From the beating of our heart to the low and monotonous hum of the refrigerator, the world vibrates around us. Our notion of silence passes through shades of sound, those that we would barely be aware of if it were not for our attempts at stillness and those that we so often understand as ‘being in silence’.
Santiago Pillado presents an experimental artistic piece that is an immersion into a sonorous dimension achieved through the overlapping of layers of diverse sounds that accompanies minimal visual props. In this way he gradually removes us from the everyday landscape -the familiar domestic and urban setting- striving to open up a mental space to an unbiased exploration of the deposits of our recent collective memory, both social and historical. He achieves this through sounds that he has captured and registered directly, conserving them exactly as they are and sounds that have been processed to be unrecognizable; as well as other sounds that are created entirely using digital devices.
Together with our sight, both the sounds that envelope us and those that attack us, generate spaces that we immediately recognise as being the reality in which not only we are immersed, but with which we are perfectly familiar. We believe that no detail has escaped us because we instantly process what is useful from our surroundings, something that our social lives have taught us to do in order to be able to achieve operative functionality. Perhaps we hear and listen in the same way that others heard and listened before us: the sound of the horns enervates us when we are trapped inside a car in the middle of traffic and we rush to answer the telephone because that ringing means that someone is calling us. Our brain hears and makes out the siren of a police car, the insistent hoot of an ambulance trying to advance through streets that are clogged with traffic; bells chiming in the distance that transport us to the clock tower where someone who knows how to play the bells makes them sound; the word ‘goal’, the chanted cry of a thousand voices – in an expansive vibration – , nothing more than a point scored by a local football team.
But it sometimes occurs when we hear something, by accident or chance, that another possibility is unlocked inside us, an alternative answer to the sound stimulus that is like an encapsulated return to landscapes of sensations, however scant, however splendid, associated with an exerpt of our lives at a point in the spectrum of the past (something like ‘la petit phrase de Vinteuil en Proust’, but in a more demotic way). This could be one of the origins behind the meaning of the experiment that drives Pillado in ABSENT REALITY.
In his piece, Pillado creates a sonorous field that is beyond musical composition, in order to emphasise the construction of a reality through sounds that evolves in parallel to that of the world order. It is not only a question of sounds, but one of induced dialectical sound, leaving a wide margin to chance, one that is founded in friction, in contamination, convulsion, revulsion and horror. In this way the author, who thoroughly understands the transformation in the concept of music that has taken place in the West since the end of the Second World War, does not hesitate to dialogue using music in its new acceptance. Almost 70 years ago, Pierre Schaeffer, creator of ‘concrete music’, demonstrated that known sound can be completely transformed when it is processed electronically. Since John Cage burst onto the contemporary music scene, a battery of swtiched on radios, each one tuned into a different station become a concert piece through the art of the entirely random. At least three decades ago, music could be composed using sounds obtained through synthesis, generated by completely artificial means, using computer programs. And of course, there are computer programs that are specifically designed for composition.
ABSENT REALITY is presented as an sound installation in a space where the individual can and should move around. On route, there are different situations or moments that are part of a development that is conceptualised and created to be of unknown length, for the individual perception that is accustomed to reading moments quickly. This takes place in a physical tour of the Sala Miró Quesada.
Deciphering them out ought to be secondary to listening to them; but our minds are too designed to read within our reality – or to try to read within our reality – , to be able to let go of the constant mapping out of our surroundings.
So this is how it will be; but the other way exists for whoever ventures into the sound art of Santiago Pillado.
Jorge Villacorta Chávez
Lima, September 2015