Arts & Entertainment

Guillermo Galindo’s sonic plea against dehumanization debuts in NY

By Nora Quintanilla

New York, Jul 27 (EFE).- Mexican-born composer and artist Guillermo Galindo’s Remote Control, an immersive combination of music and visuals conceived as a plea against dehumanization, had its debut in the urban maelstrom of New York.

Manhattan’s High Line park, an abandoned elevated railway, was the venue for the first live performances of the piece, which Galindo created on a commission from the Kronos Quartet.

“My message is for people to notice that have dehumanized, we have lost contact with nature and with human beings,” he told Efe while overseeing a rehearsal ahead of Tuesday night’s premiere.

Consistent with promoters description of the work as “both a composition for a string quartet and an audience-interactive sonic environment,” far from being asked to turn off their cell-phones, audience members were encouraged to use their mobile devices.

ETHEL, a string quartet based in the Big Apple, provided the music, while Sam Durant’s Untitled (drone), a large mock drone made of fiberglass, loomed over the scene from the top of a post.

“I wanted to create an event in which people participate in the moment we are living: we all participate in one way or another in the dehumanization of violence,” Galindo said.

The audience was provided with a QR code that converted their individual cell-phones into speakers for the sounds of war that blended with the music from the string quartet to the flashes and pulsing of strobe lights.

The composer said that he assembled the war-sounds track from recordings of “Russian, US and European attack planes and from videogames.”

For Remote Control’s second movement, the musicians of ETHEL traded their bows for small battery-powered fans adorned with lights.

“After the pandemic we are once again in control of our world, and it’s very important that we return to connecting with humanity, nature and what human civilization has made us,” Galindo told Efe.

The artist, a graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music, started out composing symphonies and film scores before moving into the experimental realm.

“If art is not an element of healing for society, then for me it’s not art,” Galindo said. “What I want is that what I do has resonance for the public in general and can humbly make a difference in the conditions that exist on the planet.” EFE nqs/dr

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