'There is a presence in what is missing' H.J.

Dis/appear, 2014
a sound played during listening sessions at reverberating spaces.

How to listen during politically violent realities? Dis/appear is a soundwork that attempts to open a space of possibity and critical affect to approach uncertainty and loss. It uses sound's ambiguous nature to invite imagination and personal interpretations that can give a shape-changing identity to an assemblage of sounds that gather progresively and that occupy the space, echoing accordingly through the walls of the different spaces and listeners with whom it resonates. After the sound is reproduced a question is made to the audience 'what did you hear? what did you see? what did you feel?' The work gathers the recordings of the answers as all the possible lifes of the sound: sometimes it is heard as a mountain falling, as the formation of a waterfall, as hundreds of police horses, as a wall being torn down, as rocks encountering each other.

Afterwards, the sound's identy is revealed. An assemblage of stepping sounds walking over different grounds and marking different rhythms give presence in the space to 108 people. The physical volume of sound gives a 'temporal body' to each of them, who in 2 minutes progressively gather to walk together. 108 is the average number of people that go missing every 2 weeks in Mexico, a number based on a statistical study that analyzed a decade of cases of unresolved disappearances -not murders or deaths- and regardless it was published in 2015, the realization year of this sound, it remains current.

Listening sessions:
'Helicotrema' Recorded Audio Festival curated by Blauer Hase (Mario Ciaramitaro, Riccardo Giacconi, Daniele Zoico) and independent curator Giulia Morucchio, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, November 2019.
Etnografías sonoras: El mundo resuena y yo lo escucho, seminario por Andrea Ancira, Facultad de Ciencias Políticas, UNAM, Cd. de México, June 2016.
Universität der Künste Berlin, Berlin march 2016.
CCD, Mexico city, July 2015.
SITAC XII Symposium's listening session 'Disposable bodies / Disposable voices' in Mexico city, coordinated and in conversation with Michael Roberson (Ultra Red), Lucía Sanroman, Andrea Ancira and Sofia Olascoaga, organized by Museo Experimental El Eco and Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), February 2015.

'Concrete' (excerpt)
by Jorge Solís Arenazas, translation by Robin Myers

How can we recover what we interpret as ephemeral, residual, and random in order to problematize what we consider immobile, central, and definitive?

By exploring the acoustic properties of specific sites, Lorena Mal counseled by acoustic physicists and sound engineers, investigates the paths followed by sound matter; the angles it traces as it travels; the ranges of pressure it applies; and the variations it undergoes in response to the shapes of the walls, ceilings, floors, and so forth. Finally, she locates the points where sound density intensifies and grows more concentrated. Analyzing this mass of data allows us to understand the appearance and features of the space in question. At the same time, and even more importantly, it reveals the space’s vulnerable areas, the zones of greatest susceptibility to alteration by sound’s unpredictable path.

Concrete Acoustics doesn’t seek to obtain the space’s auditory narrative, nor does it intend to represent that narrative via particular aesthetic parameters. What it does, rather, is intervene in the space, exacerbating its characteristics so that they may redefine the conception of the architectural site. It obliges the space to take risks, to shatter its traditional hierarchical logic, to de-center its interpretation from materials, functions, and other traditional reference points.

The sculptural aspect of the installation is by no means scenographic; it directly engages in the phenomenon it questions. Not only does it expose the form of the construction; it also works to reformulate its very meaning. At no point does it seek to provide a scaled recreation or to amplify the occurrences produced there. Quite the contrary: it operates on a literal, physical, immediate level, eliminating the distances between the listener/observer and what he or she perceives (a perception, incidentally, that always exists on the borderline).

Concrete Acoustics operates along the borderline of the perceptible, and we must remain in silence in order to listen.

The installation doesn’t take the aural experience and its correspondingly silent atmosphere as a narrative; rather, it produces its own resonances.

Peter Sloterdijk stated that intersubjective relationships became historically possible because inhabitants were united by a single psychoacoustic framework: the “soundsphere.” According to this perspective, sound creates unexpected bonds, links that are neither linear nor causal, connections shaped by a logic that doesn’t merely escape the one that visual alphabets prescribe but which actually precedes them.

This is only possible if the path is traveled both away and back—if the multiplicity of elements, subjects, and spaces are interwoven in silence. (...)

[silence], 2016
a 40hrs listening session without speaking structured language (sound selection)

"Take a walk at night
Walk so silently
that the bottoms of your feet
become ears"

Pauline Oliveiros, 1977.

"Turn off a light source, even
in a mirrored room, and
abruptly the space becomes

Turn off a sound source, and
the space continues to speak."

Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter, 'Spaces Speak: Are you lisening?', MIT, 2007

"Walter Benjamin conveyed
in On Language as such and
on the Language of Man. In
this very particular essay he
reflects on the silent,
magical and material language
of things. Such as the language
of a mountain, of a lamp, of a
stone, of a fox, etc. At a certain
moment Benjamin poses
the question:
"And who is going to translate

Walter Benjamin, 'On Language/On Language of Man'

What are words worth?
What are words worth? Words

Words in papers, words in books
Words on TV, words for crooks
Words of comfort, words of peace
Words to make the fighting cease
Words to tell you what to do
Words are working hard for you
Eat your words but don't go hungry
Words have always nearly hung me

Ram sam sam, a ram sam sam
Guli guli guli guli guli ram sam sam
Haykayay yipi yaykayé
Ahou ahou a nikichi

What are words worth?
What are words worth? Words

Words of nuance, words of skill
And words of romance are a thrill
Words are stupid, words are fun
Words can put you on the run

Mots pressé, Mots sensé
Mots qui disent la verité
Mots maudits, mots mentis
Mots qui manquent le fruit d'esprit

Ram sam sam, a ram sam sam
Guli guli guli guli guli ram sam sam
Haykayay yipi yaykayé
Ahou ahou a nikichi

What are words worth?
What are words worth? Words

It's a rap race, with a fast pace
Concrete words, abstract words
Crazy words and lying words
Hazy words and dying words
Words of faith and tell me straight
Rare words and swear words
Good words and bad words

Ram sam sam, a ram sam sam
Guli guli guli guli guli ram sam sam
Haykayay yipi yaykayé
Ahou ahou a nikichi

What are words worth?
What are words worth? Words

Ram sam sam, a ram sam sam
Guli guli guli guli guli ram sam sam
Haykayay yipi yaykayé
Ahou ahou a nikichi

What are words worth?
What are words worth? Words

Words can make you pay and pay
Four-letter words I cannot say
Panty, toilet, dirty devil
Words are trouble, words are subtle
Words of anger, words of hate
Words over here, words out there
In the air and everywhere
Words of wisdom, words of strife
Words that write the book I like
Words won't find no right solution
To the planet earth's pollution
Say the right word, make a million
Words are like a certain person
Who can't say what they mean
Don't mean what they say

With a rap rap here and a rap rap there
Here a rap, there a rap
Everywhere a rap rap
Rap it up for the common good

Let us enlist the neighbourhood

It's okay, I've overstood

This is a wordy rappinghood, okay, bye

Ram sam sam, a ram sam sam
Guli guli guli guli guli ram sam sam
Haykayay yipi yaykayé
Ahou ahou a nikichi

Songwriters: Tina Weymouth / Christopher Frantz / Laura Elizabeth Weymouth / Lani C. Weymouth / Steven J.C. Stanley

“The Rosetta comet is singing: as the orbiter approaches, the ESA uploads audio of the comet’s warbling magnetic ‘song’", The Independent Newspaper Tuesday 11 November 2014.

On the way to the night walk through the forest organized by artist Chris Carroll.

We walk together towards the crossroads. We tried imitating landscape sounds, sounds of wind, birds, water drops or simply screams and laughs. An echo returned to us from the woods until we arrived to the end of the road and said goodbye.

To end the session a mobile speaker breaks the silence playing ‘Wordy Rappinhood’ by Tom Tom Club, 'What are words worth?'

PDF Complete printed memory

Sound protocol, a text selection by the artist, and the transcription and narration of the listening session held by 16 artists who were in silence and without language for 40hrs at Skowhegan residency 2016.

Artist book with transcriptions, text selections, and photographic documentation of the session.

Drawing for the insivible, 2015
Listening sessions to draw without vision (selection of drawing and sound situations).



simultaneity & synchronicity.


The booklets of Santa Maria la Ribera, Guerrero and Guadalupe Tepeyac (Mexico city) produced with the support and distribution of Fundación Alumnos47.

Conciertos abiertos, 2014
Booklet series for listening to public spaces.

Texts based on the listening experience of people from different neighbourhoods as a compilation of specific sites and times to listen and recognize specific 'instruments' and 'interpreters' playing habitually according to their memory.

Concert for percussions

Steel drumming.
Day and night striking machines.
The rhythm of the booming walls that fall with the help of many.
Arrhythmic natural fall of old houses.
Fragments of bricks, of cement and paint.

Place your ear on the ground,
or step firmly, to listen to the collapse.

Interpreters: machines and variable handwork.
Location: variable, Col. Santa Maria la Ribera, Mexico city, 06900.
Hour: continous.
Duration: from days to months, from months to years.

Concert for wind instruments

Instruments that emit intense treble notes.
Vaporous and deafeaning sounds.
Quickly cover the entire neighbourhood.
Played by train like vehicles of different scales.

the morning songs are played by industrial vapour pipes.
the evening songs by the sweetpotato sellers's handmade vapour pipes.
to find them you can follow their tracks:
the smell of wood and embers from the mobile oven,
or the lines of the old rails buried in the asphalt.

Interpreters: vehicles that release vapour under pressure.
Location: mobile, Col. Santa Maria la Ribera, Mexico city, 06900.
Hour: morning hours between 8 to 9am, and evening hours between 7 to 10pm.
Duration: variable.