Following his interest in the human experience within musical traditions, Miami-based artist Juan Ledesma’s exhibition The Rhythm of Speech at Locust Projects is an experimental video installation inspired by the rhythm of speech that explores language as a sound source outside of meaning. Using Miami’s language diversity as a sample pool, Ledesma will distill the most distinguishable phonemes (units of sound within a language) to create an original score derived from accents. This project considers accents as the collective songs of spoken language—a musical phenomenon of proximity.
Among native speakers, accents develop over time by individuals in close contact to one another. Accents also manifest when an individual carries the sounds and rules from their native language into a second language. What makes an accent recognizable is the pronunciation of certain phonemes as well as the characteristic tones and speech rhythms that occur within communities. While accents may become indicators of cultural upbringing, geographic origin, and socio-economic background, Ledesma intends to distill speech patterns from language and therefore transcend these as signifiers by concentrating on their sonic characteristics.
The video installation will feature the film in which the experimental score developed through this project is performed by a music ensemble. This project considers accents as the collective songs of spoken language—a musical phenomenon of proximity. The video installation and musical composition will feature a patchwork of phonetic sounds that exist within Miami’s community—revealing the abstract influence of phonemes within spoken language.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
The work of Juan Ledesma (b. 1988 Auckland, New Zealand) considers the resonance of human experience in songwriting and audio recording via sculptural sound installations. Ledesma is interested in acoustic space and material culture, a pursuit which seeks to find manners in which elevated sonic and sculptural discourse can inform more colloquial musical traditions. He allows his encounters with different disciplines to inform his various interests and seek relationships that could potentially transcend subject matter.
Selected exhibitions and performances include: Instrument, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (2018); Performance for Parafiction, ArtCenter South Florida, Miami (2017); Goin’ Ghost Cassette Release, Gramps, Miami (2016); Morning Samba, Radioactive Records, Ft Lauderdale, FL (2015); Album Release, Sweat Records, Miami (2015); Performance for Purple Goo, The Wolfsonian-FIU, Miami (2013); DECA, Ritter Art Gallery, Boca Raton, FL (2012); Milagros: Portal Culture, Freedom Tower, Miami (2012); Second Saturday Exhibition, GAB Studio, Miami (2011), among others.
Ledesma graduated in 2012 with a Bachelors in Fine Arts from Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL, and is the recipient of the Rothernberger Endowed Scholarship for Humanities, Boca Raton, FL, 2012 and the 2007 Florida Medallion Scholarship, Boca Raton, FL.
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