February 2, 2020 -
March 27, 2020
La Balsa Arte Medellín
Materiales Premonitorios_ Jorge Barco
Sala principal. Materiales premonitorios, La Balsa Arte Medellín

The compendium of works in the exhibition "Premonitory Materials" by Jorge Barco propose a dialogue between sound matter and the materiality of sound; working with sound itself as if it were a physical object, malleable solid, but also exploring different levels of the materiality of physical objects with the idea of addressing audible and inaudible dimensions of the sonic world; audible as the electromagnetic frequencies, and inaudible as the temporal scales of the geological elements it integrates.

Pierre Schaeffer wrote in the late 1940s an extensive treatise dedicated to sound objects, proposing a conception of sound that explored the object as a thing; certainly that is a lens that allows us to approach Barco's work with care, ultimately what we are witnessing is an exploration of the material culture of sound. This happens on at least two scales of deep media time; the archaeology that deals with objects manufactured by humans that is measured in centuries and millennia, and the geology of sound matter, with another broader time scale, this is recognized in his work with materials formed in the process of shaping the planet.

An example of the objects manipulated and created by human beings that come from the bottom of a dense temporal layer is the reference to the Aeolian Harp that is part of the exhibition and that is a product of Barco's recent creative process in a residency in Portugal, said Aeolian Harp plays an important role in the study of media archaeology given that it was proposed and documented by the Jesuit Athanasius Kircher in the Baroque era, in 1650, in his scholarly publication on sound Musurgia Universalis, from that book a chapter in particular is identified, which gives title to the work: "Machinamentum", where this particular harp is described. The current sound sculpture operates as a double reading; the historical conceptual one and on the other hand the contemporary pragmatic one that illuminates the present even opening the doors to a sound art in the public space.

As examples of objects not manipulated by human beings that have been modeled by the forces of the earth and the cosmos, there are the projects with volcanic rock as "morphogenesis", with pyrite stones, galena and meteorite fragments as in the work "the times of noise". Let us understand that celestial bodies such as meteorites before falling to earth have been traveling through the universe describing sinusoidal waves of great amplitude as they travel through infinite space-time, by coincidence of the movement of cosmic bodies - which can be understood as large oscillators - finally collide with another body that is also oscillating around a star, the earth, leaving evidence of the presence of various materials on our planet. These materials, their cosmic origin and their encounter in the deep time of geological excavation are evidence of the sound materials that are part of the exhibition.

When thinking about the time scales summoned here, we realize that we turn to cosmic time, to archaeological time and also to the immediate time of sound manipulation in real time, whether by electronic or analogical means. These varieties of time approached remind us of the table of temporal scales of music and sound proposed by the composer Curtis Roads. Therefore, one of the strongest aspects of the exhibition is precisely the articulation of objects and compositions that bear witness to diverse time scales, exploring from the immediacy of the transformation of sound as in the case of "Skriabin", to much larger time scales, larger even than the presence of humans on earth.

With the grace, the gift and the effectiveness of someone who interrupts the trajectory of a falling meteorite and manages to funnel it into the eye of a needle to turn it into both embroidery thread and electrical conductive thread, Jorge Barco explores in this exhibition a very wide range of levels of matter, sound, electromagnetism and imagination that describe the practice of art with sound media. This is an exhibition charged with attention to the physical world that surrounds us, but with a transcendental and metaphysical conception in the background of this physical reality of the world, which is why the title of the exhibition adds to the word "matter" the word premonition that etymologically derives from the Latin word "praemonitio", which can be translated as both "warning" and "advice".

The references are multiple, however, the reflections of the writer Douglas Khan on the understanding of our planet as an emitter of signal and sound, as well as the notion of the Sonosphere proposed by the composer Pauline Oliveros, are some of the threads that connect the various works and make the experience of visiting the exhibition like someone who is immersed in an embroidery of real threads, sonorous threads that support materials and sound materialities.

Andrés Burbano.

PHD. in Arts, Media and Technology from the University of California, an institution with which he remains affiliated as a researcher. Professor in the Faculty of Architecture and Design at the Universidad de los Andes.

Selected images

-----> Sobre al artista <------


“The effort to give a certain materiality to something apparently ethereal like sound is a constant in my artistic work” In his projects, he investigates, from a sound perspective, issues related to media archaeology, speculative design, spatial imaginaries, and geological materials. Within his production strategies, he combines media such as analog electronics and the reappropriation of low-tech technologies, to create sound machines and installations, which he combines with performance and on-site projects. Barco has held exhibitions, residencies, and workshops in different art centers, m...

-----> Sobre los Artistas (Cuando son Dos)<------

-----> Sobre los artistas (muestra colectiva) <------


Please select listing to show.

Labalsaarte | 2023

AGAC member:

Scroll to Top