AKI AORA is derived from the Spanish words AQUI and AHORA, meaning HERE and NOW.

AKI AORA is a temporary experimental music studio and exhibition space which manifests for a few weeks a year. For the 2017 edition Artists will be invited to explore nature as their auditorium.

The location for Aki Aora 2017 will be Tulum, an area rich in natural resources, flora, fauna and stunning topography.



John Arnold was born in 1975 in Saltville, Virginia, USA. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Printmaking from the University of Virginia, 1998.

He was an artist in residence in 1997 at the Vermont Studio Center. He was awarded the Aunspaugh Post Baccalaureate Fellowship from the McIntire Department of Art and later attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for graduate studies, and has shown in New York, Paris and now Berlin.

He was currently participating in the Manifesta 11 Biennial in Zurich with his project Imbassy, which is a play on the English word ‘Embassy’ and the German word Imbiss (snack stand). John researched key state banquets and other events of historical and diplomatic importance that took place in Switzerland and, with chef Fabian Spiquel, has reinterpreted dishes from their original menus. As swanky state soirée meets simple street food, the tastes of the past make new connections in their current settings. The ‘Imbissadors’ and their regular clientele are brought together with embassy representatives, other politicians and anyone willing to take a bite, resulting in alternative forms of diplomacy and reconsiderations of history. He currently lives and works in Berlin, DE.

For Aki Aora John was invited to create a concept dinner inside the cenotes after a research on the food culture of the mayan local communities.


Jacob Kirkegaard is an artist and composer who works in carefully selected environments to generate recordings that are used in compositions, or combined with video imagery in visual, spatial installations. His works reveal unheard sonic phenomena and present listening as a means of experiencing the world. Kirkegaard has recorded sonic environments as different as subterranean geyser vibrations, empty rooms in Chernobyl, Arctic calving glaciers and tones generated by the human inner ear itself.

Based in Copenhagen, Kirkegaard has presented his works at galleries, museums and concert spaces throughout the world, including MoMA in New York, LOUISIANA in Denmark, KW in Berlin, The Menil Collection and at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Aichi Triennale in Nagoya, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan and most recently with a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denmark.

The unique nature of Tulum will allow Jacob to use his artistic practises and create a new sound installation related to the cenotes.


Blake Shaw (born 1988) is a media artist who works at the intersection of video, critical pedagogy, technology, and intervention politics.

His work and research is focused on understanding the failures of the political avant-garde movements of the 20th century as rooted in a dogma of finitude, and how the mathematical ontology of Alain Badiou provides new means for formalizing interventionist tactics beyond the constraints of nihilism.

His works and performances have been exhibited at a wide range of venues across North America and Europe, including:

The Akademie der Künste Berlin, The National Gallery of Denmark, The Brooklyn Museum, The Chelsea Art Museum, Qalandyia International, Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, Pioneer Works, The Museum of the Moving Image, The Centre for Art on Migration Politics, Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, The Biennial of the Americas, Luminato Festival Toronto, The Media Architecture Biennale, SCOPE Miami, White Box NYC, Christopher Henry Gallery, Ethan Cohen Projects, Jonathan Levine Gallery, ISE Cultural Foundation, DISPatch Festival Belgrade, The Vimeo Festival, Al- Hoash Palestinian Art Court and the Museum of Outdoor Art, among others. He has won awards for his work including The Vimeo Award (‘captured category’), The OneScreen Award (Best Animation) and the Le Havre Biennale Prix Partouche.

His work has been the feature of many publications including:

The Atlantic, Huffington Post, Haaretz, Wooster Collective, The Creators Project and a New York Times Saturday art section cover story.


Sally Montes is a Mexican artist and director who studied Fine Arts at Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. Currently based in Mexico City she has lived, worked and exhibited also in Berlin, New York, Milan, Paris and Los Angeles.

Sally Montes is interested in the abstraction of material or immaterial data and/or information as an agent for social change. Her work often deals with disappearing languages and researching new ways to smuggle information. Her most recent work involves whistled speech used in an isolated community in the Mazatec sierra mountain range.

Her experience of working with Saharaui refugees for artist Robin Kahn's piece at Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany 2012 was a benefit to Montes's own artistic practises.

For this edition of Aki Aora Sally Montes will create an artwork to broadcast the exhibition live in Mayan language on local radio.


Paloma Contreras (Mexico City, 1991) focuses on a political irony as a form of action, production and resistance. She believes a comic response to a disaster, can critically challenge conventional practices that lie within conformism of different institutional arrangements. She currently lives and works in Mexico City.

