Multimedia Installation with video projectors and sourround sound
InMesh immerses visitors in a three-dimensional synthesis of Amazonian environmental images, sounds and sculptural objects. The multimedia installation represents how culture modulates our interactions with Nature.
Fishnets woven by the Shuar people of Ecuador entrap visitors to the space, coursing them through different spatial realities of spirituality, where men share a bond with other living creatures, and of materiality, where that bond is severed. The inclusion of poetry by Shuar poet Clarita Sharupi Jua adds poignancy to what the Shuar are in the process of losing and what we have already lost.
Not simply an either-or proposition, InMesh is a provocation engaging the public with the most pressing issues of our times. The piece asks visitors to reflect on the ubiquitousness and power of culture in defining who we are in relation to the natural world. Our goal is to facilitate a more critical dialogue that will contribute to establishing a more sustainable and, above all, more respectful relationship with the Earth.
InMesh was the first in a series of exhibitions on the environment, exploring diverse perspectives by artists worldwide presented at MediaNoche in 2014. The eco-series was curated by Judith Escalona, Director of MediaNoche: “We had seen a previous work by CAPASSO+KELLER+TINAJERO and were drawn to their intuitive way of fusing electronic and tactile elements that raise questions of sustainability. InMesh was the most fitting work to open our environmental series.”
As with the installation Palafitos, the artists created a survey to receive visitor feedback on the experience, which would serve to design future pieces.
Places exhibited: MediaNoche Media Gallery, New York, 2014
InMesh was made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and a NALAC Fund for the Arts grant from the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures.
Year: 2012 – 2013
Dimensions: 16’ x 42’.
Multimedia installation with two video projections, 1 LCD screen, surround sound, 1 directional speaker and found wood.
The multimedia installation Palafitos: Homes-on-stilts2.0 consists of three sculptural objects, videos and soundtracks to create a multisensory experience for the viewer.The sculptures suggest the Amazonian dwellings known as palafitos, in which tall wooden legs – or stilts – provide safeguards from floods. Palafito's sculptural and technological elements integrate recent findings of a research area defined as ubiquitous music design. Ubiquitous music systems give support to open artistic formats in which the visitor's role changes from a passive beholder to an active participant of the aesthetic experience. Sounds, images and architectural elements are tightly integrated with the sculptural use of space fostering opportunities for creative action. The text used for the sound composition is based on the short story by writer Nora César.
Economic pressures and urban sprawl are threatening the fragile human-nature equilibrium in the Amazon. Deforestation is pushing traditional communities into shanty-towns. Oil companies, mineral exploitation and the expansion of soy fields have had disastrous ecological consequences. As current models predict, when the Amazon forest reaches 40% of its original extension, its collapse will be irreversible. Using sounds and images from the Western Amazon basin as its raw material, the installation Palafito provides an artistic environment to reflect on the impact of the current usage of natural resources.
Stellar Miami, curated by Milagros Bello, Curator’s Voice Art Project, Miami, 2014
Biennial of the Americas, curated by Maruja Salazar, Environs, Museo de las Americas, Denver, 2013
Floor4Art, curated by Norma Márquez Orozco, New York, New York, 2012, Solo exhibition
Keller, D., Capasso, A. & Tinajero, P., Palafito / Home-on-Stilts / Palafita 1.0: A Case Study in Multimedia Creativity, 2012-2013
Palafitos was made possible thanks to the support of Museo de las Américas, Denver; and the Manhattan Community Arts Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; and the Eppe Fund of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and by Conselho de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq, Brazil). It was developed in collaboration with the Ubiquitous Music Group (g-ubimus).
Palafitos @ Museo de las Americas
Palafito @ Museo de las Americas, Denver
Green Canopy is inspired by the Amazon rainforest. The canopy consists of monumental trees and vegetation that creates a green umbrella. Trees are central to Amazonian cosmologies. Among the Shuar, for example, trees are the reincarnation of Uwi, the God of creation and master of the perpetuation of life. This is a wise belief: the green canopy is one of Earth’s essential support systems, recycling and purifying air and water.
Green Canopy is articulated as a large multimodal architectural object. The 10-foot high ‘forest’ is made from scraps, leftovers, and recycled materials, such as PVC pipes and carpet padding. ‘Lianas’ made from woven plastic bags and VHS tapes cover the ‘trunks.’ The process of fabrication proposes alternatives to the lifecycle of everyday materials and examines the role of objects (and trash) in a post-industrial society. The plastic forest is a reminder that non-biodegradable materials are irreversibly replacing oxygen-producing trees.
The installation design explores the verticality of the rainforest experience. Synthesized sonic events reproduce the temporal complexity of the Amazonian soundscape. The eco-composition captures the life experiences that inspired the work.
Green Canopy 1.0 was part of the 6th Kingston Sculpture Biennial (2005) and was exhibited at Hamilton College as part of the 30th anniversary of Sculpture Space (Clinton, 2006), both in New York. The sound system in this first version was powered by solar panels provided by ETM Solar Works. Green Canopy 2.0 was exhibited at the Islip Art Museum, New York (2006) and Ewing Gallery, Knoxville, TN (2007). The sculpture Green Canopy 3.0 (2006) and the ubiquitous music work Green Canopy 4.0 (2009) were presented in Mexico City, Berlin and Recife, Brazil.
