Caracoles iv, shells playing themselves


Jaime E Oliver’s “Caracoles iv” is a project that extends the scope and physical properties of an ancient Andean musical instrument: the pututus. It is a conch shell that used to be played by cutting the apex of its spire and shaping it like a cornet embouchure. Here the artist expands the unique, sonic quality of the instrument, introducing a microphone in the embouchure and a speaker at the end of the spiral canal, connected through a software-mediated feedback system. The system detects resonant feedback frequencies and temporarily cancels them, pushing itself to use new frequencies, and in the end the shell’s interior shape is sonified by feedback itself. The resulting composition is dictated by the shell’s core structures, as, enabled by the technological superstructure, they play themselves.




jaiolix – caracoles iv