Brazilian Ricardo O’Nascimento combines sound and textile in Taiwan artist residency


Brazilian new media artist Ricardo O’Nascimento completed a residency at the Taipei Artist Village throughout May and June 2011. Art Radar profiles his time in Taipei, the work he created during his residency and how the city has influenced his work.

'Pin Yin' , one of the works Ricardo O'Nascimento created during his 2011 Taipei Artist Village residency. Image courtesy the artist.

Time in Taipei

Choosing to take part in the Taipei Artist Village (TAV) residency programme was an easy decision for O’Nascimento, who was already looking for opportunities to work in Asia.

Taiwan was one of my dream places [to work in] due to the fact that almost all of the world’s electronic products are made in Taiwan or China. I guess for a new media artists it raises at least some curiosity.

Taiwanese dance performance photographed by Ricardo O'Nascimento. The colour and sound choices he made for his 2011 works were inspired by Taiwanese aboriginal culture. Image courtesy the artist.

The art scene in Taipei is lively, O’Nascimento says, boasting young talent passionate about their work and the political situation in the region. However, his main interest lay in urban culture and lifestyle of the city.

The city itself is a great source of inspiration, with its peculiar dynamic: 7-Elevens, scooters, temples. I could say that my experience in Taipei brought my work to another level that’s maybe less technical but definitively more human.

O’Nascimento took advantage of the close community that the Taipei Artist Village aims to create, citing the work of another artist in residence at the village, New Zealander Rohan Willeans, as an important influence. “I learned from him to appreciate beauty,” he says of the Kiwi who was the second New Zealander to be selected for the residency programme.

[Editor’s note: The first New Zealander to be selected for the Taipei Artist Village residency was painter Andy Leleisi’uao. Click here to read our profile of “Kamoan” Leleisi’uao and his work.]

Textile and sound: a strange synthesis

The textiles used in 'Pin Yin' (2011). Image courtesy the artist.

Ricardo O’Nascimento created two works during his residency in Taipei, called Pin Yin and Mind Taipei, and although each piece focuses on different types of sound present in the city, both works rely heavily on marrying textiles, sound and technology.

Mind Taipei is a headpiece in which 69 speakers that broadcast sounds recorded in Taipei, both melodic and noisy, are embedded. Each sound was chosen to create a balance between the two characteristics. (Click here to watch a video recording of Mind Taipei on Vimeo.) Pin Yin, the second work to be produced by O’Nascimento during his TAV residency, is a performance piece that involves a dancer wearing an interactive dress fitted with sensors and speakers. It explores the music of Taiwanese aboriginal communities. (Click here to watch a video recording of Pin Yin on Vimeo.)

While to many this may seem like an unusual combination of materials, O’Nascimento sees the separation of textile and sound as being strange. “In the case of the hat [Mind Taipei], I decided to put sound there because it is physically near the head. My idea was to collect fragments of the sounds of the city, those fragments that stuck in my mind like a song that I could not avoid singing. When wearing the hat, it is like I am transferring my mind to the wearer and they are broadcasting those fragments,” O’Nascimento says of his work.

Wiring for 'Pin Yin' (2011), which features a dress embedded with seven touch sensors and four speakers. Image courtesy the artist.

While foreigners travelling through the region may find the inability to speak the local language a challenge, O’Nascimento made it a key element in his work. “It gives you the opportunity to guess, to invent. Sometimes I create stories based only on what I think people are talking about. Mind Taipei was built a bit like that, collecting sounds not by the meanings but instead but the feelings that they trigger.”

'Mind Taipei' (2011). Image courtesy the artist.

About Ricardo O’Nascimento

Ricardo O’Nascimento is a Brazilian artist with a focus on new media and interactive art. In 2006, he founded Popkalab in Rotterdam in the Netherlands and in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, using it as a platform to present his work. Although currently working on a project with V2, a new media art centre in Rotterdam, he plans on returning to Asia soon as part of a residency programme with a theatre in Seoul, South Korea.


Related Topics: artist residencies, sound art, new media artTaiwan art happenings

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