Our fifteenth visiting artist was Oswaldo Macía, an artist based in London who creates sculpture which are olfactory-acoustic. He was originally born in Cartagena de Indias, in Colombia, and he has created the first ever public sound-sculpture in the southern hemisphere, which he first exhibited in Bogotá. He has exhibited at the Tate Britain, London, the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, and at El Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas.
In order to create the particular scents for his sculptures, Macía collaborates with a perfumer to create theme in response to his research. These combine with sculptures, installations which respond to the particular site of exhibition, and drawings, with the aim of engaging all the senses of the observer.
Macía’s exhibition at the Tate in 2015 was composed of the sound of two thousand birds emanating from speakers around the room, positioned above the heads of the visitors to create a realistic experience of birdsong. This created a ‘sound sculpture’ called Something Going on Above My Head (1995-9).In preparation for this work, Macía spent five years researching and collating audio files of bird calls from various archives and libraries, creating a composed symphony from them in accordance to the pitch of each call. The hundreds of calls are meant o symbolise all the different things that go on during our day, and all the news that goes unnoticed by us as we go through the day. Macía’s inspiration for the work was a tiny, missable newspaper article that subtley referred to Russian submarines dumping nuclear residues in the Baltic Sea.