Elsa Salonen. La voz del paisaje (The voice of the landscape)



Creation residencies cycle 2018.

La Boquilla, Cartagena, Colombia / Berlin, Alemania



During the first semester of 2018 the pilot of El kruce residencies took place. A platform for the exchange and residency of creators and researchers, as well as the outline of collaborations with community initiatives and independent spaces. In this first experience of exchange, Puerto Contemporáneo, a program of artistic residencies located in the village of La Boquilla in Cartagena, Colombia, received in June 2018 Elsa Salonen, a Finnish artist who currently lives and works in Berlin and was invited by El Kruce to be part of this exchange of creation residencies.
As part of our agreement with the residency program of Puerto Contemporáneo, Elsa Salonen will also have the opportunity to show the progress on her creative project during her residency in Cartagena, throughout the second semester of 2018 in Bogotá.



Project in residence





In the course of the history, humankind has developed various traditions of knowledge in order to be able to understand the language of the surrounding landscape and its non-human inhabitants. For example, when communicating with a stone what does an indigenous shaman ‘hear’ from it? And what about a geologist? How do these two ‘translations of the stone language’ diverse from one to another? Would they together be able to comprehend the stone better or are we, as species, still truly misunderstanding our co-inhabitants?



La voz del paisaje (The voice of the landscape)
Plastic waste collected on the beaches of Cartagena, Colombia; picó loudspeaker; sound documentation. Variable dimensions.


On the Caribbean coast of Colombia, the handmade loudspeakers ‘picós’ give voice to the local afro Colombian culture. These speakers are traditionally painted with neon coloured images and texts. In Salonen’s version; La voz del paisaje (The Voice of the Landscape), the word is given to the local natural environment.
For the installation colourful plastic waste, drifted onto the beaches of Cartagena, Colombia was collected. The plastic items were divided by colours and some of them were ground into tiny pieces and pigments. Using only the plastic pieces so achieved the artist decorated a picó loudspeaker.
The audio track ‘Agua Sala’ was made for the installation by the local musician Dj Corpas together with La Niña Bantú and Mc Garcia De España. The sounds of nature heard in the song – like the waves of the sea and the singing of the ‘Maria Mulata’ birds – were recorded in the same area in which the plastic waste was collected.
By letting the landscape make the creative choices and offer its typical ‘natural’ colours it starts to make its own political statements.



Collaboration / music: ElectromagnéticoDj Corpas, La Niña Bantú and Mc Garcia De España.
Collaboration / picó loudspeaker: Alex de la Hoz, Planeta Champeta.
Collaboration / project assistant: Jessica Escallón
Thematic consultancy / local picó culture: artist and activist collective Roztro.
Thematic consultancy / ecological information about the local beaches and the sea: Aniano (fisherman)
Project location / artist-in-residence: El Kruce / Puerto Contemporáneo, La Boquilla, Cartagena, Colombia