Magellanic Tapes (2018)

Installation made of woven tapestry of cassette tape, found objects and destroyed cassettes, mini Polaroid pictures, audio file, speakers and video (optional).

In November 2017 the electroacoustic composer and artist AngĂ©lica CastellĂł did an artistic residency in the sub-polar region of Chile, and traveled with a group of artists from Vienna to Puerto Williams, in the so-called Magaellanic Strait zone. The expedition went to “Isla de Hornos”, the southernmost point of the earth. Once there, CastellĂł made field recordings and interviews with locals, using an ‘AIWA V Walkman – Sensor on Cassettes’, among other recording devices, to create her own allegorical soundscape, as a part of a bigger project: a mixed media installation related to the themes of memory, distance and everyday life of those who live in remote places. But the real protagonist of all this work is the wind of the ocean, one of her artistic obsessions, that she has been using along her trajectory to reflect on the inextricability of nature and culture, analogy and imagination, traveling and longing, to create fascinating magnetic creatures, made with flexible handmade sculptures and soundscape compositions, using different sources and her own —and main—instrument: the Petzold flute, combined with airwaves and cassette tapes.

Magellanic Tapes approaches the idea of soundscape as an experience built with the means of theater and hörspiel, to immerse the audience in the stories and emotions raised during the artist expedition, through analogical and physical media. We hear audio cassette recordings of wind and human encounters, sounds from a ‘romantic movie’; a theater play in Vienna, radio static, a grill party with colleagues, the cumbia music from a Columbian restaurant, a group of children from a school in Puerto Williams (where CastellĂł did a workshop on singing and deep listening), a host lady in Punta Arenas, the Arriagada family —the only Inhabitants of Isla de Hornos—, the uproarious wind sounds of the Island, the Yagan ship which brought the group from Punta Arenas to Puerto Williams, and the small military boat which, through heavy waves brought the group to their final destination: Isla de Hornos.
All this sounds and recordings were made on analogical cassette tape to be digitized for the music composition, and then used as the raw material for a woven tapestry.
All this elements and assemblages serve CastellĂł to explore and develop the idea of personal diaries and autobiography, crossing disciplinary and aesthetical boundaries, combining personal longings, ethnographic tactics and esquizophonic possibilities of musique concrete, to create a tissue (musical and sculptural) of poetical complexity, allowing us to experience both, the wilderness and the intimacy.
Acoustic ecology, ethnographical listening and poetical sound craft, gives place to a sort a memoir about a trip to the end of the world, a love letter to the strong gale, a map of an imaginary place.

The installation is made up of a piece of tapestry, a video of the artist crocheting in Isla de Hornos, as well as found objects, destroyed tapes and photos and sounds of the different places and people.

Carlos Prieto Acevedo


Magellanic Tapes at sonic objections #2 Bildraum Bodensee 2018 © Petra Rainer

Magellanic Tapes at sonic objections #2 Bildraum Bodensee 2018 © Petra Rainer

magellanic tapes 1 from Angélica Castelló on Vimeo.


thanks to bundeskanzleramt kultur und kunst (bka), to the armada chilena, familia arriagada and nicolas spencer