MediaWomb — CUBO, 2009

Mediawomb recovers the energy of the Ouroboros, the ancient symbol of a serpent eating its tail, an entity constantly consuming and re-creating itself. What could be more connected to this condition than the pairing of violence and the media cycles that reproduce, consume, and refuel this violence?

This situation has captured our regional attention regarding recent violent events traversing the Tijuana–San Diego border. CUBO collective has taken this complex problem as a departure point to explore concepts of displacement, dislocation, circulation, mediazation, objectification, embodiment, consumption, and violence through the development of an immersive interactive sound and sculptural installation.



Giacomo Castagnola developed a structure with the potential of infinite growth through accumulation of a single form or material unit (cardboard crates), to explore exchanges between scale, material, and memory. This ergonomic structure hosts in its interior the delicate and organic interactive sensor system designed by Nina Waisman, who also brings to one side of the mediawomb a collection of concrete and enviromental sounds recorded in the city of Tijuana. On the other side of the mediawomb, Camilo Ontiveros' and Felipe Zuniga's appropriations of radio and popular media trace manipulative reports of violence at the border, information on massive deportations in Los Angeles and San Diego, and soap-operaesque B-movie dialogues, spectacularizing narco-culture.

These two opposing sonic spaces—the derive-based concrete sound and the sensational media sound—confront each other in shifting interactive dialogues generated by the presence and gestural acts of visitors seated in the mediawomb. Solo or multiple users/participants activate sensors inside the sculpture with their body movements, generating ever-changing sound representations of the complex transborder space.

CUBO hopes the visitor to this piece becomes aware of her multiple role in the cycle of media consumption. On the one hand, seated inside, she is, as always, an audience to manipulative media. On the other hand, she has a chance to manipulate and activate new meanings as her gestures change the volume, layering, juxtapositions, pitch and speed of these sounds. Her physical reality impacts the virtual reality she co-constructs, engaging the body further in the consumption and production of media-based meaning.


*CUBO is a collaborative project that explores the creative exchange between technology, architecture, sound, and performance in order to reflect and tranform social space and public culture. Since its inception in 2007, the project has had several embodiments that include mobile sculptural-sound interventions, sound and music performances, ephemeral radio trasmitions, and youth-at-risk workshops in the cities of Tijuana and Los Angeles.


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Installation at UCSDInstallation at UCSD