RAÍCES. El Sitio, Cuba. Sept, 2022; video by Isabel Rodriguez Ramos; sound art by Rossana De Pace,
“Raíces” is a collective artistic act of root investigation and is born to heal that perennial restlessness that the artist feels growing up far from Cuba, a land that she does not inhabit, but which lives in her. In her perennial search for a sense of belonging, “Raíces” represents a moment of self-healing and fundamental awareness.
Installation – The artist’s paternal family has worked tobacco in the fields of Pinar del Rio for many generations. The installation realized inside her uncle’s tobacco house is a collective artwork whose realization involved the entire Isabel family. Each family member actively contributed to the creative process and the work installation. The desire was to create a shared space and time to reflect on roots, using as a metaphor the plant that has characterized the artist’s family history for 150 years: tobacco. The weaving of the word “Raíces” took place using the veins of tobacco leaves (grown and cared for by uncles and cousins) on a “tela de tapado”, a wide-meshed cloth used by farmers to protect plants from the sun’s rays. The thread used to apply the veins to the canvas is traditionally used to sew the tobacco leaves together before drying.
Performance – The artist devoted time to performative research within the tobacco house, documenting its evolution by means of video footage. The essence of her performance can be narrated by focusing on the two salient points in the artwork’s narrative: duality and fusion. At first, two phantasmal entities chase each other inside the house without ever meeting, although they follow the same trajectories. The fusion of the two entities occurs only at the end of the journey, with the return to the roots.
Sound Art – During the research period, the artist sampled the sounds of the tobacco house and its surroundings. The rhythmic part consists of sounds from the environment, recorded by means of a Zoom microphone. The harmonic part results, instead, from the application of special sensors on the tobacco leaves, which, thanks to the innovative PlantsPlay device, can pick up the electrical variations of the plant and transform them into sound. The soundscape, curated by sound artist Rossana De Pace, is the result of the fusion between the two audio parts.
INGRANAGGIO. Turin, Italy 2022; video by Isabel Rodriguez Ramos; sound art by Rossana De Pace and Paolo Valgrande.
‘Ingranaggio’ (gearing) is an interdisciplinary artistic project that involves a video-installation and an experimental sound machine assembled with recycled elements such as antique clock gears and old typewriter motors. The encounter between digital and analogue has resulted in an audio-visual artwork that emphasises the concept of “inexorability”.
META. Valsesia, Italy, 2022; video by Isabel Rodriguez Ramos; sound art by Rossana De Pace.
Meta-morphosis, a process of destruction and regeneration. At each step, the abandonment of the ego. At each step, the fatigue of the body and the power of the mind. At each step a prayer. The goal? To keep walking.
REQUIEM. Milan, Italy, 2022; video by Isabel Rodriguez Ramos; sound-art by Rossana De Pace.
The soundtrack was conceived by applying two sensors on the pith of a felled tree at Sempione Park, in Milan (Italy). Through these electrodes, ‘PlantsPlay’ device converts electrical variations into musical notes. The interaction between the hands and the tree trunk provides an example of how plants react to human touch.
· What about Plants Play? Plants Play is the first wearable device that allows you to listen to the music generated by plants and trees straightaway on your smartphone. By means of two sensors set on the leaves, Plants Play turns its electrical variations into music, which can be sent via bluetooth to the downloadable app for Smarphones, iOS’s and Androids.
Spazi Somatici, atto I. Maremma National Park, Tuscany, Italy, 2021; video and performance by Isabel Rodriguez Ramos; sound-art by Rossana De Pace. Dune artist residency.
‘Somatic Spaces’ blossoms from the collaboration of the visual artist and performer Isabel Rodriguez Ramos and the sound artist and songwriter Rossana De Pace.
It consists of field research, both performative and audiovisual, carried out in natural territories of the world with always different inputs. This project aims to create new awareness about the possible interactions and contaminations between Humans and Nature.
Starting from the philosophical assumption – one of the core values of the animist tradition – that the Earth is animated and therefore endowed with Spirit, “Somatic Spaces” presents itself as the opportunity to investigate the physical space of the body through the environment and vice versa, considering the Inner Soul and the Outer Earth united by osmosis.
Peoples from many different cultures perceive the Land not in terms of a mother who nurtures and punishes (Cartesian view), but rather as an integral part of their souls. In the light of the man-nature binomial, Isabel investigated this correspondence through site-specific performative acts and resumed the creative process documenting its evolution.
Isabel Rodriguez Ramos © 2023