Eco part 4: Xareni Lizárraga

Last year I interviewed Xareni Lizárraga a very interesting artist from Mexico. A few years ago I had the privilege to work with her when I curated her beautiful release Pasto# 1 on Impulsive Habitat and ever since I became interested in her practice with sound.

Q. How and when you found in sound a field to develop your artistic concerns?

A. Sound has become my greatest ally for more than six years ago. I refer to it as an ally based on the fact that it has always offered me something. It accompanies me and fusions with my visual world in an astonishing constructive path, as if, provided the final touch to everything my sight can perceive. It is through this means that I encountered myself and within like an energetic extension with unlimited capacity to create, heal and manifest messages beyond what can be visually perceived; it is listened to, but cannot be seen. To recognize that every sound holds a message, transform our self into a wave sound, from the song of a bird to the wave sound of a tractor.

“For me, every sound has its own minute form – is composed of small flashing rhythms, shifting tones, has momentum, comes, vanishes, lives out its own structure.”

Annea Lockwood

Q. From your experience do you feel that sound art is a line with greater presence in number of a particular genre? If so, have you seen this as an advantage, disadvantage or do you think it has no influence at all?

A. From my own experience as a sound operator, there is a noticeable male dominance present in the field. This has not been a disadvantage to me, but the technical work space where we create is dominated by males, and yes there are some roles where females are excluded. It is from this situation where my inner self arises to manifest my artistic and technical capacity as a woman in this field.

Q. Sometimes the relationship between what an artist reads, investigates, eats, watches and listens, and the work that she or he produces simultaneously, is deliberate while at other times this relationship occurs in a more subtle and even unconscious level. How do you feel about this relationship in your work?

A. I found utterly interesting the way in which creative projects manifest and develop , due to the fact that we are in a constant interrelationship between what we perceive and what lives in our unconsciousness. This manifests at all times, it operates randomly and evokes messages that gain shape when creating a sound piece or simply when we are able to perceive a better sound.

I constantly attempt to shape my work letting the randomness of my mind lead the way, a coordinated improvisation that sharps with time and self training, and through it expand messages that transmit emotions, thoughts and images. By the power of this randomness it allows me to expand and create what I need in that present moment… lately I been thinking that paying attention is the new way of thinking this allow me to understand better the moment and the sounds around me.

Q. How do you articulate and experience in your work the following aspects of the sound practice. The immediacy and the presencial aspect of the performative in the concerts. B) The isolation that can be lead into during the process of composition. C) The objectual and spatial facet of the installations and sonic sculptures.

A. To this moment I have not yet developed a performance act that has enabled me to experiment these situations. But as a sound operator involved in documentaries, immediacy is something experimented in the moment you are within an evoking ecosystem that is constantly emitting strong symbolic characters sounds. Being in the middle of a soundscape event is the beginning of the performance that I assist as a sound operator. Through these performances I have been witnessing “nature concerts”, in which I found supra biological rhythms, this is one of the most amazing gifts that I have received allowing me to found emotions, sensations or thoughts as a unique language.

Isolation and seclusion are key relevant components when registering or composing sound , they both share a communion moment with silence and like Murray Schafer said, “Silence is a bag full of possibilities” Through this being able to explore inner reality – inner sounds; thoughts, feelings and memory to manifest messages and be able to heal in that isolation. Due to my experience sound has given me moments of deep contemplation that I cant found in the visual world.

Objects in the same way, evoke messages within specific spaces , living these and giving them aural messages are a method of transformation, the relationship between sound and space.

Objects and architecture transform sounds.

Installations or sound sculptures evoke messages within specific spaces. To live throughout these spaces and provide them aural messages is a method of transforming the relationship with open pieces, as Umberto Eco said; to get involved in a process and becoming part of it, to be able to recognize ourself in places.

Q. Being a female artist from Latin America, do you think that this combination of elements influences in some way your creation? If so how this influence occurs?

A. As a women I believe is my nature to embrace and nurture my creation as a sound artist through a kind of warmth I interweave with my culture, traditions and language. The elements I find in each journey and ecosystem I visit within Latin America allows me to develop my listening skills and creative process as a more artesanal creation. I forget about material equipment and I transform into a tree or a habitat of the land I am visiting. It is through this process that Latin America holds great part of my creation and inspiration. Many of the traditions , myths and ecosystems involve rich sound that can only be found in Latin America.

Q. In sound art, collaborations between artists are very common. Have you worked with other artists? If so, how do you feel that these collaborations have enriched your work?

A. I have had the opportunity of collaborating with artists which have impacted and influenced the way in which I perceive life, art and creative processes. Without collaborations nothing would be possible; projects are born and accomplish its objectives unifying people, ideas and moments that are full of collective experiences. To have had the opportunity of collaborating along with Astrovandalistas and Ariel Guzik were experiences in which I got to work in a different format from its creative process to the work space. Throughout these experiences my perception and interpretation of life changed into seeing life as a constant work of art because it is through it that we absorb all we are and all in which we believe.

Q. Is there any particular work or project you would like to talk about? If so, tell us about it in maximum 350 words?

A. Since I moved to live to Mexico city (which I still call it The great Tenochtitlan) an immense curiosity awoke in me of getting to know what the Lake and its canals, mountains and Aztec temples had once been in what is now known as Mexico city.

My walks throughout downtown Mexico made me contemplate the sound richness found in its streets, subway stations that might have been spaces for water and markets that were once spaces for painters, sculptors, and aztec writers.

Understanding why writing was considered an art lead me to the aztec codices throughout a series of synchronous events. I observed each of these codices to understand if these were accompanied by sounds such as the seashell, drums amongst many sounds which involve animals as well.

For now I have paused this project , but my idea is to reconstruct soundscapes which represent some of these codices and manifest symbology throughout sounds.

CodiceSonoro is the name of the project . This project is a sound contemplation which refers to a symbol, a moment and a time which has lived and past.

Link to Pasto#1 by Xareni Lizárrraga on Impulsive Habitat


David Vélez

David Vélez (PhD) is a Colombian sonic artist studying the acoustics of food, working in the intersection between sound ethnography and plant bioacoustics. His work oversteps the boundaries of installation art, field recordings, composition, performance and commensality exploring gardens, kitchens and open food markets as exhibition spaces. Vélez is interested in the strategic artistic possibility of sound and its invisible, immersive, unstable and fluctuating material, attrubutes shared with the nourishing transference of energy in food.