Radio Taxi Buenos Aires

RADIO TAXI BUENOS AIRES

Fundación PROA Contemporary Space, Buenos Aires, May - June 2016.
Curator: Javier Aparichio
Coordinator for Proa Contemporary Space:
Santiago Bengolea

"Radio Taxi Buenos Aires" is a sound intervention in a public space of the Proa Foundation. Recordings from taxi radio, traffic and fragments of voices form the basis of a multichannel sound composition specifically created for PROA. A glass wall facing the street is covered with daylight filter, and leaves a slight glimpse of view to the street life of La Boca district of Buenos Aires.

The work takes its point of departure from Maia Urstad’s first visit to Buenos Aires. During her stay, she was especially struck by the sound of Buenos Aires' radio taxis: «It appeared to me as a distant, yet recognizable soundscape, with its steady stream of messages, beeps, crackles and interferences, blended with the drivers' and co-passengers’ voices, the car engine and the surrounding traffic. The sound reminded me of something I had forgotten - and that I'm not quite sure when disappeared from my sound world.»

Communication between the approximately 38.000 radio-taxi cars circulating the city of Buenos Aires and their central, is passed on via radio and VHF transmitters - a technology that my home country Norway has abandoned in favor of digital, noiseless technology, i.e. written communication. This moment in sound history, on the threshold between outdated and highly valid technology, is the thematic core of Radio Taxi Buenos Aires. As a result of technological development, we leave behind soundscapes that we may not even reflect that we have a relationship to. Technology disappears, and new marvels take place. The change is taking place now. Also in Buenos Aires.

I got the impression that nearly every porteño has a relation to the radio taxi - that the sound is in her bone marrow so to speak, as part of the city's central nervous system, and of Buenos Aires' sound identity. How do these sounds - or the absence of them - affect our being? Are they still in our nervous system after they are gone? What is evoked when we accidentally encounter them again? Does it matter? Will they matter to our memory, identity or place of belonging?

Link to the Radio Taxi Buenos Aires at Fundación Proa

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