Video installation with surround sound and 20 oil barrels. Length of video: 10’35”
La Conquista revisits the period of the first European expeditions to America in the XV century. One of our goals was to reformulate Latin America’s heritage. We reclaim our native cultural roots by using symbols such as maize that are associated with the American cultures. Another goal was to make evident the power dynamics that bind different social groups and to point out the existence of varied worldviews, i.e. sets of priorities or value systems that differ from those upheld by Western ideals.
The concept of “conquest” has been the driving force behind much of human history. Parallels can be drawn between the expansionist campaigns of the past and our present deeds. The deforestation of the Amazon is an example of the race to pave every square inch of territory. The drive to “conquer” nature, “civilize” our planet and homogenize its inhabitants is very present.
In the video, repeating images of corn, as grains, falling or in drums, on the cob or in the field; crosses: falling abstractly or branded on the body, consumed by fire or flowing in the water; the sky: at times sheltering, at times threatening; and flesh, superpose each other to symbolize the four fundamental elements permeating many American cultures.
The soundtrack was produced by digital signal processing of a small number of sound sources: falling corn grains and spoken Spanish words, such as ‘land,’ ‘memory,’ ‘corn fields.’ A multitude of voices was created by applying granular processing to words spoken by a Spanish-speaking woman. Streaming effects were explored by varying the density of overlapped events yielding both isolated spoken words and continuous vocal textures. Masking effects, where individual voices slowly emerge from a mass of vocal sounds, were employed to create these textures.
The synthesis and transformation of falling corn grain sounds was achieved by means of ecologically-based techniques. Tons of falling grains were produced by overlapping several streams of complex grains. The spectral content of the grains consisted of actual corn grains poured onto glass, metallic, and plastic surfaces. By convolving these two types of sound sources, we obtained hybrids of voice and corn spectra.
The development of La Conquista was a process of collaboration between Ariadna Capasso, writer Nora César and composer Damián Keller. César wrote “El regreso.” Keller included words from this text in the ten-minute composition entitled “The Trade/Oro por Baratijas.” Capasso later used the sound as a template to edit the video’s images. The dialogue that took, and continues to take, place during these collaborations is the most enriching experience during the process of art making.
2005 A.D.M. (Atelier Deluxe Musique), Hollywood, California
Group exhibitions and screenings
2004 Eat me, curated by Jennifer Musawwir, 65hope Street, Brooklyn, New York
2004 Hit n’ run series, Gigantic Artspace, curated by Louky Keijsers, New York
2004 Artexpo.Mexico.04, curated by Luca Curci, Solaris/observatorio, Michoacan, Mexico
2003 Scope Art Fair, Dylan Hotel, New York City & Gallery ON, Poznan, Poland
2003 Second International Congress of Latino Artists: Multiple Realities, Multiple Fictions, panel presentation and screening of La Conquista, King Juan Carlos Center, New York University, New York City
2002 Commuter Commons, New York University, New York. Curated by Ángela García, Museo del Barrio.
2002 9th Primavera en La Habana, La Habana, Cuba
2001 VIII Brazilian Symposium of Computer Music, Fortaleza, Brazil
2001 Not Still Art Festival 2001 International Screening, Micro Museum, Brooklyn, New York
2001 4to Encuentro Internacional de Poesía, Vórtice, Espacio Giesso, Buenos Aires
2001 Not Still Art Festival 2001 International Screening, Boston, Massachusetts
2000 Bargain Vision, C.U. Fine Art Galleries, Boulder, Colorado
Social and Perceptual Processes in the Installation ‘The Trade’. Organised Sound 5(2). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Keller, D. & Capasso, A. With accompanying CD-Rom of ‘The Trade.’ 2000.