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Audiotheque’s Gustavo Matamoros Looks Ahead

Posted By George Fishman
March 12, 2019 at 3:36 PM

Between September and December, 2018, visitors to the Audiotheque studio at 924 Lincoln Road found their final opportunity to savor this unique listening venue. Beginning in 2012, this Mecca for adventurous audiophiles had already hosted scores of workshops, intimate discussions, marathon performances and recording sessions.

A $40k Knight Foundation grant launched Audiotheque 2.0’s 2018 sound system enhancements and underwrote the programming that showcased its capabilities. Knowing that his non-profit’s lease was ending, Audiotheque founding director Gustavo Matamoros organized a celebratory finale that featured works by guest artists Gino Robair, John Driscoll, Julio Roloff, Rene Barge, Edward Bobb, Frank Falestra, Rob Constable and Wolfgang Gil – along with his own.

Performances were conducted in the darkened chamber, focusing attention on the often startling sounds, circumnavigating the finely tuned space. As Rob Constable said in introducing his work, “What I’m interested in doing is making models of various physical phenomena…  the way clouds form, or starlings swarm, for example.” And the enveloping 30-speaker installation gave complex pieces like his an enveloping presence.

As evidenced by extensive polling, audiences have been deeply moved by their experiences – often gaining their first substantive engagement with experimental music. They particularly appreciated the opportunity to ask questions – both naïve and sophisticated. In conversation with Matamoros and guest artists, they probed the sometimes baffling characteristics of individual works and inquired into general principles of experimental sound art. Musicians praised the optimal sound environment and the chance to generate supportive community.

Upon completing the terms of his grant, Matamoros needed a break from the relentless demands of grant writing, administration, hosting and producing events. But he’s inspired to continue providing a nexus for sound art experimentation. Now, seeking a new home, the artist/impresario is equipped – but also burdened – with that elaborate sound system. This contravenes the notion of a nomadic setup. However, prior to securing the ACSF space, Matamoros had organized sound installations in universities, museums, concert halls, botanical gardens, parks, the beach, Vizcaya and the storefront awnings of ACSF. Those experiences inform his comprehensive understanding of how sound can be presented.

Challenged about putting his 30-channel system in a park, he insisted, “Yes, we could. Just like at SoundScape.” That collaborative installation (with colleagues Rene Barge, David Dunn, and Roberto Toledo) brought the sounds of the Everglades into the 100-speaker-equipped park, adjacent to New World Symphony. While exquisitely equipped, that system was directionally oriented to accompany NWS wallcast projections. In a new public setting, Matamoros proposes a more flexible orientation for a sound system. “It will have no particular preference for how people utilize the space.” But it will activate that space, he affirms.

Following thirty-some years of activities – not just as an artist, but running a nonprofit – Matamoros envisions establishment of an audio research center he’s calling the Subtropics Institute. “That just requires a home, a place with three or four bedrooms where I can have artists come over for residencies,” he says. And to activate that superlative sound system.

“Another possibility,” he adds, “is to have some kind of interaction with the private sector – a developer or some kind of a business that can utilize the idea of the Audiotheque, for instance, as a magnet – as a facilitating experience for an audience that then becomes their patrons.”

Matamoros will consider proposals of almost any kind to house the Subtropics Institute – as long as they afford a measure of permanence. (info@subtropics.org)

ArtburstMiami.com is a nonprofit source of theater, dance, music and performing-arts news.

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