MONICA NARANJO URIBE (CO, 1980)
Residency period: May – July 2021
During my residency at La Becque I continued my geological-oriented research, centred in previous years on caves. I specifically wanted to focus on the physical experience of darkness and how the lack of visibility could make me relate and think about the Earth’s interior in new ways. I chose sound as the best way to explore this, which also meant exploring uncharted territories in my own work (mainly visual). This challenging aspect was also part of my personal motivation for doing the residency, to relate to something new.
I first started with an interest in capturing sound that as humans we cannot perceive, specifically infrasound, as a way to collect more information of these natural carved underground cavities. I visited seven different caves and had the chance to do a six-hour long expedition inside an old mine with a local speleologist and a geologist. I combined the field trips with visits to a mineral collection and laboratory in Lausanne, looking for more information about the regions I was exploring from a different perspective: the minerals and crystals formed underground.
After visiting different caves around Switzerland, I decided to focus on the Grottes de Vallorbe, attracted by the special acoustic of its limestone formations. I added a new layer for my sound explorations by creating sounds from different sources and recording how this particular space reflected them. This all-sound experience was very revealing to me and brought me to think of sound from new perspectives that will certainly influence my future works and general reflections on our relationship to nature.
Alongside this, I worked on a site-specific installation/action at the entrance of a cave documented on a video that explores darkness as a material entity. It was also part of a series I have been doing lately, that consists of inserting a fictional element into the landscape, whose movement evokes the invisible geological forces that shape the environment – in this case the unseen water and rivers that have gradually carved the stone over time. The title The Breath of a Cave (El Aliento de una cueva) comes from a very simple way through which many hidden caves have been discovered through history, i.e. by feeling a draught of cold air coming out from a rocky wall. — Mónica Naranjo Uribe
The artistic practice of Mónica Naranjo Uribe is centered around the intimate and physical exploration of territories that she combines with scientific research, looking for a way to connect the invisible to our human scale and perceptions. She is interested in how fiction becomes a way to enter the inaccessible and, paradoxically, allow us to connect to the natural environment in a deeper way. She has centered her research on geological processes, to understand territories from their physical behavior and recognize them as alive beings.