Mala Hierba

WEEDS (mala Hierba)
Interactive sound installation – six channel surround sound

By Alexandra Gelis working along with
Programing and sound design: Hector Centeno
Hair braiding design collaborator: Keli Maksud
Field work – research support: Cristina Lombana and Paola Camargo

Mala Hierba is an immersive, interactive, sculptural sound installation that invites viewers to interact at multiple levels with the history of people, plants, culture and rituals of San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia. The sound in Weeds recreates a “tunnel of sounds” used in Lumbalú, a collective funeral ritual where the community performs chants, dance, and play games around a circle, along with musical expressions such as the Bullerengue Sentado, Son Palenquero or Son de Negro, and Rondas. The chants and sound for this Lumbalú were recorded at San Basilio de Palenque, in the funeral of Evaristo Márquez, a very well known actor who worked with Marlon Brando in Quemada.
Mala Hierba, formally explores the traditional hair braid designs and semioticly layered resistant knowledge of the Cimarronaje, as well as the use of medicinal plants to nourish and heal the body, the land, and the soul. In addition, visual and audio techniques are used to research the history and imprint of biopolitics. This work seeks to evoke memories of environmental history through poetry and metaphor.

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