta is coastal desert, normally around 15-25 Celsius degrees, it does not rain, snow or there are storms, which makes it an optimal place for outdoor activities. Nevertheless, in the villages of the desert, the climate can rise up to 25 degrees Celsius, with considerable drops at night, and strong wind. It is suggested to consult with the SACO team before venturing inside the region for a residence.


Due to its location and desert context, the region -especially the desert area- lacks diverse food options, so within the Atacama Desert it is suggested to bring your own food in case you have any allergies or food restrictions / preferences.


The ISLA residence allows up to 5 residents during the same period, and up to 20 people for educational or exhibition activities. These numbers could change due to specificities, such as the national health regulations in the framework of the Covid19 pandemic. Since 2020, ISLA has all the necessary sanitary protection measures for closed spaces: alcohol gel dispensers in each room, shoe cleaner at the entrance and a temperature check for everyone who enters or leaves the space during activities open to the public.

Spanish, English
Centro de Arte y Terapia La Tintorera, San Pedro de Atacama
+56 552838714
+569 5926 1704
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