Tertulia was a sound and image intervention that intended to transform the Cemetery into a polyphonic labyrinth of sounds and images. Between nine pm and midnight, visitors could walk around the barely-lit cemetery and visit the forty tombs that had been chosen as specific sites of intervention from among the 350,000 graves in Recoleta. Installed around each of the forty tombs was a speaker and a black and white image (or a series of images) that referred to the person who had been interred in that tomb.
With a surface of more than 40,000 square meters and devoid of orienting signage, the cemetery easily becomes a labyrinth to its visitors. Tertulia tried to relate this spatial experience with history: at some point, spectators would find themselves disoriented, lost within their own history, while surrounded by sounds, voices, and images of Argentinean’s past and present. At the same time, the magnitude of the piece and its consequent unwieldiness served as an analogy for the impossibility of knowing history as a whole. There was no opportunity to listen to a “complete” Tertulia, as a single and unified totality, because there was no such thing. Instead, there were thousands of fragments, simultaneous and contradicting stories, with which each visitor would compose his or her own metanarrative. History was understood not as a singular and totalized narrative, but as collective construction assembled through the combination of many different visions; Tertulia’s structure reproduced this conception of history. The spatial disposition of the chosen characters inside Tertulia made it clear to visitors that listening to the voice of one person would, in most cases, require them to stop listening to the voice of someone else. In this way, each pilgrim would listen to a unique Tertulia and build a personal view of history, incorporating into musical combinations and additional layers of interpretation produced by his or her experience of walking through the cementery.
Luis Vernet tomb:
Artistic Direction and Musical Composition: Nicolás Varchausky
Artistic Direction and Visual Composition Eduardo Molinari
Assitants: Juan Pablo Gómez, Laura Guzik
Sound Design Daniel Hernández
Light Design Matías Sendón
Image Edition and Video Documentation Julián D’Angiolillo
2º Visual Composition Unit Nicolás Arispe, Cristian Forte
Image Realization Claudio “Toro” Martínez
Historical Consultant Eternautas
Site: Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Dates: Saturday September 24th 2005, from 9pm till midnight.
With thanks to: Archivo Caminante; Archivo General de la Nación; Carrera de Música Electroacústica – U.N.Q.; Dirección General de Cementerios, dependiente de la Subsecretaría Administrativa, Secretaría de Infraestructura y Planeamiento del Gobierno de la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires; E.N.S.; E.T.E.R.; Eduardo Aliverti; Mariano Cura; Oscar Edelstein; Teresa Riccardi; María Elena Tuma. Tertulia forma parte de las actividades de P.A.I.S. (Proyecto Arte In Situ), perteneciente al Programa Prioritario de Investigación Teatro Acústico (U.N.Q.).