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The fury of a volcano does not intimidate Manuela Ribadeneira, an Ecuadorian artist based in London; on the contrary, it instigates it scientifically and artistically. From her challenge on the association between geological and social phenomena as a body of new research was born listen, an exhibition that takes up the entire ground floor of the Triangle House, until the 14th of July next.

It all started two years ago when Manuela went to Armero, a Colombian city, to get to know the so-called “contemporary Pompeii” up close. There, in 1985, the great tragedy took place that killed half of the 50 inhabitants buried in the lava of the volcano. Nevada del Ruiz. “Being in Armero impressed me a lot, talking to people and knowing that the natural disaster, logically, could not be avoided, but the tragedy could have been much smaller if there was an alert about the eruption.”

The result of this dive in time turned into a scientific-poetic exhibition, full of sociological dynamics, composed of large-scale architectural sculpture, topographic drawing directly on the wall, a set of sculptures in blown glass, photographs, video and drawings on paper, in addition to a sound installation. In Manuela's opinion, the emergence of history in contemporary society, surrounded by natural, social, economic, human and political catastrophes, which can be foreseen by man, is increasing. “From there I started to investigate scientific texts and found some in the United States where you can know when volcanoes are going to erupt. Scientists record sounds that are not perceived by the human ear, compress them to study them and make a representation of sounds in bars, like those shown on cell phones when we record something like sound way. I really wanted to work with their texts because they make metaphors for the rhythms of musical instruments”.  Harmonic Temblores III (Harmonic Tremors II) is an immense drawing that covers the walls of one of the rooms, created by removing the painted surface, where Manuela creates a topographical and sound drawing. “A sound installation”, she defines it. When walking through the exhibition, the visitor finds the memory of the wall and the space and gets a sense of what is hidden. Gradually, he perceives the rhythms, the sonorous blows, like an instrument, becoming more and more frequent and louder, until reaching a point where the volcano screams. “This image is not mine, it is the scientists who carry out these studies that describe how a hum accompanied by percussive sounds produced by an instrument such as an organ or a combination of musical instruments played at very low frequencies. "These are called Harmonic tremors. The frequency and pitch of these tremors increase to what sounds like a scream. When the frequency reaches a very high level and it can no longer take the pressure, it becomes quiet. It's the thirty seconds of silence precede the eruption. "Scientists have found this pattern of behavior in some volcanoes and think that, eventually, it could be a way to predict a catastrophe like the one we've just seen in Guatemala."

A large sculptural wall cuts through the gallery and displays the word listena, which gives the exhibition its name. It is a wall of sounds, it can be an invitation, a warning, an order, a word that has this ambiguity. Also in this room, small sculptures on the floor show bronze fingers pointing in different directions with the title of Los Culpables (The Guilty One) “These are the fingers of an arm of a Colombian colonial terracotta saint that I had in my house in Quito. During an earthquake this arm fell to the ground and the fingers were broken. So I redid them in bronze. are called guilty, because whenever there is a catastrophe the gods start to blame, no matter who: `You are to blame'. 'You are guilty' and so on.'

The reference image of the volcanic eruption is progressively decoded as the main element around which all the elements of the exhibition orbit, reappearing in different ways throughout the exhibition. The blown glass, displayed in a showcase, which forms an installation in the second room, represents the 30 minutes of silence of the volcano, which Manuela asked the artisans to crystallize. “They blew out exactly 30 seconds of air, which form a score of silences. These forms are forms of musical notes, a pause in a score, of thirty seconds”.

In the same room, on the wall, a series of ink drawings refer to historical research, as well as all his work. “This part is historical-scientific, I looked at a lot of paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries and how they represented volcanic eruptions and then I made my versions of this representation”. They are like notebook notes, a sequence of small drawings that form a single piece; sequences interest me, because all sequences are circumstantial.

A photo of this room shows the fuzzy image of a man suspended in the air by a jet of water. “This piece I took from a photograph that came out in the press, taken by a photographer during a political demonstration in London, at the moment when a “brucutu” type truck hits a militant and lifts him up: the photo shows the moment before he falls into the floor. I wanted to make a relationship as a coup of something unexpected, as the police do at these times with their water hoses”.

Two tuning forks used for tuning musical instruments, called Harmonia and Dissonance, close the show. A metaphor that, despite everything, we can still tune the sounds that surround us.

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