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A Tesla Coil as a Musical Instrument to be Presented in Mexico

Friday, March 18, 2016   (0 Comments)

We are delighted to share the news of an ISPA-born partnership between the Mexican Centre for Music and Sonic Arts (CMMAS) and long-time ISPA member Cryptic. This partnership was developed out of the first Congress that ISPA's Latin America Fellowship Program participant and CMMAS' Director of Development Silvia de la Cueva attended last January. As Silvia described:

And as always is, one thing led to another…

One of the persons that Eric Klug –my guide for ISPA's Community Building Program- introduced me to was Aurea Leszczynski Vieira, from SESC, Brazil. She and I, while trying to warm us up one morning with tea, were getting to know each other’s projects. A couple of minutes later, another freezing member approached for tea, Aurea immediately said, “you should definitely meet and talk to Cathie Boyd, from Cryptic, Glasgow, UK”… so we did. A couple of meetings later the following days, with her and Susan Chapman from Anglo Arts México, we were set to explore artistic exchanges in 2016. Two weeks after ISPA, CMMAS was traveling to London, for Sonica, to close the deal: A Cryptic artist was to travel to Mexico in April for 3 performances and a residence: Robbie Thomson. 

It does not end here. We will have another artist from Cryptic, Mark Lyken, at CMMAS in September for an artistic residence, and Cathie will visit us in Visiones Sonoras, our festival, so Mexican artists can be part of the 2017 Sonica program, with performance and an artistic residence. 

Congratulations to CMMAS and Cryptic on the start of this exciting partnership! See below for the full announcement.

 XFRMR: A Tesla Coil as a musical instrument to be presented in Mexico 

On April 2016, Robbie Thomson, a Glasgow based artist and theatre maker, will present in Mexico City and Morelia, Michoacán, the Ecstatic Arc show: XFRMR, which explores the sonic possibilities of the Tesla Coil as an instrument in its own right.

The presentation is being made possible thanks to the support of Cryptic Glasgow through the Sonica Programme, Anglo Arts, the culture department of the Anglo Mexican Foundation, the National Center of Arts and the Mexican Centre for Music and Sonic Arts, based in Morelia.

Making music with a Tesla Coil is a truly direct way of turning electricity into sound, through a device patented in 1891 by the Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla; presented once at the Edinburgh Festival at Summerhall in 2012, the act consists on a resonant transformer that creates a high voltage alternating current discharging and ionising the air as arcs of plasma, and thus by tuning the output of the coil, composing harsh percussive stabs and distorted lead tones.

The presentations will take place on April 16th and 17th at the Theatre of the Arts of the National Centre of the Arts (CENART) in Mexico City and on the 29th in the Auditorium of the Mexican Centre for Music and Sonic Arts in Morelia, Michoacán.

Thomson will also make a residency at the Mexican Centre for Music and Sonic Arts (CMMAS), where he will continue to experiment with the coil and work towards developing a new audio-visual performance piece.

ROBBIE THOMSON works with kinetic sculpture, music, lighting design and technology. He is a member of 85A; a collective that started in 2008 and has produced over 15 large-scale performance, visual art and film works to date. His work has been shown at venues including the Fort du Bruissin Centre d’art Contemporain, (France), ICA, Festival De Keuze (Netherlands), Barbican, CCA, Shunt, Fusion Festival, Govanhill Baths, Glasgow Sculpture Studios, The Arches, Transmission Gallery and The Woodmill. 

CRYPTIC is a Glasgow-based internationally renowned producing art house, presenting today’s most imaginative, innovative artists whilst also nurturing the creative talent of tomorrow.  We create memorable experiences that engage and inspire our audiences.  Cryptic ‘ravishes the senses’ with performances that fuse music, sonic art and multi-media.  

SONICA is a year-round programme of events dedicated to world-class sonic arts, punctuated by a biennial festival in Glasgow. Produced by Cryptic, Sonica presents emerging British talent alongside exceptional international artists in collaboration with renowned co-producers and venues. Sonica was launched in Glasgow in November 2012 at Tramway and has toured to Austria, Brazil, Denmark, France, The Netherlands, Sweden and across the UK.  

CMMAS or Mexican Centre for Music and Sonic Arts was created in September 2006 by the initiative of the former National Council for Culture and Arts, now National Secretary of Culture and through the National Centre for Arts and the Culture Office of the state of Michoacan as a unique technological and musical space in Latin America which focuses on fostering the creation and development of music and sonic arts in Mexico and internationally.

ANGLO ARTS is the culture department of The Anglo Mexican Foundation, is dedicated to promoting British culture in Mexico and bringing a taste of Mexican culture to the United Kingdom. Besides of the production and presentation of British theatre, music, plastic arts, film and literary projects throughout Mexico, its rich cultural programme encompasses a broad spectrum of activities, such as annual competitions, scholarships, the development of playwrights in collaboration with the Royal Court in London, and promotion of Mexican visual and performing arts in the UK as artistic exchange.

CENART, which stands for The National Center of Arts was created by the former National Council for the Culture and the Arts (CONACULTA), today Secretary of Culture, in November 1994. Its mission was to generate and create new models and approaches regarding education, investigation and artistic diffusion; encourage interdisciplinary in art, promote new technologies in art, as well as to create opportunities for academic and artistic cooperation between institutions of different systems and levels in Mexico and abroad.

* Photo by Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

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