LA BIBLIOTECA CIEGA
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In 1955, Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges was appointed Director of the National Library at the same time he was losing his sight completely. In his "Poem of the Gifts", he reflects on the magnificent irony of being given at once "the books and the night". LA BIBLIOTECA CIEGA (The Blind Library) is a site-specific sound art performance in two parts composed for the very reading room of the library where Borges stood sightless surrounded by books. For the first part, three short acousmatic pieces for 3D sound were composed, each one using recordings of a different consonant. Employing analysis and resynthesis techniques, each piece takes the recording of a single phoneme to turn it inside out, unfolding in the process their latent acoustic beauty. The three pieces on the second part explore unusual techniques of imprinting and reproducing sound, using a series of custom made instruments that turn light into sound. Mechatronic optical turntables, sonic backlights and bars of light were designed and built by the artist, and performed by members of the Banda Sinfónica de Ciegos, an orchestra of blind musicians. Chapter one of the thesis briefly introduces the main concepts, technologies and components present in the project. Chapter two provides a historical overview on some of the experimental art and technologies that informed the production and development of the project. Chapter three discusses previous works by the author where elements from LA BIBLIOTECA CIEGA can be traced. Chapter four is a detailed account of the project's creation process, methodologies, technologies, ideas and final exhibition form. Chapter five considers further developments made since its premier, its links to current work, and future directions for the project.