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Identidades, Encuentro Internacional de Artistas Independientes, Morelia, Mexico

Recorded sounds of the Cathedral and surrounds were edited and replayed in the park

Residency report, Reiko Aoyagi

“Morelia was a big city four hour drive from Mexico City. It is a cultural capital in Michoacan, where the indigenous population is concentrated. The old buildings of the Spanish Empire looked beautiful in the soft pastel pink colour. It was cold in the morning and the evening and hot during the day. The light was magnificent.

I spent the first day walking around the city to feel the air. When I entered into the Cathedral, it was dark and cool in contrast to the outside. The light flooded inside through the entrances. It looked very fresh after the rain. This calm environment made me focus on my direction for the project. Instantly I felt this was the place where people bring their suffering and meditate and that the echoed sound in the dome of the Cathedral vibrated our souls. I got interested in capturing the detailed sound inside like people’s footstep, whispering and a child’s cry and the ghostly-echoed traffic sound outside.

Two weekend visits to Michoacan truly deepened the experience of the place and the culture. The first weekend we visited a very quiet small island called Yunuen. It was almost like a pilgrimage by boat. I strongly remember the deep red coloured cactus fruit that our driver gave us on the island. I intuitively felt that this red juicy textured fruit symbolises the organic energy, especially of the women, hidden underneath the culture there. On the second weekend we visited the pottery villages called Couch and Ocumicho. The very earthy life with vivid colour there made me convinced of the powerful energy underneath.

All these deep experience came into the work.  After the editing process of the sound in the Cathedral, I decided to release this rather heavy slow sound in the open air to be bathed in the natural light. I presented it in a quiet park surrounded by the trees in the changing light and shade”