Helena Torres, selected as artist in residence at LABoral to develop her locative audio project ‘Serendipia’

The work was chosen out of 24 proposals from all over the world

Published: Sep 22, 2011
Helena Torres, selected as artist in residence at LABoral to develop her locative audio project ‘Serendipia’

Locative audio permits locate a sound in a physical space and reproduce it when the users find themselves present.

Helena Torres Sbarbati has been selected as the artist in residence at LABoral to develop, over the space of two months, her locative audio project Serendipia [Serendipity]. This residency is framed within the Narrativas espaciales [Spatial Narratives] programme, which is promoted by LABoral’s Plataforma Cero_Centre for Research, Production and Resources at LABoral in collaboration with SAT-Society for Arts and Technology (Montreal), No Tours (Vigo) and GPS museum (Murcia), and is focused on locative audio and its narrative possibilities. Locative audio is the capacity to locate a sound in a physical space and reproduce it when the users -equipped with a  smartphone or similar device- find themselves physically present in this place.

In addition to the call for this artistic residency, Spatial Narratives includes a workshop which will take place between 1 and 5 November of this year. In this the participants –among those will be Helena Torres- will work with the available technical resources in collaboration with developers from different creative platforms, experimenting with script writing, sound recording and project development on which they test out their newly acquired skills. The results from the workshop will be presented to the public at the Art Centre between 25 November, this year, and 13 February, 2012. The exhibit will also include three European locative media proposals carried out at Hangar, Barcelona.

Serendipia [Serendipity] draws on the detective story genre to propose an investigation based in Gijón city with the appropriation of elements from the past. The work, which will be shown at LABoral throughout 2012, puts together an acoustic historical drift at Sucu cemetery in Gijón in order to have an interactive experience, creating dialogues which build bridges between past and present, history and personal destinies, power and territory. According to Helena Torres, people can choose the time-space development following the suggested investigative leads, bringing out new layers of information on the surroundings and its history onto a sound map.

A graduate with a degree in Political Science and Master’s and research proficiency in Sociology, Helena Torres has developed identity studies from critical social theory, using the methodology of narrative production (interviews turned into stories), among others. She has published essays on queer theory and a novel, Autopsia de una langosta [Autopsy of a Lobster] (Melusina, 2009), a hybrid between essay and fiction. Since 2009 she has taught workshops on the redefinition of language, in which she started to investigate the potential for sound in the public space.

In July 2011 she started Conversaciones improbables [Improbable Conversations] at Medialab Prado, a project involving sound interactions with passersby in the public space, the recording of their replies and the creation of a sound map. She has coordinated and designed projects on the redefinition of public space using culture, visuals, music, sport, new technologies and cinema. Her most recent work is Aproximació a la situació de l'homofòbia, la lesbofòbia i la transfòbia a Catalunya [The Situation of Homophobia, Lesbophobia and Transphobia in Catalonia], published by the Government of Catalonia in 2010.

24 projects from all over the world
This proposal call, which includes the production of the work chosen by LABoral, received 24 projects from all over the world, all of a very high quality, according to the jury formed by Pedro Soler, Coordinator of Plataforma Cero at LABoral; Juanjo Palacios, sound artist and phonographist; Ana Botella, Head of Exhibitions at LABoral; and Lucia Arias, from the LABoral Education area.

In second place came the project by Gael Segalen and Joachim Montessiuis, Facing Utopia, a kaleidoscopic vision of culture through memory and sound fantasies. In addition, three special mentions were made to G.E.S. (Great Empty Space), by the Indian Research Organisation, “a bold proposal that generates new ways through already-existing spaces”, in the words of the jury; Escuchas de Laciana [The Listenings of Laciana], by Lucca Rullo, in-depth social research in an area going through a severe crisis; and Mix and Match, fractal_audio_mapping, by the Mexican Carmen González, selected “for its free interpretation of the different ways of understanding sound and its  technological expertise”.

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