Ways to Listen to a River

Nahuel Cano

Nordost Südwest Performance 2022/23

Argentinian artist Nahuel Cano, in collaboration with Juan Fernández Gebauer, embarks on a poetic search for traces that follows the watercourses in southern Patagonia. The multimedia performance invites you to encounter the ghostly voices of the river.

English, duration: approx. 1 h 

“Ways to Listen to a River” is an experimental musical storytelling, a performative concert that invites us to listen to the voices of rivers, to find ways of being with what these bodies of water have to tell about their past and present, and our future. Which are the stories and histories that a river carries? What can we learn from them?

In this performative concert the audience is invited to sit, lay down, or walk around while immersed in a quadraphonic sound installation. The performance consists of a score of music, words, movement and live video projections.

The score is based on, and emerges from, a practice of mapping rivers’ sonic landscapes. Rivers are particularly complex and dynamic systems: in infinite interactions they shape and are shaped by the land they flow through, while shaping and being shaped by human visions, fears and needs. Rivers are also incredibly powerful metaphors and spiritual forces, valuable and coveted economic assets, witnesses and bearers of history. What opens up by being attentive to the transformations and traces present in sonic landscapes?

During the performance will be played map-scores of the Limay river in the south of Argentina. This river is part of Nahuel Cano’s personal and family history, and in it it’s possible to trace from a present on the verge of an ecological collapse a history of colonisation and violence. On these sonic maps the historical, the political and the ecological, but also the inner, personal, territories are threads that contribute to a particular form of storytelling that not only involves what happened, the facts and data, but also the feelings, the dreams and potentialities together with silences and gaps: what we don’t know, what we cannot hear.

Research, concept and compositions: Nahuel Cano

Visuals and space design: Juan Fernandez Gebauer

Text and composition advisor: Flor Braier

Movement advisor: Jimena Perez Salerno

Vocal Coach: Claudia Cano

Research collaborators: Susana Lara, Gustavo Figueroa, Javier Grosso, Liliana Ancalao.

With the support of: Het Huis Utrecht (NL), Residenties Utrecht (NL), WP Zimmer Antwerp (BE), Camargo Foundation Fellowship (USA/FR), Hellerau (DE), Estudio El Cuarto (Ar), Buitenplaats Doornburgh (NL), Ensemble Modelo62 (NL).