[Miguel Álvarez Fernández: Displaced]

About the Project:

"Displaced". Interactive audiovisual installation by Miguel Álvarez

Migrations, fluid movements of people and rapid exchanges of information through the globe. these words can help to describe our current reality, but they lack any reflection about how some human fantasies, needs and desires, which are not new at all among us, keep defining greatly what happens in our world.

The audiovisual installation "Displaced" proposes a reflection on some of those needs and desires which, maybe, can be summoned under another ambiguous word of our times, communication.

Communication through the announcements that almost every newspaper publishes each and every day, addressed to the unknown reader. Or through calls to mobile phones,coming from the very same unknown people. In "Displaced", advertisements of 'personal services' are placed in different Spanish newspapers and web pages, offering sex, among other possible forms of communication, and evoking 'exotic' names and countries from the East of Europe, South America and Asia. At the end of each ad, a telephone number of a Spanish mobile phone appears, waiting for the fantasies, needs and desires of a possible reader.

In Sofia (Bulgaria), where the audiovisual installation is presented, between 10 and 15 used mobile phones, of different shapes and colours, are exhibited inside separated glass cases (similar to the ones that usually contain the cell phones in shops, and to the showcases used in museums). When somebody calls to a number that appears in one of the announcements, one of these phones rings with the melody of an anthem, the hymn of the country mentioned in the ad that inspired the phone call.

The sound of the ring tones of these phone calls that nobody answers (and no one knows where do they come from, nor when the next call will arrive), is captured by amicrophone placed in each glass box and then digitally processed in real time so its
reverberation keeps sounding, mixed with the melodies generated by previous calls,
and waiting to be merged with the next anthem when the next call arrives. Thus, a constantly-evolving ambient sound, formed by the accumulated echoes of the resonant hymns, fills the whole space surrounding the installation. Depending on the (unpredictable) succession of triggered melodies, the resulting acoustic atmosphere
generated by the installation can go from the tender to the oppressive.

Displaced proposes a situation where different contemporary symbols of mobility and communication (such as cell phones and internet and newspaper ads) try to foster a reflection on our desires for communication and for human contact -including sex-, and also calls to our mind one common destination of the people that migrate in search of labour, along with their fantasies, needs and desires, from places like the one where this
audiovisual installation is presented.

Web Site Miguel Álvarez Fernández

About the Author:

Miguel Álvarez-Fernández. Sound-artist, composer, musicologist and curator of sound-art projects. Born in Madrid (Spain), in 1979. Studies of Composition and Electroacoustic Music at El Escorial's Conservatory (Madrid), Alcalá de Henares, Darmstadt, Kürten and Berlin. PhD candidate in Musicology at the University of Oviedo (Spain). Assistant of Alvin Lucier during two of his sound-installation exhibitions in Spain. Since 2007, teaches "Aesthetics of Electroacoust Music" at the Technische Universität, Berlin.

Recent exhibitions: "In-Sonora 2", Menosuno Gallery, Madrid (Spain); "PING! 3 Festival" Mallorca (Spain), "Acoustic Flux", Takt Kunstprojektraum, Berlin (Germany), "New Interfaces for Musical Expression", Eyebeam Gallery, New York (USA), "Immersive Music", Huset Gallery, Copenhagen (Denmark).

Also works as organizer and curator of musical and sound-art events, such as "Itinerarios del sonido" (public spaces in Madrid, 2005, www.itinerariosdelsonido.org) or "Sonido Abierto", in collaboration with Stefan Kersten (Linux Audio Conference, Instituto Cervantes and Technische Univertität, Berlin, 2007).

For more information, please visit http://miguelalvarez.es.kz, or the recent article about my work written by Silvia Scaravaggi for the Digimag magazine (currently only available in Italian, English version available in October):