“My challenge is to take sound art out of the galleries”

by Elena Manrique

Musician, architect and sound artist. Pablo A. Padilla combines perfectly his three professional facets and he confesses he doesn´t feel more comfortable in any one in particular. “The idea is try to connect all of them, although you must know there is a difference between music and sound art, they are not the same at all”. According to the artist from Madrid, based in London for three years, the main difference resides in a matter of time: “In music the time is essential whilst in sound art it’s not”, explains.

Padilla, passionate about Bach, started his musical education at an early age, with the piano as a main instrument. His passion for music and his Architecture studies led him to experiment the art sound world and since then he has specialized in the sensorial distortion field.

In his artworks, Padilla uses the sound as a tool to create a scene, a soundscape. The curiosity arose by reading a survey about how blind people could describe buildings through their sonority. “The results were awesome, the precision of the descriptions was startling. I was surprised about how they could describe distances and even materials just by the echoic response”, says the artist. That gave him a clue: the contemporary Architecture needed more tools to create. “I understood that we shouldn’t design just the visual part but we should design the scene”, explains.

I experiment with what kind of sounds I can take out of them, I record them, I process them and, at the end, they create another soundscape in which you can’t recognize the sound source

In his soundscapes, Padilla explores the relationship between the different stimuli of our senses, focusing in the perception through the sound and the synaesthesia. This dysfunction produces a sensorial confusion. The people who suffer it can hear colours, see sounds or even perceive taste sensations when touching an object with a certain texture. Padilla assures that the
discovery of this faculty suggested that “it exists a connection between stimulus and our relationship with the environment is the conjunction of all of them”.


Fotos cortesía del artista © Iñaki Lizarraga

A personal and unique experience

Padilla says it’s essential to keep in mind that his artwork doesn’t try to transmit an idea that the visitor should identify. “My idea of sound art is a frame where something happens. It’s not about trying to guess what was my intention. Each person will have a different relation and he or she will experiment it in a different way”, explains. The artist works, in a 90%, with near objects that he has around. “I experiment with what kind of sounds I can take out of them, I record them, I process them and, at the end, they create another soundscape in which you can’t recognize the sound source”, explains Padilla. The human brain tends to try identifying the sound source with a visual object, it hears something and it tries to situate it in the space and time. “When you overstep this point, you start to create an abstract soundscape in which it doesn’t exist a direct connection between sound object and visual object. Then is when the mind starts to imagine another environment and a different universe is created thanks to the sensorial distortion”.

In his installations you’ll never see a wire, it’s just the space sounding. “If you hide it, you leap and the abstract soundscape appears, in which you start to imagine things. That is what really interests me”.

The sound as an architectural tool

Padilla thinks that in the future the Architecture and the sound art will converge and the sound will be one more tool to design an architectural space. “If we perceive the space through all our senses, not just the visual one, why don’t we use these senses as a creation tool?”.

According to the artist, it will be “a long and complicated process” because, nowadays, the Architecture doesn’t contemplate these tools. “It’s the huge problem of the contemporary Architecture, it’s too much visual. I would like to change the vision of the building as an object”.

That’s why the artist decided to start in the art scene: “Here I can test, but in the future my challenge is to take sound art out of the galleries and use it in a conventional way in the Architecture field”, admits.

Padilla has travelled around many European cities with his art proposals. His latest work was part of the London collective exhibition “Process matters”, in which the artist invited the visitor to interact with the artwork, creating new sounds and new realities. Brussels will be his next destination, where the artist will explore again the idea of the sound as a design and creative tool. In his next artwork he tries to show how every space can become various different spaces, according to each visitor’s perception.

Know more about Pablo A. Padilla in www.jargstorf.com

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