Contra – relatos is a project created by the TPM collective during the artistic residency at FemArt 2020. It consists of a sound archive that is present in a virtual space, where people can navigate and explore. The sounds are the voices of women that are living in risky conditions.
We began our residency at FemArt with the goal of creating a workaround a
In the context of a pandemic, the fascinating and obfuscating light paints the city in a colorful way, turning it into a consumable brand, while silencing the inherent conflicts of an uninhabitable metropolis, but certainly inhabited. As a collective, our interest is in the (im) possible dialogue between the sensorial and the technological. Emphasizing how certain social and political conflicts go through the bodies and the sensitivity of the people who inhabit them, we look for creative ways of translating these affective frameworks in crisis into audiovisual interactive experiences.
The word empathy keeps appearing and configuring the direction of each project. We believe that technology is a tool that can open alternative ways of perceiving the world. While in daily life the physical and mental journeys are designed to make us more productive, less thinking, more agile, and less permeable, participation in experiences that unfold other world configurations, opens a window to get out of our skin and perhaps perceive ourselves further from ourselves and closer to remote realities – invented, marginalized, unthinkable, unknown.
We set ourselves the challenge of conveying in our technological and experimental language the habitability problem in Barcelona, accentuated by the impact of the Covid-19 crisis. Along the way, we met the girls from Metzineres, a feminist group located in the Raval neighborhood that works in the area of risk reduction for women who consume drugs. They became the protagonists. The organizers told us how the confinement had directly affected this group, exacerbating the problem of housing, but also harming informal work, accentuating exposure to situations of violence at home or on the street, and, above all, altering your mood, bringing an effect more anxiety and instability than ever.
We decided then there was only one way to go ahead with this project: to listen. First, succumb to listening to us, and then find a way to extend that gesture to the users of the work. Participating in activities organized by educators in Metzineres, we started a sound file that documents the sensory and affective bonds of a group of girls going through this moment together. Sometimes they live in a room together during the day. Sometimes participate in activities. They inhabit their scrambled bodies. The network they create together is fragmentary, it is unstable, it is beautiful and it is dense. Translating this file is not just displaying your words. We also need to translate your frequency, its noise, its chaos, and its delicacy. We did not want (nor could we) script or prioritize the sound fragments. We invented a tool: as in a game we were placed in categories (some very serious and others more playful) phrases and words. We spoil the notion of category because none of them is exclusive, exclusive, or closed. All are in permeable essence and each phrase can be part of one, two, three, or all. To make visible the file we assign geometries to each category, and each of them has a different tonality. Indeed, the only concrete difference between one category and another is that the tonal cadence of the geometry that represents it is uneven.
Contra-relatos is a navigable sound file in three-dimensional space made by the software Unity. Is of nature opened because as an archive it resists its institutionalization. It is not a work, it is a platform to virtually inhabit marginalized realities. Its intention is that the user stops listening. That can be identified in the voice and stories of the girls from Metzineres. In the form of a computerized lattice, we represent a chaotic network composed of disparate but united discursive lines. The user can navigate through the symbolic space and inhabit a sound experience, in which you access a counter-archive through a portal of emotional counter-stories in a pandemic.