Thessia Machado: Toward the Unsound

Opening: Wednesday, Jan 23, 2019 6 – 8 pm
Wednesday, Jan 23 – Apr 27, 2019

201 E. Ontario
Chicago, IL 60611

Opening Reception: January 23rd | 6 - 9 pm

Performance Marathon: April 26th 3 - 9 pm feat. Thessia Machado, Viola Yip, Merche Blasco, and Pedro Lopes

CHICAGO, IL — The Arts Club of Chicago is pleased to present works by the New York-based sonic/visual artist Thessia Machado (b. 1967, Brazil). Her first solo institutional exhibition, entitledToward the Unsound, highlights Machado’s interest in the materiality of sound and the act of translation. The exhibition displays sculptural works about sound and sounding works as sculpture, including a room-scaled, self-playing electronic instrument and a 133-piece felt spectogram. It will culminate in an evening marathon of responsive, durational performances featuring four artists—Thessia Machado, Viola Yip, Merche Blasco, and Pedro Lopes—on April 26th.

As a composer and builder of instruments, Machado writes for electronic circuits while considering deeply the unbounded relationship between sound and its surroundings. Machado’s original training as a sculptor is evident in her attention to the construction of hand-made instruments, often comprised of found materials and circuits, whose wiring and components are displayed as functional artworks. Her work for The Arts Club moves between finding graphic form for auditory experience and allowing data to generate resonant tones.

Machado's practice is rooted in what she calls "the sound of physics," where she mines electronic or unremarkable noise for "poetic content" and draws it out. Her work in Toward the Unsound reacts to the galleries at The Arts Club, both in its composition and conservation throughout the run of the exhibition. Works such as Transient Modes & Antinodes—shown for the first time in this exhibition—will subtly change over time, according to the impact that slight environmental shifts will have on the tuning of wall-mounted bass strings. ForContents: ACC, Machado has collected numerical “facts” about the Club and translated them into tonal frequencies that the audience encounters corporeally through headphones. Other works, such as River Reverbuse tactile materials to depict sound phenomena. Sounding and visual works are presented together in counterpoint, each contributing to, reflecting upon, and infiltrating the other.

A catalogue designed by Sonnenzimmer will be published on the occasion of the exhibition. It features an essay by curator Jenna Lyle in addition to a Sound Appendix featuring studio recordings of the works in the exhibition, as well as collateral recordings by Machado.

Thessia Machado (b. Brazil, 1968) lives and works in New York City. Machado’s installations and video pieces have been exhibited in New York, London, Philadelphia, Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin, Berlin, and Athens. She has been awarded residencies at Homesession, Barcelona; the NARS Foundation, NY; I-Park; MacDowell Colony; Yaddo; the Atlantic Center for the Arts; the Irish Museum of Modern Art; and the Vermont Studios Center. She is a recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, The Experimental Television Center, The Bronx Museum, and the American Academy in Berlin. In 2017, she was a recipient of an Artists Grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.


Image: Transient Modes & Antinodes, 2018. Cast cement, bass strings & tuning gears, DC motors, felt, Arduino microcontroller, custom circuit, wire. Variable dimensions. Each string module approx. 46 x 8 x 3 in.