24/06/2014 - 16:30
  • The Silbadores
The Silbadores at the International Sound Art Exhibition SKAN II
IESTRĒDZISЗАСТРЯЛ, stuck, silbador, Heimo Lattner, Judith Laub, Skanu Mezs, Skan II

Skanu Mezs'
International Sound Art Exhibition SKAN II (Part Two)
official event of Riga – European Capital of Culture 2014

1.7. - 20.7.2014

Text: Heimo Lattner, Judith Laub
Translation: Semjon Hanin, Pēteris Draguns
Whistle: Kico Correa


The small island of La Gomera lies 5,000 km distant from Riga. Due to ever evolving forms of telecommunication and social transformations, El Silbo, the whistling language of La Gomera's native Guanches, is threatened with extinction.

El Silbo is a means of communication that transforms verbal speech into whistles. Originally, it made communication across great distances possible. A whistle can deliver a message across a distance of five kilometres, thus transmitting the human voice as far as possible without the use of any technical aids.

By the 1970s the language of El Silbo had almost died out. And then scientists began to research it. Thanks to this outside perspective, El Silbo became an integral element in the formation of the cultural identity of the residents of La Gomera. The initial context in which the whistled language was used was replaced by new contexts. There is no unequivocal answer to the question of the purpose that this form of communication serves nowadays, just as the definition of identity itself will always remain a matter for debate.

The master whistler Kico Correa performs the text IestrēdzisЗастрял (Stuck) – written in both Latvian and Russian – by emulating the sound characteristics of the two languages in whistles, but without speaking either language. Language is uncoupled from the subject and becomes pure voice. Hearing a voice means, primarily, noticing that someone else is present. Listening on the other hand already implies acceptance of the presence of the other. IestrēdzisЗастрял (Stuck) draws in “the voice as a material base for identity formation as well as a site where conflict, negotiation and surprising intimacy intersect (...) underscoring audition as a charged and also generous work itself, especially for approaching the other.“ (*)

Trailer: IESTRĒDZISЗАСТРЯЛ [engl. stuck]


(*) Brandon Labelle, Preface in Heimo Lattner: A Voice That Once Was In One’s Mouth, Errant Bodies Press, Critical Ear Vol. 6, Berlin 2013.



1.7. – 20.7.2014

Skanu Mezs'
International Sound Art Exhibition SKAN II (Part Two)
official event of Riga – European Capital of Culture 2014

Botanical Garden of the University of Latvia
Kandavas iela 2
LV – Riga

18:00 h
Exhibition Opening, Part Two
Live Performance of IESTRĒDZISЗАСТРЯЛ (Stuck)
Whistle: Kico Correa
13:00 – 18:00 h
Live Performance of IESTRĒDZISЗАСТРЯЛ (Stuck)
Whistle: Kico Correa
3.7. – 20.7.2014,
13:00 – 18:00 h,
Wednesday to Sunday

Sound installation IESTRĒDZISЗАСТРЯЛ (Stuck)



Supported by: Skanu Mezs, the Austrian Ministry of Education, Art and Culture, the Berlin Cultural Affairs Senate Chancellery, European Union programme Culture, EUNIC, Goethe-Institut.

The Silbadores project is the winner of ECAS (European Cities of Advanced Sound) Call 2012.