Contreras studied Visual Arts at “La Esmeralda” (2011-2015). She is an active member of Bikini Wax and a part of the educational program at SOMA (2016-2018) As well as being part of the curatorial and latinamerican art critique group “Los Yacuzis”. She has presented her work in different places like:

Sin Valor, MUAC, 2015 (Mexico city); Sin Valor y Fanzine Menstrual día uno y día dos,Printed Matters at Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, MOCA, 2015 ( Los Angeles); Sin Valor, Ladrón Galería (Mexico City); Fanzine Menstrual día uno y día dos, solo exhibition at Bikini Wax, 2015 (Mexico City), Fidel Velázquez no está muerto, Numismatic Museum, 2016 (Mexico City); Las botas de hule precioso, publication, NY ART BOOK FAIR // MoMA PS1,2016 (NY) The Art of videotape against tv, Juan Acha, por una nueva problemática artística, Museum of Modern Art (MAM) 2016 ( Mexico City).


Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Daniela Huerta gained her BA (Hons) in Fine Arts from the Central Saint Martins School in London in 2010. As a multi media artist, Huerta's work has been exhibited at important events such as arteBA (Buenos Aires), Artissima (Milan) and Drawing Now (Paris).

Her interest in sound and music as an art form encouraged her to develop her own musical direction under the moniker Baby Vulture, applying her broad and eclectic taste in various art projects and sound productions. She also works under the alias Cornerbred alongside the well known DJ and producer Magda. Together they had their first vinyl release out on the Australian label Balance in May 2015.

Huerta is strongly influenced by music concrète, by pioneers such as Iannis Xenakis and John Cage, and by a wide spectrum of electronic music. The combined influence led her to a passion for collecting rare vinyl and researching artists’ creative process in making music. In an almost archeological manner, Huerta digs for distinct sounds she can incorporate into the transportive, sound collages that are her DJ sets, where totally unrelated fragments of sound come together in mesmerising ways.

She is passionate about left-field, genre-bending music. Her selection is truly singular and she is quickly making a mark for herself as a strong figure in contemporary electronic music.

José Rodrigo

José Rodrigo García (Distrito Federal) is currently majoring in German language and literature in the UNAM. He is a graduate of the SOGEM writer’s school, is part of the Bikini Wax exhibition space and co-editor of publishing houses Libros Caballo and Libros Fantasma.

Special Guest:
Robin Kahn

Robin Kahn is an artist, curator, author of self-published books, and a founding member of several public art collectives. In 2012, she created the installation, “The Art of Sahrawi Cooking”, at Documenta (13) inspired by her cookbook "Dining in Refugee Camps (Autonomedia)". Kahn’s work has been collected and exhibited internationally. She is the recipient of several awards including a National Endowment or the Arts Fellowship.

Closing Event:
Superpoze (Live)

Having risen quickly in the Caen electro scene, Superpoze has kept busy touring, running his own label and releasing his debut album. Here he will be presenting a live performance of his increasingly melodic sound.

Closing Event:
Damian Romero

One of our closing night DJs, Damián has been committed to the promotion of contemporary music and the digital arts in Mexico for more than a decade. As the driving force and creative director behind Mutek.mx, he is a keen eared and deft musical selector.




4pm - 8pm

Open house with Sonorama & a special Sonorama welcome drink will be served

During the day, the public is welcome to visit the residency house


7pm - 11pm

John Arnold curating conceptual dinner in a Cenote

“Achiote Cenote: An exploration of the mystical and material symbolism of both Achiote and Cenote on Mayan terms. The project sets out to intertwine in taste and in implementation both qualities of Achiote as a spice and as a pigment in the very specific location of the Cenote with its implied magic through the transference of color, ritual, and sacrifice where both spiritual and physical nourishment collide.”

John Arnold


4pm - 8pm

Open Exhibition day

Artist performance every hour on the hour from 4-8pm

Artist presenting their work in the evening: Jacob Kirkegaard & Sally Montes at the artist residency house

Sonorama and a special Sonorama welcome drink will be served

“Recording under water I'm always surprised and intrigued by what I hear. As opposed to our acoustic and immediate environment, underwater spaces can be vast, invisible and even mysterious. Some of its sounds and their sources can therefore be hard to decipher and thereby open up an imaginary world.

