TONO is a new festival in Mexico City for time-based artwork, including dance, performance, music, and video art. With museum and gallery partners across the city, the exhibition will feature local, regional, and international artists. Long-term, TONO will become an important space for dialogue surrounding time-based practices and for creating new threads of research.
The inaugural TONO Festival opens in April 2023 and will run for two weeks (18th-30th). The main program will take place across Museo Anahuacalli, Museo de Arte Moderno, Museo Ex Teresa Arte Actual, Centro de Cultura Digital, Museo Experimental el Eco, Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Complejo Cultural Los Pinos, and General Prim. The satellite program will take place at participating galleries in Mexico City.
Main Program Artists: TONO is thrilled to be working with artists from Argentina, Armenia, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, France, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Artists include: Lotte Andersen, Cecilia Bengolea, Meriem Bennani, Alberto Bustamante, Naomi Rincón Gallardo, Santiago Gómez, Jenny Granado, Agata Ingarden, Arthur Jafa, Naima Karlsson, Ligia Lewis, Paloma Contreras Lomas, Garush Melkonyan, Jao Moon, Lauro Robles, Pepx Romero, Luiz Roque, Jacolby Satterwhite, Diego Vega Solorza, Alonso Leon-Velarde, Wangshui, and Osías Yanov.
Theme: Rhythm. We are interested in how rhythm acts as a thread to explore different group dynamics and social structures. At a point in which the idea of a greater “we” is fragmented, what channels do we have for connection and communication with ourselves and our environments? How do local frequencies have a global effect? Participating in video installations and performances will consider the role of dance and music in fostering identity-whether individual, collective, group, etc; interspecies connection; non-verbal language and transmission (virality of music); politics of sound; and ecological connection/rhythm.
Founder: Samantha Ozer is a curator and writer based between Mexico City and New York. She has organized projects independently in Athens, Mexico City, and Milan and at the David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles as a curatorial member of The Racial Imaginary Institute. She has held curatorial roles at the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 in New York, and worked as a researcher in Ekene Ijeoma’s Poetic Justice Group at the MIT Media Lab. She is a contributor for Artforum, CFA, Cultured, Cura, Frieze, Materia, PIN-UP Magazine, and Purple Magazine, where she is an arts editor and was Editor-at-large for the Mexico City issue.
PERFORMANCES (ORDERED BY DATE)
Tuesday, April 18th: 7 pm Osías Yanov, RepiT RepiT RepiT nunca RepiT el RepiT (2023) at Museo de Arte Moderno
RepiT RepiT RepiT nunca RepiT the RepiT (2023) explores how to practice from the body’s conceptual and sensory fields of resistance against the stereotyped control of subjectivity. The performative and sculptural work is made based on sketches and essays from 2013. A decade later, it is updated to manifest changes and notions that our bodies have gone through regarding notions of gender and violence. Through the work as a space for exercise, as well as in a nocturnal Burma, it will seek to untrain our body format and mistrust our forms of presence. Dancers: Quillen Mut, Ana g. Sambrano, el Man
Wednesday, April 19th:
4 pm Osías Yanov RepiT RepiT RepiT nunca RepiT el RepiT (2023) at Museo de Arte Moderno (capacity ~100 people)
Look at the previous mention for more info on work
6-9 pm Screening program part I at Centro de Cultura Digital in collaboration with MMCA, Seoul (program will have a brief intermission)
Watch and Chill 3.0: Streaming Suspense is a screening program in collaboration with the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA), the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), and the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). The program will include physical presentations at all of the hosting partners as well as an online presentation on the MMCA’s Watch and Chill (watchandchill.kr/en) platform, the world’s first subscription-based streaming platform for contemporary art, where the audience worldwide can freely access to the media collection of major international art institutions. Entitled Streaming Suspense, Watch and Chill season 3 explores ways in which methods of storytelling and imaging conjure immersion through the strategies of tension. Sub-themed as “Landscape under Moonlight,” “Assembly of Evidence,” “Mutable Corpus,” “Performance of the Undead,” and “Post-dystopian Worldbuilding,” the contents for both an online platform and the offline exhibition presents works that experiment with the psyche of uncanny, abnormality, shape-shifting, and related implications today. Artists include:
JANG Minseung, KWON Hayoun, Dean Cross, Alison Nguyen, Nic Hamilton, Jung Jaekyung, Paloma Contreras Lomas, Fang Lu, Lior Shamriz, Song Sanghee, Meriem Bennani, Asta Groeting, Fyerool Darma, Lior Shamriz, siren eun young jung, Naomi Rincon Gallardo, Club Ate (Justin Shoulder, Bhenji Ra y colaboradores), Cecile B. Evans, Park Chankyong, Jacolby Satterwhite, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Garush Melkonyan, Luiz Roque, Chitra Ganesh y Jaekyung Jung.
Thursday, April 20th: 7 pm Jao Moon, The Lifetime of Fire (2022) at Museo Anahuacalli (recording of a previous presentation at Haus der Kulturen der Welt)
The Lifetime of Fire (2022) is a performance that Jao Moon created for the group exhibition “This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection,” at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt. His practice is informed by his experience of growing up in the marginalized periphery of Cartagena, Colombia. Living in an environment of constant resistance transformed him into a political body and made him question the predominant social order. In this artwork, he places candles in a mask on his head, slowly moving across a room. As the candles melt, the wax leaves marks on his skin. In this ritual between pain and pleasure, he seeks to decolonize ancestral memory through fire.
