Aquário Suave Sonora [Smooth Sound-Making Aquarium] combines experimental music with sculptures, installations and performance. For Vermelho’s hall 1, the artist collective created a recording studio consisting of two booths and a large room with acoustic treatment.
Created in 1995 by the artists Barrão, Sergio Mekler and Luiz Zerbini, Chelpa Ferro works with the investigation of acoustic and electronic sound sources, through the construction of unconventional sound-producing devices combined with traditional musical instruments. Their work uses technology to explore the multidisciplinary possibilities of dialogue with cinema, video and performance, creating partnerships with artists such as Debora Colker, for whom the collective created, in 2002, the installation Mesa [Table], part of the choreographer’s piece 4 x 4.
For the 25th Bienal de São Paulo, in 2002, the collective sparked controversy with the performance Auto-Bang, presented at the event’s opening. In it, a Maverick car decorated with marks and signs referring to the artists, was completely destroyed. The parts of the car were later transformed into sound-producing sculptures. The collective also participated in the 8th Bienal de Havana, in 2003, the 26th Bienal de São Paulo, in 2004, and the 51st Venice Biennale, in 2005.
Chelpa Ferro’s solo shows and concerts provide the observer with unique experiences. This is the case of Jungle Jam, a commissioned work presented in 2006 at FAC T (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), in Liverpool. Jungle Jam is an installation made up of thirty motors arranged in a horizontal line on the walls of the exhibition space. Each motor is connected to a shaft, which spins a plastic bag. When activated by a synchronizer, the motors rotate the shafts, thus moving the plastic bags, which in turn produce rhythmic sounds.
The collective has also held solo shows at the Museu de Arte da Pampulha, at the Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia (2008), at the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo (2009), and at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (2011).
The proposal of a state of curiosity and contemplative willingness for listening and discussing the relations between sound and space provides the basis for Chelpa Ferro’s works, suggesting a shuffling of the senses through different procedures.