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CUBO: MediaWomb
CALIT2/UCSD October 5 - November 25, 2009
Opening Reception October 15, 2009, 5-7pm
more info here

Essays by Lucia Sanroman and C-M-L about this work and 3 other collectives working in or about Tijuana:

CUBO feature
Tijuana collectives overview

images this page from an earlier exhibitions at g727
727 South Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014
213 627 9563

as part of
Soundscapes (press release below)

Video of MediaWomb at g727

Interview for exhibition at CALIT2

MediaWomb is the most recent collaborative piece made by the CUBO * project : Giacomo Castagnola, Camilo Ontiveros, Nina Waisman and Felipe Zuñiga, with PD programming by Marius Schebella.

The CUBO: Mediawomb project began as a dialogical exercise in response to the media's monomaniacal presentation of Mexico as a space characterized solely by sensationalist crime. The collective wanted to complicate this image, by exploring the under-represented terrains of community and non-violence, to generate layered reflections on locality, media and material geography in relation to the body and its interactions.

Giacomo Castagnola developed a sculptural form shaped by the accumulation of recycled materials (cardboard crates) to explore exchanges between material and in/formation. His ergonomic structure hosts the delicate and organic interactive sensor system designed by Nina Waisman, who also brings to one side of the MediaWomb a collection of concrete and enviromental sounds recorded  in the city of Tijuana. On the other side of the MediaWomb, Camilo Ontiveros' and Felipe Zuniga's appropriations of radio and popular media trace manipulative reports of violence at the border, information on massive deportations in Los Angeles and San Diego, and soap-opera-esque B-Movie dialogues, spectacularizing narco-culture.

These 2 opposing sonic spaces - the derive-based concrete sound and the sensational media sound - confront each other in shifting interactive dialogues generated by the presence and gestural acts of visitors seated in the MediaWomb. Solo or multiple users/participants activate sensors inside the sculpture with their body movements, generating ever-changing sound representations of the complex transborder space.

Visitors are positioned in a kind-of bodily face-off – one side playing the “local” soundscapes of Tijuana and the other triggering and tuning the “global” soundspace of the media. We wanted to create a situation in which a visitor’s consumption of representations of others would be manifest physically; we wondered what subtle shifts in relationships such bodily engagement might afford

CUBO hopes the visitor to this piece might become aware of her multiplex role in the cycle of media consumption. On the one hand, seated inside, she is, as always, an audience to manipulative media. On the other hand, she has a chance to manipulate and activate new meanings as her gestures change the volume, layering, juxtapositions, pitch and speed of these sounds. Her physical reality impacts the virtual reality she co-constructs, engaging the body further in the consumption and production of media-based meaning.

MediaWomb recovers the energy of the Ouroboros, the ancient symbol of a serpent eating its own tail, an entity constantly consuming and re-creating itself. What could be more connected to this condition than the pairing of violence and the media cycles that reproduce, consume and refuel this violence? This situation has captured our regional atention regarding recent violent events transversing the Tijuana-San Diego border.  The CUBO collective has taken this complex problem as a departure point to explore concepts of displacement, dislocation, circulation, mediazation, objectification, embodiment, consumption, and violence through the development of an immersive interactive sound and sculptural installation.

*CUBO is  a collaborative project that explores the creative exchange between technology, architecture, sound, and performance - in order to reflect and tranform social space and public culture. Since its inception in 2007, the project has had several embodiments that include mobile sculptural-sound interventions, sound and music performances,  ephemeral radio trasmitions, and  youth-at-risk workshops in the cities of Tijuana and Los Angeles.

Press Release for Soundscapes
g727 is pleased to present its first exhibition of the New Year, Soundscapes, curated by Tiffany Barber. Soundscapes is also the first in g727’s efforts to support the incubation and development of site-specific projects through its pilot community resource initiative called the Map and Model Shop located in the upstairs loft of g727. Soundscapes features new and existing work by Giacomo Castagnola, Camilo Ontiveros, Nina Waisman and Felipe Zuñiga as CUBO; Ari Kletzky with Sarah Roberts and Gerhard Schultz; Elana Mann; Carla Herrera-Prats; and Christina Ulke with Sara Harris.

Soundscapes invites eleven Los Angeles and Tijuana-based artists to demonstrate the various ways of listening to place and the overlaps of history and personal memory. If sight is our primary sense, then through what other registers do we come to know things? The artists in Soundscapes respond to this question by investigating how information about our surroundings is received and understood. Through field recordings, experimental music, archived oral histories and site-generated public projects, the work featured in Soundscapes considers how urban situations are experienced and remembered through sound.

Giacomo Castagnola, Camilo Ontiveros, Nina Waisman and Felipe Zuñiga as (CUBO) present an interactive architectural and sound installation that responds to the rise in violence in Tijuana and the sensational media representation around it. Ari Kletzky extends his Islands of LA National Park project and collaborates with artist Sarah Roberts and composer Gerhard Schultz to produce a series of sound-based public projects. Carla Herrera-Prats presents Como Un Cerillo, a mural and sound installation that juxtaposes a text written by historian Alfonso Hernández with four songs that refer to the life of Tepito, a neighborhood in Mexico City that has served as a site of contention. Elana Mann’s Shifting highlights the shifting spaces between and across places, temporalities, and cultures with testimonies from twelve commuters living in both Los Angeles and Iraq. Christina Ulke with Sara Harris presents a multi-layered sonic cartography of the effects of displacement and eviction.

Soundscapes is a place-specific project centered on urban issues, and includes a series of sonorous interventions that serve as a sonic mapping of urban nodes. Conceptually, the nodes and interventions represented in Soundscapes link to regional and global concerns and mirror the overall phenomenon of urbanization. Soundscapes examines sound work as an aesthetic response to urbanization and its potential as a transgressive medium within place and geography.

photo: Giacomo Castagnola.
photo: Giacomo Castagnola.
photo: Giacomo Castagnola.
photo: Giacomo Castagnola.
photo: Giacomo Castagnola.
photo: Giacomo Castagnola.
photo: Giacomo Castagnola.