VOICE / VOZ (2006)
"Clemencia Echeverri’s project, VOICE (VOZ), searches for a rapprochement to the former Central Penitentiary of Cundinamarca, which was housed in the building that today is the National Museum of Colombia for over 70 years. As a starting point, we assume that when a place of confinement changes the purpose, it is necessary to peel away every layer of meaning that such places accumulate, since a penitentiary’s structure, the building, and its interior spaces—from which Echeverri creates her audiovisual installation—are inseparable from the events that led people there and from the social context in which these events occurred, as stated by Lucy Lippard.
Thus, the approximation to the institution’s past, known as The Panopticon, generates a series of questions that one cannot answer immediately: how does one approach topics such as punishment, incarceration, the deficiencies in delinquent's lives? How does one represent them? VOICE is an initial response to these questions. The project that emerges from the first floor of the building refers back to what the architectural space brings to the understanding of these problems".
The Panopticon and Penitentiary Architecture: Rehabilitation or Punishment?
Cristina Lleras, Curator.
VOZ, National Museum of Colombia, 2006, Bogotá
Likewise with the Colombian prisoners in jails of England and Bogota, who the artist interviewed during several months of visits, meetings and creative workshops that were instrumental in realizing her piece Voice/Resonances of Prison (2006). Throughout that extended field work Echeverri gathered a sound track from bodies wasted away in and by the penitentiary institution, by exile and, moreover, by an architecture of power and control. Bodies whose relations with their surroundings, with space, with the passing of time have been broken – those bodies are progressively dematerialized in a limbo where hands and skin lose all contact with the real, where feet no longer tread upon or rest on anything, where identities get deleted, where any inscription comes undone, where words can never establish a dialogue. Scarcity was what most impressed the artist in that arrested para-reality within which those once solid but now diffused bodies wander in an oppressive air that petrifies everything it touches.
The end result was a dance of resonant and tactile phantoms. The voices of present-time prisoners came to rest on walls already charged with stories of interment, while the mere passing of a spectator’s body would reactivate them. It was as though the old ghosts were regaining their presence in the current time. The sound track had made it possible to materialize them once again. The invisible and absent beings from the past or from exile, those bodies erased in a prison, could be perceived by the visible beings from the here and the now, through a transgression of the space-time coordinates and the laws of captivity. Beings incarnated as voices, redeemed by their own voices, came to assume in full the protagonism of their presence in a mis-en-scène where the spectator’s body offered itself as the locus of their apparitions. Indeed, a drama of outrages perpetrated between bodies, powers and repressive architectures.
Sol Astrid Giraldo.
VOZ, Bienal de Liverpool, Inglaterra, 2010 (No longer empty project)
Interactive sound installation
Three halls on the first floor.
16 movement censors
5.1 Dolby sound
In the installation Voice / Resonances of the prison, he rescues the sound mark of bodies annihilated by the prison institution, exile, and also by an architecture of power and control over Colombian prisoners, both abroad and in the country. These bodies whose relationship with the environment, space, and the passing of time has been broken, dematerialize in a limbo where their hands and skin lose all contact with reality, their feet no longer rest on anything, his identity is erased, where any inscription is undone, and his words cannot establish a dialogue.
The first thing that a society begins to punish when it is immersed in a conflict is the word. The tendency towards defending any threat is to distrust, persecute and, above all, keep quiet. Through the voice we project our exchange with others, we contain an untold, reserved and private story. Speaking requires the attention of the other, the voice is the organ that is between two. The voice is a space of contact, of political presence, of attention. It is about restoring dignity, doing justice to the other, generating an echo that resonates and recovers the importance of recognition. It is being able to become heard.
General direction: Clemencia Echeverri
Camera: Andrés Guzmán
Sound: Nicolás Guarín y Clemencia Echeverri
Sound design: Daniel Prieto
Sound edition: Santiago Camacho
Video edition: Diego León
Production: Lattitude ltda
Distribution: Alonso Garcés Gallery, Bogotá