Clarissa Tossin working in residence in the Theater on principal photography for Mojo’q che b’ixan ri ixkanulab’ September 28, 2021. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Michael Valiquette / EMPAC

Clarissa Tossin presents her installation ‘Before the Volcanoes Sing’

(Los Angeles, USA)

Clarissa Tossin is back in residence in the EMPAC Concert Hall with composer Michelle Agnes Magalhães to work on the sound design, dramaturgy, and realization of her installation Mojo’q che b’ixan ri ixkanulab’ / Antes de que los Volcanes Canten / Before the Volcanoes Sing.

The moving image work utilizes a higher-order Ambisonic spatial audio system. Ambisonics is a specific audio format developed to record, mix, and playback audio in a scalable immersive three-dimensional soundfield. The listeners in the Concert Hall are surrounded by 64 loudspeakers distributed across the wall and ceiling surfaces, each contributing to the soundfield with their own audio channel.

Over the last several years, the principal photography for Mojo’q che b’ixan ri ixkanulab’/ Antes de que los Volcanes Canten / Before the Volcanoes Sing was filmed by Tossin and cinematographer Jeremy Glaholt in the Concert Hall and Theater at EMPAC with flautist Alethia Lozano Birrueta; at Sowden House and the Mayan Theater in Los Angeles with Lozano Birrueta and artist Tohil Fidel Brito; and in Guatemala with poet and artist Rosa Chávez.

Los Angeles-based artist Clarissa Tossin’s Mojo’q che b’ixan ri ixkanulab’ / Antes de que los Volcanes Canten / Before the Volcanoes Sing is scored by Brazilian composer Michelle Agnes Magalhães and performed by Mexican flautist Alethia Lozano Birrueta, Ixil Maya artist Tohil Fidel Brito, and K’iche ’Kaqchiquel Maya poet Rosa Chávez. The film takes a sonic approach to the articulation of architectural borrowings by Western architects of indigenous cultural motifs, utilizing 3D-printed replicas of Maya wind instruments from Pre-Columbian collections held in US and Guatemalan museums.

The video discusses the production of the flutes, the composition of the score, and approaches to the film’s cinematography. These 3D scanned and playable replica instruments were created by anthropologist/archaeologist Jared Katz, the Mayer Post-Doctoral Curatorial Fellow for Pre-Columbian Art at the Denver Art Museum.


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