sounding site [tabacalera]

2010 | site-specific installation | La Tabacalera, Madrid
8 channel audio, tactile transducers, found objects and structures, light | 40′
collaboration with Juan Cantizzani

sounding site [tabacalera] is a site-specific work created in the basements of one of the main buildings in Tabacalera, the former Spanish National Tobacco Factory complex in the centre of Madrid. This place was derelict for several decades until 2010, still conserving its original architecture and remnants from past industrial activity. The project is based on the exploration of the aural, architectural and environmental aspects specific to the location.

The installation features a durational multichannel composition which activates and renders audible the site itself. The sonic materials are based on acoustic measurements of the space (impulse responses) and environmental sound recordings made in the building using different strategies (air, solid vibration and ultrasound). The installation comprises an ad-hoc sound system with eight hidden tactile transducers coupled to found objects and large structures, enhancing the impression of sound emanating from the architecture itself.

Upon entering the sounding site, guests are immediately imbued in the physicality of an intensified continuously changing aural environment, which is also dependent on the listener´s position. Visitors are challenged to become participants and active listeners.

The documentation features a sequence of audio excerpts taken from a recording of the piece within the space using a binaural technique. It is recommended listening on good quality headphones.

There is also available a video documentation featuring a non-synchronised montage of audio excerpts with static shots of the location.

An interview about the project was published in the Spanish magazine Ursonate #02, March 2012 (download pdf).

Acknowledgments: Manuel Calurano, Jose Luis Espejo, Cisco Espinar, David GF, Miguel Lastra, Abraham Rivera and El Keller.

“I think that this process of merging and mystery is what I find so exciting right now about sound only installations. Perhaps because we live in such a media drenched environment, I am often thinking and critiquing, full of internal barriers and suspicion around the motivations and implications behind a piece. I implicitly trusted Cantizzani and Sanz. The piece drew me out of myself and into the space. I felt a deeper connection to corporeality through sound. The spare visuals of the space gave me permission to feel something new”.

– listener from The New School, New York, US