Press Release

What happens when sounds from the past touch the present? Resonaciones is a collaborative and transdisciplinary art project awakening ancient sounds and frequencies from Andean whistling vessels to activate memories and to open up and reconnect other temporalities, sensitivities, forms of imagination and knowledge creation.



International exhibitions

International Archives 2nd half of 2023

Resonaciones, An Embrace to Awale

Ifa Gallery Stuttgart (Germany)

17.11.2023 - 11.02.2024




The project started with a visit to and the activation of Moche whistling vessels from the collection of the Linden Museum in Stuttgart in June 2023 by the artists Nicole L’Huillier and Francisca Gili, guided by the Mochica healer and cultural activist Karen Urcia. Whistling vessels are a centuries-old hydraulic technology that developed on the Andean coast of what is today Ecuador and Peru. These clay figures make whistling sounds when you blow into them or when the water inside them swings. The Moche, who thrived between 200 and 900 A.D. on of the Pacific basin of the north coast of Peru created a culture in which sound and sonority played an important role. Instruments such as the whistling vessels were considered as containing an agency that enabled the communication with non-human beings by producing sounds which sometimes are perceived as unpleasant to the human ear. They can be found in many museum collections, but very little is still known about the nature and symbolism of these sound-producing objects.

The whistling vessels from the Linden Museum entered the collection in the early twentieth century. Reactivating these whistling beings was also an encounter with Moche ancestors and their stories, memories and energies. In Andean cultures everything lives and exists in a context of interconnected energies that link space, time and the material world. The past emerged in the present when Karen Urcia brought the sounds of six whistling vessels back to life with her own breath, touching them and singing for them. By means of experimental artistic processes applied by Nicole L’Huillier and Francisca Gili, the sounds and frequencies of this encounter were recorded by contact microphones and antennae that register electromagnetic frequencies, and the life of these clay beings was reconstructed using archaeological and anthropological methodologies.

From this encounter new artistic and curatorial articulations by Nicole L’Huillier and Francisca Gili (artists), and Carolina Arévalo and Bettina Korintenberg (curators) emerged through mutual processes of listening, imagining and transformation. Sounding sculptures and circuits create an immersive sound choreography in the ifa Gallery Stuttgart. The soundscape is a living and permanently changing archive that is guided by a system of artificial intelligence: sounds are imagined, integrated and transmitted, leading to new sound experiences. These are signals from different times and different essences—the sounds of centuries-old whistling vessels, the oscillations of earthquakes and flowing water, and voices that come from visitors. Our understanding of time and existence becomes dynamic as something that exists in mutual influence (intra-accion, Karen Barad) and thus in a state of becoming-with. Reciprocity is the basis of all being and is nourished by the practice of ayni (Quechua: reciprocity)—the co-existence of giving and receiving.

By activating memories through sounds and frequencies, the project, which is a collaboration with the 16 Bienal de Artes Mediales in Santiago de Chile, connects Peru, Chile and Germany. The dynamic sound archive that has been building up since the recording of the whistling vessels in the Linden Museum will be heard at a sonic performance at the monument to Pedro Aguirre Cerda by Lorenzo Berg at the Almagro Park in Santiago de Chile, opening up a portal of temporal and spatial connections. The sound from the performance will be integrated into the living archive of sound at the ifa Gallery. Afterwards these strata of sounds will migrate, in a gesture of returning, to Huaca de la Luna (Temple of the Moon) in Peru, which is a key site for Moche culture, providing an impulse to ask new questions concerning the colonial past and present and also to look for traces of the dawn of a new age and spaces of the future.

Artistic and curatorial ensemble: Nicole L’Huillier (artist), Francisca Gili (artist and anthropologist) Carolina Arévalo (curator), Bettina Korintenberg (curator)

Guided by Karen Urcia Arroyo (Mochica healer and cultural activist)

With contributions by Gabriel Rossell Santillán (artist), Luis A. Muro Ynoñán (archaeologist), Manaswi Mishra (artist and researcher)

ifa Gallery Stuttgart in constellation with: Bienal de Artes Mediales, Santiago de Chile

Collaboration partner: Linden-Museum Stuttgart

Exhibition 17 November 2023 - 11 February 2024. ifa Gallery Stuttgart, Charlottenplatz 17 - 70173 Stuttgart (Germany).





[1] Francisca GiliLes Vilcas, 2023. © Francisca Gili. Photo: Nicolás Aguayo. [2] Nicole L’Huillier and Patricia Domínguez, Leche Holográfica (still), 2021. Film. © Nicole L’Huillier and Patricia Domínguez

[1] Francisca Gili, Les Vilcas, 2023. © Francisca Gili. Photo: Nicolás Aguayo. [2] Nicole L’Huillier and Patricia Domínguez, Leche Holográfica (still), 2021. Film. © Nicole L’Huillier and Patricia Domínguez Resonaciones, An Embrace to Awale, ifa Gallery Stuttgart, Germany

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2023. All Rights Reserved