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ABOUT

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

We are a temporary experimental music studio and exhibition space which manifests for a few weeks once a year. Opening a window into rarely seen processes of work in art, film and music.

AKI AORA is an annual residency program for emerging artists conceived in Tulum, Mexico as a platform for cultural dialogue and reflection on current events.

As curators we are interested in investigating the symbiosis between locals and foreigners, inviting artists to explore nature as their auditorium. During the residency we focused on asking questions about how artistic practice and public intervention can contribute to social change.

During a few weeks the artists developed their projects in collaboration leaving as result a series of events that began on the 19th to the 22nd of January 2017.

Sally Montes / Masha Isserlis - Curators

ARTISTS & PROJECTS

19/01


John
Arnold

Achiote Cenote: An exploration of the mystical and material symbolism of both Achiote and Cenote on Mayan terms. The conceptual dinner was set 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.

At first John Arnold built a pirate style color laboratory to explore the pigment form of achiote where he invited guests also to participate in the experience of the color. Natural objects like the cups and bowls inspired by traditional Mayan vessels and even the napkins were produced there. During the dinner the artist took the visitors on a very special journey, which created unforgettable experiences of nature, light, sound and taste.

Sally
Montes

For Aki Aora in Tulum Sally Montes decided to work with the local Mayan radio station as a communicational tool to create a bridge between the exhibition's events and the local Mayan community.

The mobile radio station allows visitors to experience the ephemerality of language as a poetic performative element within the installation. As a manifestation of the artwork the artist invited an opera singer and an artist Katinka Fogh Vindelev to perform a first Mayan aria. The recording became a part of the minimal installation where the volume was increased by a megaphone.

The events were transmitted in local radio station in Mayan language. This is the most popular station among the mayan speaking locals and the one fishermen listen to at sea.

Artist Katinka and Alejandro Un Noh “El principe Maya”

20/01

21/01

Jacob
Kirkegaard

Being invited by Aki Aora to explore the mysterious acoustic environments of the Cenotes around Tulum has been a unique opportunity for Jacob Kirkegaard to create a sound installation based on these hidden and unheard sounds. The Cenotes are a popular spot among tourists, when the visitors leave the acoustics of the spaces can be purely sensed and the before so silent animals such as bats and crickets take over the spaces.

Blake Shaw &
Bikini Wax

Walter Benjamin allegedly delivered his famous lecture “The Author as Producer” at the Institute for the Study of Fascism in Paris on April 27th, 1934. The Institution itself has since remained a matter of dispute regarding its existence and purpose. Some claim that the Institute never actually existed, that it was merely a fiction created by Benjamin, while others claimed that it was actually an espionage organization controlled by the Soviet Union. Regardless, what we know is that today it does in fact exist, at the very least as a lived fiction, and has been operational at AKI AORA for the last two weeks.

The purpose of the Institute is to carry out artistic research on the formation of the contemporary forces of fascism that are seizing hold of power today, and develop poetic means for how these organizations can be combatted. On January 21st, one day after the inauguration of Donald Trump, Blake Shaw and Bikini Wax (Paloma Contreras & José Rodrigo García) delivered an audio-visual performance that combined elements of the lecture format and video art to explain the products of their research, and to deliver to the audience the tools they have developed.

Performance
Password: oneisnot

22/01

Speaker:
Robin Kahn

Artist, Robin Kahn and I met at Documenta 13 in 2012. During that time I was assisting Robin with her installation for Documenta where she invited women refugees from Western Sahara, in order to raise social awareness of their impossible circumstances and at the same time to celebrate their strength and unique ability to organise themselves in complex social feministic structures, which allow them to survive.

Robin’s influence in my own artistic practice has been omnipresent and thus seemed only fitting that she should be invited to AKI AORA as a key speaker for our closing talk.

She is a great mentor for young emerging artists as well as women working in arts because of her artivism and trajectory which is an inspiration.

Baby
Vulture

Baby Vulture’s installation and performance for Aki Aora approached complex topics as an analogy of death & rebirth and the duality that occurs in people’s perceptions such as our polluted ocean.

Inspired by her research of the natural environment of Tulum and the Mayan mythological stories of two Heroic Twins: Hunahpu (Junajpu) and Xbalanque (Xb’alanke) with their self-sacrifice in the underworld. The artist created a large scale ‘Nicho’ and moved her atelier inside this transparent souvenir box, where she performed on the last day of the exhibition, transforming found plastic objects from Tulum’s beach into souvenirs visitors were welcomed to take with them.

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.

EVENTS


14/01

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

19/01

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

20/01

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

21/01

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

22/01

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.”

BABY VULTURE

Sonorama

19-22/01: 4pm - 8pm

TEAM


Sally
Montes

FOUNDER / ARTIST / CURATOR

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.

MARIA
ISSERLIS (MASHA)

CO-CURATOR / CO-FOUNDER

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.

EMILIA
TOLVANEN

CO-FOUNDER / PROJECT MANAGEMENT

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.

DAVE
TREVINO

HEAD OF SOUND DESIGN

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.

Book


Our publication serves as an archive of the events, the time and the place as well as those who participated. A percentage of the profits of this book will fund restore the coral, friends of Sian Kaan and the art of conservation as well as the house of culture for the preservation of the mayan language.

Please refer to our facebook page for updates on publication and to contribute to our kickstarter campaign.

VENUES - TULUM

Cenote


Sonorama and the John J. Arnold film center


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.

Papaya Playa


A creative haven nestled on the coast of the Mayan River. Papaya Playa Project lies adjacent to sparkling waters and the only Mayan ruins on the sea. Sustainability prevails here and guests can enjoy in a rustic simplicity.

We have chosen Papaya Playa as our closing venue due to their focuses on many key areas, such as solar energy, water treatment and recycling, gardening and plantations, local sourcing, fair trade, responsible construction, material recycling, and community involvement to reach sustainability and social responsibility objectives.

SPONSORS & PARTNERS



CONTACT

DONATE/CONTRIBUTE

We are a non profit organization that seeks to engage the community as well as people from all walks of life.

CONTRIBUTE SKILLS/GET INVOLVED/COMMUNITY

PRESS

info@akiaora.mx


Copyright 2017 Aki Aora