inviting artist to explore nature as their auditorium
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Achiote Cenote: An exploration of the mystical and material symbolism of both Achiote and Cenote on Maya terms. The conceptual dinner was set out to intertwine in taste and in implementation both qualities of Achiote as a spice and as a pigment in the very specific location of the Cenote with its implied magic through the transference of color, ritual and sacrifice where both spiritual and physical nourishment collide. At first John Arnold (1975, based in Berlin) built a pirate style color laboratory to explore the pigment form of achiote where he invited guests also to participate in the experience of the color. Natural objects like the cups and bowls inspired by traditional Mayan vessels and even the napkins were printed there. During the dinner the artist took the visitors on a very special journey, which created an unforgettable experiences of nature, light, sound and taste.
Blake Shaw and Bikini Wax
Walter Benjamin allegedly delivered his famous lecture “The Author as Producer” at the Institute for the Study of Fascism in Paris on April 27th, 1934. The Institution itself has since remained a matter of dispute regarding its existence and purpose. Some claim that the Institute never actually existed, that it was merely a fiction created by Benjamin, while others claimed that it was actually an espionage organization controlled by the Soviet Union. Regardless, what we know is that today it does in fact exist, at the very least as a lived fiction, and has been operational at AKI AORA for the last two weeks. The purpose of the Institute is to carry out artistic research on the formation of the contemporary forces of fascism that are seizing hold of power today, and develop poetic means for how these organizations can be combatted. On January 21st, one day after the inauguration of Donald Trump, Blake Shaw and Bikini Wax (Paloma Contreras&José Rodrigo García) delivered an audio-visual performance that combined elements of the lecture format and video art to explain the products of their research, and to deliver to the audience the tools they have developed.
Being invited by Aki Aora to explore the mysterious acoustic environments of the Cenotes around Tulum has been a unique opportunity for Jacob Kirkegaard to create a sound installation based on these hidden and unheard sounds. The Cenotes are a popular spot among tourists, when the visitors leave the acoustics of the spaces can be purely sensed and the before so silent animals such as bats and crickets take over the spaces.
Sally Montes (1981, based in Mexico City) decided to work with the local Mayan radio as a communicational tool to create a bridge between the exhibition's events and the local Mayan community. The mobile radio stations allow visitors to experience the ephemerality of language as a poetic performative element within the installation.
Baby Vulture’s installation and performance for Aki Aora approached complex topics as an analogy of death & rebirth and the duality that occurs in people’s perceptions such as our polluted ocean.
Inspired by her research of the natural environment of Tulum and the Mayan mythological stories of two Heroic Twins: Hunahpu (Junajpu) and Xbalanque (Xb’alanke) with their self-sacrifice in the underworld. The artist created a large scale ‘Nicho’ and moved her atelier inside this transparent souvenir box, where she performed on the last day of the exhibition, transforming found plastic objects from Tulum’s beach into souvenirs visitors were welcomed to take with them.
Robin Kahn (1961, based in New York City) was invited as a special guest because of her artivism and trajectory which continues to inspire emerging artists and women working in the arts. She spoke about her Documenta 13 project where she invited women refugees from Western Sahara in order to raise social awareness of their impossible circumstances and at the same time to celebrate their strength and unique ability to organise themselves in complex social feministic structures, which allow them to survive.