Rebecca Adorno Dávila

| Luminaria Onomatopeya |

“When danger or pain press too nearly, they are incapable of giving any delight, and are simply terrible; but at certain distances, and with certain modifications, they may be, and they are, delightful, as we every day experience”.
-Edmund Burke, Of the sublime and the beautiful


Notes about the Diagonal Art Space:

Sound, in its physical form, is a wave that transports both sonic events and the traits of an acoustic space to the listener, by this means connecting the external world to its ears. Our brains prioritize sounds by using its capability to locate their sources, an ability known as auditory spatial awareness. But auditory spatial awareness also includes the emotional and behavioral experience of space. Listeners react to sound sources and to spatial acoustics because each is an aural stimulus with social, cultural, and personal meaning with the ability of reconfiguring the immediate physical space they are inhabiting.

Therefore we can describe aural architecture as a modifier of our experience of sonic events, such as when crowd noises fill an empty space or when a balloon is popped in an empty room that slowly gets filled with the reverberations of a nonexistent object.

When this happens, we start paying attention to the mood of a specific space…this is also when we engage in attentive listening – focusing on the sounds of life in the immediate environment. I see Diagonal Art space as a huge acoustic chamber and therefore decided to create a site specific string instrument with a light component to accompany four infrasonic sound sculptures. 

Below you can read the exhibit text by Guillermo Rodriguez

In her first individual exhibition in Puerto Rico, Rebecca Adorno presents a series of objects and audiovisual interventions that explore the physical qualities and the plasticity of sound. Adorno explores the idea of ​​a lethal beauty by means of auditory and light responses to the architecture and the acoustic conditions of the Diagonal space.

The exhibition presents “Mecanismo para la luz al final del túnel”, a sound installation with a lighting component. The Mechanism (a kind of architectural harp) employs the diagonal beam that gives name to the space, as a diapason, turning it into a chamber of resonance, while the amplified sound of its strings “illuminates” an adjoining room. “Luminaria Onomatopeya” gathers a series of Infrasonic Hugs, sound sculptures where pairs of subwoofers face each other – a symbolic hug – while absorbing low frequencies. Adorno’s Hugs make visible a phantom acoustic wave that the human ear can not hear, but can feel. The exhibition pose instances where it is possible to perceive and in some way account for events and ungraspable phenomena such as sound and electromagnetic resonance. By accentuating the spectator’s spatial awareness, the entire exhibit functions as a perceptual mechanism; the pieces operate as sensitive devices.

Luminaria recounts an investigation where Adorno proposes ways to approach the phenomenon that she describes as “lethal beauty”; forms and poetic contents that emerge when catastrophic events show flashes of sublime beauty. Aware of the ethical challenges that involve poetizing about that “deadly beauty” after one of the most destructive catastrophes in her country’s recent history, Adorno offers vanishing lines that pose the possibility of a post-disaster poetry.


“Cuando el peligro o el dolor acosan demasiado, no pueden dar ningún deleite, y son sencillamente terribles; pero, a ciertas distancias y con ligeras modificaciones, pueden ser y son encantadores, como experimentamos todos los días”.
–Edmund Burke, De lo sublime y de lo bello

En su primera exhibición individual en Puerto Rico, Rebecca Adorno presenta una serie de objetos e intervenciones audiovisuales que exploran las cualidades físicas y la plasticidad del sonido. Adorno explora la idea de una belleza letal mediante respuestas sonoras y lumínicas a la arquitectura y las condiciones acústicas del espacio Diagonal.

En la muestra se presenta Mecanismo para la luz al final del túnel , una instalación sonora con un componente de iluminación. El Mecanismo (una especie de arpa arquitectural) emplea como diapasón la viga diagonal que da nombre al espacio convirtiéndolo en una cámara de resonancia, mientras el sonido amplificado de sus cuerdas “ilumina” una sala contigua.

Luminaria Onomatopeya reúne una serie de Abrazos infrasónicos , esculturas sonoras donde pares de subwoofers encarados -abrazándose- absorben frecuencias bajas. Los Abrazos de Adorno consiguen visibilizar una onda acústica fantasma que el oído humano no alcanza a escuchar, pero sí puede sentir. La muestra plantea instancias donde es posible percibir y dar cuenta de fenómenos inasibles como el sonido y la resonancia; las obras operan como dispositivos sensibles y la muestra como un mecanismo poético.

Luminaria da cuenta de una investigación reciente donde Adorno propone formas de abordar el fenómeno que describe como “belleza letal”; formas y contenidos poéticos que emergen cuando eventos catastróficos muestran relámpagos de belleza sublime. Consciente del desafío ético que implica poetizar sobre esa “belleza letal” luego de uno de los eventos más destructivos en la historia reciente del país, Adorno ofrece líneas de fuga planteando la posibilidad de una poesía después del desastre.

Texto por Guillermo Rodrgiuez