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Maciá, Oswaldo

b. 1960, Cartagena, Columbia; lives and works in London, England
Martinete, 2011-2012 Auditory olfactory composition, variable dimensions 

The development and proliferation of heavy machinery in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was accompanied by a worldwide acoustic revolution. Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo famously interpreted this as the birth of noise, which he lauded in a 1913 manifesto as a new model of musicality for the industrial era (see Russolo 2001). As the intervening century brought successive waves of de-industrialisation to the urban centres of Europe and Anglo America, the sounds of industrial noise began to reverberate from a receding spatial and temporal horizon. With Martinete, Oswaldo Maciá reanimates the defunct Waterschei mine with the sounds of five different anvils being struck by a variety of hammers in distinct, interwoven rhythms. These are distributed across ten separate channels of sound, and arranged progressively along a narrow corridor. The interplay between silence and repetition in the sound sculpture serves as an acute sensory reminder of the timbres and rhythms of hard, heavy labour. Maciá takes the work’s title from the name of one of the oldest figures in Romani music, thus tracing a genealogy that links the emergent acoustic organisation of industrial noise to the rhythmic patterns and musical forms that have enlivened collective labour since the prehistoric advent of agriculture. The sound sculpture is accompanied by an olfactory composition that Maciá created with perfumer Ricardo Moya, whose cool metal notes evoke “the smell of failure”. CMF