Being invited by Aki Aora to explore the mysterious acoustic environments of the Cenotes around Tulum has been a unique opportunity for me to create a sound installation based on these hithero hidden and unheard sounds. The Cenotes are popular spot for tourists. But when the tourists have gone home the acoustics of the spaces can be purely sensed. And the before so silent animals such as bats and crickets take over the spaces. ”

Jacob Kirkegaard

“I am interested in the abstraction of material or immaterial data and/or information as an agent for social change. My work often deals with disappearing languages and researching new ways to smuggle information.”

Sally Montes


4pm - 8pm

Open Exhibition day

Artist performance every hour on the hour from 4-8pm

Artist presenting their work in the evening: Blake Shaw & Bikini Wax (Paloma & Jose) at the artist residency house

Sonorama and a special Sonorama welcome drink will be served

“We will form a contemporary, living resurrection of The Institute for the Study of Fascism, where the philosopher Walter Benjamin originally presented his canonical essay The Author as Producer. Since the rise of Trump, along with right wing populism and ethno-nationalisms across the globe, the need to raise the question of Fascism has not been as urgent since Benjamin wrote the essay in 1934. The newly founded Institute will arrive in full uniform, armed with images, appearances, and intervention tactics in an attempt to come to grips with with some of the most disconcerting issues of our present planetary crisis. Through the use of printed matter, video, assemblage, poetic intervention tactics and performance, the Institute will regularly facilitate games which invite the participation of all members of the residency to contribute, as well as regular lectures and readings related to our research.”

Paloma Contreras and Jose Rodrigo Garcia of the collective Bikini Wax and Blake Shaw


4pm - 8pm

Open Exhibition day

Artist performance every hour on the hour from 4-8pm

Artist presenting their work in the evening: Baby Vulture & Robin Kahn will be giving a talk to close the residency

Sonorama and a special Sonorama welcome drink will be served

8pm - Late

Aki Aora Closing Event featuring Superpoze Live & Damian Romero & more. Tickets will be sold at the door.

“My recent interest in sound and music as an art form encouraged me to develop my own musical direction under the moniker Baby Vulture. In an almost archeological manner, I dig for distinct sounds I can incorporate into the transportive, sound collages that are my DJ sets, where totally unrelated fragments of sound come together in mesmerising ways.”


We will be charging 5 US Dollars for locals & 10 US Dollars for foreigners at the door to view the exhibitions & talks.




Sally Montes is a Mexican artist who studied Fine Arts at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. As a student she was invited to curate a collaborative independent event for Documenta 13 involving three schools, during this time she also gained experience working with artist / curator Robin Kahn and the women of the western sahara. She has exhibited and worked throughout Europe, The United States and Mexico. Her last project was for Comunite in January 2016.

Aki Aora was founded in January 2014 by Sally Montes. The print publication that resulted immediately became a favorite and a collector’s item.



Whilst studying art history and media science at the Friedrich-Schiller-University, Maria had already started an internship at the State Hermitage Museum as an assistant curator. Following this she became an assistant curator at the contemporary art department of the State Hermitage Museum whilst working in parallel as a freelance curator for the Goethe Institute St. Petersburg. After this experience she was based in Berlin and worked with the Haus am Waldsee Museum.

Since June 2013 Maria has been working as the General Coordinator of MANIFESTA 10 in St. Petersburg. Following Manifesta in Zurich Maria became a curatorial coordinator for M11, working closely with the chief curator Christian Jankowski. She is based in Berlin.



After working for over a decade in the music industry, organizing and handling logistics at events such as the HER DAMIT festival, Off Sonar, as well as events for the booking Vice Versa agency, also project managing at Battalion Creative Agency, Emilia felt the need to create a space where music and art could help bring awareness to current environmental issues.

She is currently based in Berlin, Germany.



Mexican Sound Artist and Film/Music Sound Director dedicated to the art process of production to post production of films, documentaries, music and visual art. Since graduating from Vancouver Film School on 2004, he has been collaborating on films, documentaries, music productions and recording international electronic music festivals and live music around the world.


Residency House

One of the oldest houses of Tulum. Its beautiful minimalist interior creates a unique residence and working space for the invited artists. The Residency House is located on the beach before the entrance to the Sian Ka'an biosphere. Partially hidden behind the palm trees and low dunes, the artists will have privacy to research, explore, and create.


For closing event sold at Papaya Playa


If you would like more information or are interested in becoming a sponsor, please do not hesitate to let us know. We will gladly create a personalized sponsorship fact sheet and detailed proposal for your consideration.


Copyright 2017 Aki Aora