Keller, D. and Pimenta, M. S. and Flores, L. V. and Capasso, A. and Tinajero, P, Green Canopy: On The Road [Ubiquitous Music Artwork], 2009, Proceedings of the Brazilian Symposium on Computer Music (XII SBCM), pp. 139-150
These works were documented in catalogs and in the peer-reviewed journals Organised Sound and Journal of New Music Research.
These works were possible thanks to the support of Sculpture Space, College of Music, University of Northern Texas, ETM Solar Works, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico de Brasil and LMAKprojects.
Vivir sin después
Media: video projection and surround sound; sand-covered floor; Running time: 5' 32"
Remarks on Vivir sin después
Vivir sin después (To live with no afterwards) is the title of a DVD installation, conceived by the Argentine artist Ariadna Capasso, which runs just over 5 minutes in length on a continuous loop. The subject matter concerns the play of a young boy – a colono (of white and indigenous blood) – together with his friend on the beach of the Napo River along the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Amazon. Here we sense the drama of the boy’s ritual motions as he scampers to and fro on a sandy beach, occasionally hitting a fallen tree with a stick. While the actions are simple, the success of Capasso’s allegory is augmented by two additional and indispensable elements: the presence of a darkened sky filled with looming clouds in the background, and a magical, nearly hypnotic sonic environment provided by the eco-composer Damián Keller.
In the course of a recent conversation, I suggested to Capasso that her approach to video reminded me of something I once read about the Abstract Expressionist painter Franz Kline. While standing in front of a white canvas he rarely knew exactly where the painting was going to go. It would seem that Vivir sin después began much the same way. Like a painter, Capasso collected images in her camera without knowing what the results would bring, while her colleague Damián Keller recorded fragments of sound not knowing how they would be utilized. The post-production phase of their work would initiate the crucial intersection. Working together in the studio, Keller mastered the sounds so that they might flow unobtrusively in relation to the sequence of images. In order to enhance the drama, Capasso digitally altered the color so as to provide more contrast in the images. Conventional time was reconfigured through the editing process to create an overlay of simultaneous activity. New cadences of images and sound were discovered as the artists worked with the density of form in relation to time and absence.
But there is another important meaning to her work. As one enters into the projection space, there is sand beneath the viewer’s feet – a sensation that disturbs the normative way we feel in the space of a museum. We are given a link to the boy whose small feet also stand in the sand. At this moment, we enter into the story -- but for any kind of experience to happen a certain empathy is required, specifically in the way we feel nature. By being in nature, normal hierarchies of power and mindless accumulations that routinely fill our lives begin to fade away. In Vivir sin después, we are given a simulated space of abstract “change and variation,” as described by Capasso. Through the vision of this small colono boy against a stormy sky we may begin to see the world differently.
Robert C. Morgan
New York City
Winds, Haim Chanin Fine Arts, New York, 2004 (catalogue)
ArtexArte, Buenos Aires, 2004 (catalogue)
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York, 2003
In the Greek myth, Sisyphus is condemned to lug a large stone towards the mountaintop. Once at the summit, the stone rolls mercilessly back down and the process begins anew. Thus, for all eternity.
We float along the river, surrounded by the jungle. Every few hours we stop on makeshift ports. The inhabitants, otherwise isolated, congregate around the vessel to trade their agricultural products and livestock for modern necessities, such as diapers, Coke, and batteries. Day and night, the crew loads the boat with the villagers’ goods.
In the installation, the continuous activity of the men contrasts with the impassivity of the stone cross and of the Conquistador’s sword. They are compelled by the promise of Heaven and the threat of imminent punishment.
Likewise, the modern-day urban Sisyphus is driven to endless action and consumption by an elusive monetary heaven.
Capasso, A., Keller, D. & Tinajero, P. (2014). Sísifo 2.0 [Instalación multimedia]. Versión comprimida para visualización en red (7 Mb).
Argentine Consulate in New York, 2004
Photographic and audio installation. 3 56” x 80” photographs on silk; 12 36” x 40” photographs on cardboard; sound recordings; and video projection; and installation component which divides the space into “the home” and “the park” with two walls, a door, three windows and a park bench.
Carry On strips the home to its most common denominator. Our social structure is focused on the house, the center of family activity. Home is the accumulation of personal traces and memories embodied in some treasured possessions. Socially, the loss of a house signifies complete dispossession and disaffiliation from community ties. Yet, does not the need for home extend beyond personal circumstances to encompass every human being? Is it possible to contain the home in a suitcase, a bag or a shopping cart in the absence of a dwelling? Does becoming houseless necessarily make us homeless?
These questions are not without consequence: they force us to redefine the boundary between the private and the public spheres. People whose home is the streets use areas shared with others, public areas, for their personal activities. Tension builds when those with a home are confronted with private actions carried out in the public domain. House-owners perceive this as an excessive use of shared territory caving into the space to which they are entitled.
