Something that has to do with the changes of devices, such as the cassette, the laptop and the smartphone, which allow sampling [mixing sound samples] even easy distribution ”, adds the director.
Imbued with the disruptive spirit of punk, equally characteristic of the beginning of the modern era of sonority, those responsible for the project have wanted to break the mold of an exposure to use in part, also, due to the pandemic circumstance, which forces us to rethink everything that it was established.
This drive is evident both in the absence of elements to consume with the eyes and in the abundance of artists on offer, whose creations are listened to through an application designed for the occasion by the museum (which also provides the device for listening, disinfected after each use).
Based on a geolocation system, the application makes different sound tracks accessible, distributed in seven rooms over 1,500 square meters.
You can choose two modes, the complete one, with more than 700 works, 21 of which were commissioned by the Reina Sofía, and a reduced one, where random playlists are proposed in each room.
Establishing a route of between 1.5 and 2 hours. “There is no hierarchy imposed by the museum as regards which artists to listen to,” says Borja-Villel about this novel way of presenting the exhibition.
In the same way, the curator has selected authors without categorizing them, with some established names, such as those of Alva Noto, Anne Gillis and the recently deceased Víctor Nubla, and others more unknown, such as Wen Chin Fu, Terje Paulsen and Josten Myburgh.
The audios are distributed in rooms equipped with sofas and tinted with colored lights, corresponding to different themes. The tour raises milestones in sound art from its genealogy, rooted in popular culture, to the practice of remixing, which puts concepts such as authorship and originality in check.
In between, ideas such as the influence of the networks, the “mega-accessibility” brought about by the digital, the disappearance of notions such as instruments and virtuosity in favor of the use of the machine
The disappearance of intermediaries in the process of creation and the multitude of aesthetics that emanate from this field, on which subcultures are being built. A whole immersion in the sound experimentation of the last decades that, Borja-Villel sums up,
In the 1960s, the Fluxus collective launched the concept of mail art, postal art, with which they wanted to spread creativity around the world.
That movement could be considered one of the many germs of the revolution that marked the evolution of sound experimentation and that encompasses a constellation of transformations, such as the reduction of production costs
The “do it yourself” culture, the democratization of the distribution and the relationship between the author and the listener, whose ratio went from being one to many to one to one.
With the arrival of the cassette and, from there, the many developments led by technology, sound art descended from its pedestal to enter more and more houses: although always, as in all areas, those of those who can afford it. .