Sonic Biogenesis: Genomics and Mutant Jungles

Featuring Guillermo Galindo and The Living Earth Show

Sunday, June 20, 2021, 7:00 - 8:00 PM Pacific
Broadcast via livestream

Followed by a live conversation with the artists
Presented in partnership with Kala Art Institute

Sonic Biogenesis: Genomics and Mutant Jungles features Guillermo Galindo’s “genome scores” which consist of graphic representations of his musical compositions and artwork merging textures of plants, animals, and microbes. These pieces illustrate, in Galindo’s unique symbolic language, how research and data have historically expressed and sustained systems of power, particularly relating to colonialism. As a follow up to Galindo’s exhibition Dissonant Matter at Kala Art Institute which closed early this year, Shapeshifters Cinema and Kala will co-present a new iteration of Sonic Biogenesis, a performance by Guillermo Galindo with The Living Earth Show—the new-music chamber ensemble consisting of guitarist Travis Andrews and percussionist Andy Meyerson. Andrews and Meyerson will play experimental sonic devices designed by Galindo. Animation by Christoph Steger bringing Galindo’s “mutants” to life will weave through the video. The online exhibition catalog Dissonant Matter is available for download on Kala's website.

The intention of this performance is to demonstrate how science, while often considered to be neutral and objective, played – and continues to play – a role in colonization and conquest. For instance, naturalists were often motivated by the desire for new remedies to treat European ailments (economic or medical) to continue their exploitation of the “New World.” Similarly, biotech corporations today push the boundaries of ethics and possibility as they seek to modify the environment and creatures to best suit the needs of humans.

The first iteration of Sonic Biogenesis, Sonic Botany was a commission for the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time biennale. It was a response to the exhibit “Visual Voyages: Images of Latin American Nature from Columbus to Darwin,” which contained a collection of European codices that visually cataloged the flora and fauna of the Americas. Galindo calls this body of work an ethno-futurist “window to mutant environments” as he sees a direct link to his artwork and the human-made environmental modifications that are ushering societies around the world towards dystopian futures (events such as Chernobyl, Fukushima, the patterns of Global Warming evident worldwide, as well as the use of the gene-editing tool CRISPR).

More about the artists

Guillermo Galindo
Post – Mexican composer/ sound artist/ visual artist/performer

The extent of the work of experimental composer, sonic architect, performance artist and visual media artist Guillermo Galindo, redefines the conventional limits between music, the art of music composition and the intersections between art disciplines, politics, humanitarian issues, spirituality and social awareness.

Galindo’s graphic scores and three-dimensional sculptural cyber-totemic sonic objects have been shown at major museums and art biennials in America, Europe, Asia including (amongst others) documenta14 (2017), Pacific Standard Time (2017), FIAC (2018) and Art Basel (2018-19).

His work has been featured on: BBC Outlook (London), NHK World (Japan),Vice Magazine (London), HFFDK (Germany), RTS (Switzerland), NPR (U.S.), CBC (Canada), Art in America (U.S), Vice Magazine (Canada-US) Reforma Newspaper (Mexico), CNN, The New Republic, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times (U.S.).

The Living Earth Show
Called “outstanding” by the San Francisco Chronicle, “transcendent” by the Charleston City Paper, and “a fully distorted perpetual motion of awesome” by I Care If You Listen, The Living Earth Show (guitarist Travis Andrews and percussionist Andy Meyerson) is a megaphone and canvas for some of the world’s most progressive artists. One of the premiere contemporary chamber arts ensembles in the United States, The Living Earth Show received the grand prize in the SAVVY Chamber Arts Competition and runner-up in the open division of the M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition, has commissioned and premiered over 60 new works by some of the most vital composers in the world, released two critically acclaimed albums, and has performed, lectured, and given masterclasses across the country.

Thank you to...

Shapeshifters Cinema and Gilbert Guerrero, video documentation and editing
Cristoph Steger, animation and video editing
Dennis Keefe, cameras and setup
Experimental Sonic devices for the Sonic Biogenesis designed by Guillermo Galindo and fabricated by Genevieve Hastings, Luke Heimbigner, Rossella Scapini, Nathaniel Rich and Dennis Aman.
Kala Art Institute

Show Your Support

Make a donation to support Shapeshifters Cinema.

Donations are tax-deductible through our fiscal sponsor, San Francisco Cinematheque, a 501(c)3 nonprofit.