Returning a Sound follows the sonic trail of a citizen’s journey from the town of Isabel Segunda around the demilitarized areas of Vieques, Puerto Rico, and back again on a moped whose muffler is fitted to a trumpet. The noise-reducing device comes to produce a resounding call to attention, acoustically reterritorializing an island which had for over 60 years been exposed to the ear-splitting detonations of the US Navy’s bomb testing program. Recuperating the etymological roots of the word anthem – anti (in return) phon (sound) – the artists’ ‘counter-instrument’ signals local victory while addressing collective sonic memory.
Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla are an artist duo who work across sculpture, performance, video, sound, and photography. Exploring contemporary geopolitics, cultural artefacts and the ‘deep time’ of archaeological history, their research-based pays acute attention to both the conceptual and the material, the metaphoric as well as the literal.