For Carry On we interviewed houseless individuals in Boulder and New York. We asked questions such as: “name five objects that make home,” “what do you carry with you at all times?” and “do you consider yourself homeless?” The catalogue of significant experiences, objects and places defines the ingredients that make up each person's conceptualization of home. These are presented in the exhibit as photos on cardboard, photos on cloth, recordings, and a ten-minute video.
- Traveler, The Dalton Gallery, Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Georgia
- Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space, New York, New York
- Sense of place, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
- Art Basel Miami Beach, Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, Miami, Florida
- Persistent Objects, Studio Soto, Boston, MA
- Homeless & Prostitutes, Galería Galou, Williamsburg, New York
- Hatton Galleries, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
- Carry On, Boulder Public Library, Boulder, Colorado
- Carry On, preview, Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, Boulder, Colorado
Home is Where the Art Is. Michael de Yoanna. Colorado Daily on-line. December 16, 2001.
‘Carry On’ art show examines lives of homeless. J. Gluckstern. The Daily Camera. December 16, 2001.
Artists Look at Homelessness. Jessika Fruchter. Colorado Daily. October 9, 2001, pp. 4-5
Cramped spaces. Kristie Betts. Boulder Weekly. May 3-9, 2001.
Simplicity of Noger’s work speaks in BMoCa exhibit. The Daily Camera. May 20, 2001.
Ramble On: Four galleries meet at the crossroads for Gas, Food & Lodging. Felicia Feaster. Creative Loafing. October 2, 2005.
- Boulder County Art Alliance, Addison Grant
- Arts Alive, Fort Collins, Colorado
- Hatton Galleries, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, funds to complete Carry On
- Boulder Arts Commission, Major-Grant
- Boulder Arts Commission, Mini-Grant
- Arts and Humanities Assembly of Boulder Addison-Mini Grant, Boulder, Colorado
Year: 2004. Media: Performance with foldable bed.
Carry Away is a performance that was carried out in New York City. The artists walked around the city, opening up a suitcase-sized foldable bed in parks and other public areas. Even though we didn’t mention the word "homeless," inevitably this bed elicited conversations with and about those living on the streets.
This work is the result of two years of working with and interviewing persons without permanent housing. It seeks to open a dialogue about the use of public space.
Sense of place, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
Persistent Objects, Studio Soto, Boston, MA
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
2001Not 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.
Participatory multimedia installation with video projection, slides, surround sound and motion detectors. 8’ x 8’ x 20’. 2000
Urban Corridor was developed as part of our ongoing investigation into the role of the artist in relationship to urbanism, globalization, and media coverage. This video-installation explores the power of the individual to influence the media and the city through art. Urban Corridor comes alive when the visitors enter the installation. The recreation of an urban space inside the museum and gallery setting affects the audience's perception of the piece. Each visitor has a unique experience inside the corridor.
In the information and globalization era, with the development of technologies of mass diffusion, the media has become an instrument of power and control. The media is concentrated in the urban environment and could not exist outside of this physical space. The space of the urban corridor mirrors this urban space and enables us to critique the universal centers of creation and diffusion of art and information. To us, as Latin Americans, this subverting potential is essential to negotiate among diverging realities. A corridor, "a long, narrow, densely populated area" serves as a visual metaphor for the city's synekism. Our corridor is populated by sounds and images replicating the cacophony of news and in-formation within the urban environment. In it, people, news, and art, travel and interact along place and time variables.
There are infinite cross-points in the city. We will focus on the power of the media to shape the perception of reality and effectively impact the course of events. The media is a multinational corporation concentrated in a few metropolitan points. The individual can still exert power over the media and the city because of the co-dependent nature of the relationship that ties these three. Art becomes the tool of the individual to transform this interaction. The audience is an essential part of this installation since it is the body that activates the space.
This installation is a collage of a video projection with sound compositions. The sounds elicit images of the urban environment. There is a soundtrack for the video and several sets of independent sounds that are triggered by the visitors. These sounds are connected to a computer with two CD-Roms that are randomly activated. There is another set of environmental sounds coming from a CD player that constantly play.
The video interweaves four "news" events: an automobile accident, a public demonstration, urban sprawl, and a war. These events are designed to encompass the audience perception from a global (i.e. a war) to an individual experience (i.e. car wreck). The news exposes the process by which real occurrences become a mediated reality. The video utilizes a combination of found, original footage and voice-overs.
We create a virtual cityscape with a large video projection and surround sound which envelope the viewer. This is an interactive piece. As the participant enters the room, he/she triggers the video projection and audio sound. As the participant walks around the room, he/she turns on various motion detectors which trigger random sounds.
The projector is placed two feet from the ground, 15 feet away from the projection wall. This strategic placement allows the visitor to literally be in the screen
CU Art Museum (former Sibel-Wolle Gallery), University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, 2000, as part of Electronic Easel, curated by Simon Zalkind
VIII Brazilian Symposium of Computer Music, Fortaleza, Brazil, 2001