Locust Projects is proud to present Philadelphia-based artist Raúl Romero’s new project Onomonopoetics of a Puerto Rican Landscape, an interactive mobile art project that explores how sound can evoke memory and a sense of place for Miami’s immigrant communities. The evolving multi-city project will be based at Locust Projects starting September 12 with initial performances in the public sphere taking place through October 24, 2020. Admission is free.
Onomonopoetics of a Puerto Rican Landscape explores how people in Miami connect back to their homeland, in the case of the artist, Puerto Rico. Romero creates an acoustic ecology using his field recordings of the coquí, a small iconic frog native to Puerto Rico. The word “coquí” is an onomatopoeia named by the Tainos indigenous peoples of Puerto Rico. The distinct sound will be transmitted alongside the everyday urban sounds onsite at Locust Projects and throughout Miami, creating an augmented soundscape.
As a second-generation Puerto Rican immigrant growing up in Florida, connecting to his homeland through visiting the island has helped form Romero’s identity. He connects his experience of the land, the coquí, and Puerto Rico’s Arecibo observatory through sculpture, sound, and movement, reaching the public throughout different neighborhoods.
In this project, a cargo tricycle is converted into a mobile sound transmission and data gathering station projecting calls of the coquí frog. Riding the trike through Miami neighborhoods, Romero and performers will broadcast the sounds of the frog native to the artist’s homeland as well as capture Miamians’ experiences and stories of the coquí and their own native regions’ iconic sounds. The public is encouraged to record their audible homeland memories, either via a direct voicemail at 305.699.4233 or by sending their recording to Miami@coquicalls.com. These memories become an active part of the project, uploaded to www.CoquiCalls.com where they live on as an online archive available for anyone to hear and share.
Motion-activated sounds of the coquí will also be audible along Locust Project’s exterior along North Miami Avenue where the trike will be parked when not in the field gathering data.
Onomonopoetics of a Puerto Rican Landscape explores how people connect with the lands where they hold their roots, and initiates conversation about what travels culturally and how reminders of nature can resonate, evoking memory and imagination.
Onomonopoetics of a Puerto Rican Landscape has been awarded $5,000 from the Velocity Fund Grant, an Andy Warhol Foundation regional regranting program grant for its iteration in Philadelphia and a NALAC Fund for the Arts (NFA) grant.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Raúl José Romero lives in West Philadelphia. He graduated from Yale University School of Art with an MFA in Sculpture, 2018. He currently works at the University of the Arts with the position of Film Coordinator and Lecturer teaching sound art. Raúl has exhibited at The Kitchen in New York City, NY. The Denver Contemporary Art Museum, Transformer Gallery in Washington D.C., Pentimenti Gallery in Philadelphia, PA, The Tampa Museum of Art, he was awarded the William and Nancy Oliver Gallery Prize by Anne Pasternak for the 32nd Annual Juried Art Exhibition at The Contemporary Art Museum in Tampa, FL.
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