Friday, April 21st
9 pm party at Cafe Sismo (DJS TBD)
Tuesday, April 25th: 6-9 pm Screening program part II at Centro de Cultura Digital in collaboration with MMCA, Seoul (program will have a brief intermission)
Look at the previous mention for more info on the program
Wednesday, April 26th: 6-9 pm Screening program part III at Museo Nacional de Antropología in collaboration with MMCA, Seoul (program will have a brief intermission)
Look at the previous mention for more info on the program
Thursday, April 27th: 4 pm Lotte Andersen, Naima Karlsson, Alonso Leon-Velarde, Synthetic Opus, 2023 at Museo de Arte Moderno
Synthetic Opus (2023) es una adaptación en directo de Chaos Has No Morality (2022), una instalación de audio de tres canales de Lotte Andersen compuesta por Naima Karlsson y Alonso Leon-Velarde. La instalación era una propuesta de himno deconstruido y exploraba las historias de los himnos nacionales y la cualidad hipnótica de un gancho musical. Para TONO, los artistas colaboran con músicos de jazz de Ciudad de México para interpretar la composición.
Friday, April 28th: 7 pm Diego Vega Solorza, Dorje (2019) at Ex Teresa Arte Actual
Diego Vega Solorza is a dancer, choreographer and director of TRAZO, a contemporary dance group that works across spaces not designed for dance. In 2014 he founded Nohbords, an artistic company that works by project, of which he was director until 2020. With this group, he presented Dorje for the first time in 2019. His proposal is based on the development of laboratories and creative processes where one of the central axes manifests as one of the central axes the research of repetition body tools to find experiences that lead to physical and mental states of great depth.
Saturday, April 29th: 9 pm NAAFI, ATLACOYA: Agua Triste del Lago de Texcoco (2023) at NAAFI Studios
ATLACOYA: Agua Triste del Lago de Texcoco is a live performance and a contemporary opera conceived by Mexican record label NAAFI that looks at the history of the Monolith of Tlaloc and explores wider notions of spirituality, water, queerness, and history. It will be performed by La Bruja de Texcoco, with original music by Lao, a script by Pepx Romero, and produced and art directed by Mexican Jihad. It is a performance that reflects the state of the contemporary queer creative scene in Mexico City. Following the opera, the evening will transition into a NAAFI party.
Originally developed for Made in L.A. 2020, the multifaceted performance work began with an intrigue-based inquiry into a deadpan, an impassive mannerism deployed in a comedic fashion in order to illustrate emotional distance. However, Lewis abandoned this recursive ensemble of death due to COVID-19 and had the dancers use Macbeth’s culminating soliloquy (“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,” a reflection on repetition and meaninglessness) as the beginning of a work that unfolds in modular parts, each one an illustration or parody of death, stasis, and the void, each one tied to its own carefully selected soundtrack or sample. The work is full of play but is also a meditation on “playing,” or acting, as well as on tragedy’s recurring cycles and familiarity within the Black and brown experience; on time, as it loops; on performance; on touch, as an act of both care and violence. The work is built in the form of a musical lament, a protracted complaint on loop performed ad infinitum, decomposing itself along the way.
VIDEO INSTALLATIONS (ORDERED BY ARTIST LAST NAME)
Agata Ingarden, 4ROOMS, 2023 At Centro de Cultura Digital [installation]
4ROOMS (2023) is part of Agata Ingarden’s “Dream House,” a series of artworks making up a game-like world that generates a real-life simulation for a group of characters called Butterfly People. Sometimes separate, sometimes merging as one character, the Butterfly People explore the boundaries of their bodies, emotional states and communication through dance and unorganized movement. In 4ROOMS, The Butterfly People traverse through four spaces and emotional states embodied by different elements of music–base, rave, metal, and rhythm. The emotional dimension is a playground to explore the experience of becoming a being and how personal identity constructs a larger group.
Arthur Jafa is an artist and filmmaker who, for over three decades, has sought to articulate Black life in the United States in all of its complexity. Underscoring his dynamic practice–composed of films, video installations, and happenings–has been the question of how visual media can channel the equivalent “power, beauty, and alienation” embedded in Black music, as he has said. akingdoncomethas is Jafa’s most significant presence in Mexico and continues his ongoing preoccupation with music. The video brings together over 100 minutes of found footage of Black church services in the United States spanning several decades.
The title references the Christian expression “a kingdom cometh as,” which alludes to the belief that salvation will come at the end of time. The chantings by a preacher that “God has not forgotten about you” are interrupted by footage of raging forest fires in California. Under an oppressive orange sky, people and animals flee, presenting a vision of hell on earth set to the soul song “Be Grateful” by Aretha Franklin. Much of the sampled footage is grainy throughout the video, creating an abstraction of mass, of the congregations coming together as one through a singularity of faith, as guided by music, amidst the devastation of the world.
Jafa allows the sermons of key leaders in the African American Christian community, such as Bishop T.D. Jakes and Reverend Al Green, to play out. The experience brings together moments of awe coupled with repetitions and pauses. Preaching is intercut with the music of figures such as gospel singer Le’Andria Johnson and jazz musician and poet Gil Scott-Heron. The at-times rapturous response of the congregation—from singing to wailing while bent over in prayer–transforms the black box of the gallery at LAA into a space of communion and conjures memories of the museum as a former church.
The video presents what Jafa calls the “superpower that Black belief is,” namely the resistant act of imagining a different future, often expressed through immaterial expressions such as singing and dancing. Through generations of oppression—on a slave ship, a plantation, or a prison—Black Americans have continued the gestures of oration and movement. This film celebrates this embodied expression of belief and the power of community and music in the wake of catastrophe.