Pack of hounds / Muta (2006)
The piece entitled Muta was conceived for Bogota’s Opera House, the Teatro Colón, and specifically for the Presidential Box. The choice of location allowed spectators to sit in that privileged spot, always off-limits to the public. The first experience was of a visual nature, as it consisted of the total perception of the theatre from the balcony box – something awesome in and of itself. The box, located in the center of the theatre, facing the stage, allows one to fully cover the interior of this neo-classical style building where red and gold predominate. In a forceful way, this perspective granted the spectator a sense of power and dominion. The auditory piece started right away, unfolding in quiet tones from the lateral boxes along the balcony line until it came into focus at the center. The sound was initiated with the voices of the audience, followed by their applause; afterward one heard a voice reciting Hamlet’s proverbial line, “To be or not to be”; then, another voice went on, “To be or not to be, that is the question”; at this time, the sound shifted to Spanish: Dormir, tal vez soñar, and now one heard a metallic noise, the stab of the stiletto, the actor’s broken breathing, the mother’s voice; and once again applause. Martha Rodriguez, Art Critic.
The title of the piece, Muta, originated from a text by Elias Canetti, which reads:
"The pack of hounds in the hunt or the pursuit is atoned for as a lamentation. Men have lived as predators, stalking and cutting the other’s flesh, feeding on the torment of weaker creatures. Their gaze reflects the broken glance of the victims; and the final scream, which brings them joy, is indelibly engraved in their soul. … However, guilt and fear grow unrestrained in their interior, and thus they pine without suspicion for the coming redemption. So then, they come together around the one that dies on their behalf; and in lamenting him, they themselves feel persecuted. Anything they may have done, and death they may have caused, is placed on the side of suffering during the length of this regard – in a sudden and transcendent change of guard. He liberates them from their accumulated guilt at having killed, and from the fear that death will catch up with them as well".
This voice that relates to violent death, to vengeance and guilt, is consonant with the sense of mourning and sorrow that spans the length and with of this country at war a long and endless war that is the spawn of revenge. So, Muta, a resonant and rarely heard the word, names, and points to the condition of many Colombians that live nowadays directly threatened by the fear and the menace of death.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Interactive sound installation
A meeting of voices.
Censors of movement
General Direction: Clemencia Echeverri
Sound and edition: Clemencia Echeverri and Daniel Prieto
Video edition: Boris Terán