The film ruido ê (the film), a short version of which is presented here, is the condensation of a collective project of artistic research and production. The project worked “close to” what are known as electric rays (Torpedo torpedo), an abundant species that lives in urban underwater areas of the Catalan Mediterranean. The film has functioned as an alibi to develop networks with scientists, divers, and artists that explore issues of somatic attention, perception, vulnerability, and resistance.
In one of the many relationships the project has been generating, Zayas has collaborated with marine biologist and specialist in rays and sharks Claudio Barría, in the continuous observation of certain areas, and in creating a non-invasive filming device or BRUV (Baited Remoted Underwater Video) that will function as an expandable and sharable tool. With Barría, members of the project have generated science-fiction hypotheses to tackle a real, existing gap in scientific knowledge: the acoustic impact on the bodies of these urban animals, and their acoustic morphology, with which they have asked the bioacoustics specialist Michel André for help. Deepening knowledge of this has the potential to impact the future conservation of this species. Both processes are still ongoing, and are beyond the scope of the film.
As a piece, ruido ê (the film) takes a bastardized form. It is a musical documentary with thriller overtones that is interrupted and torn to pieces. Noise, beyond its acoustic impact, becomes a way of blurring legibility, a form of narrative purity, a shock passing between languages, a synesthetic buzz that hacks the vision, white making it erotic.
All the underwater images included were shot between 2020 and 2023 in underwater urban areas where, paradoxically, torpedo rays live. These areas, which the artist calls postpunk, are in a constant state of transformation. The area extends from the maritime works on the extension of the breakwater of San Sebastian beach in Barcelona, with a metal hand-crane throwing concrete buckets, to the entire post-industrial area between the mouth of the Besós river, Sant Adriá, to the Pont del Petroli in Badalona, whose pillars were collapsed by the Gloria storm. Waste and underwater architectures are re-appropriated here by the pulse of life.
Several of these phenomena are blended in us—it is no longer possible to observe only from the outside or vertically. Then, violent holes and fleeting edges appear.
The whole “ruido ê” project has been directed by Silvia Zayas and has included the permanent collaboration of the marine biologist Claudio Barría and the Association for the conservation of elasmobranchs Catsharks; the biologists Sara Riera and Anabel Colmenero; the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM); and the punctual collaboration of the bioacoustician Michel André and Marta Solé from LAB. It has also been informed by collaboration with Susana Jiménez Carmona and Clara Piazuelo. Zayas has also collaborated with Underwater Barcelona, the diving club Sasba Badalona, Miguel Ángel de Heras, Xose Quiroga, Carmen Pardo, Mar Medina, Cris Blanco, Eli Lloveras. The group of students of the GRAPA program participated and collaborated in parts of the filming with the following people: Isaac Marrero, Marta Martinez Riera, Irene Riera, Ramiro Argañaraz, Stella Dikmans, Carolina Almeida, Jesús Béjar Pérez, Lluc Falgueras, Alba Herrera, Louise Fernandez, Emma Prats, Guiu Úbeda, Óscar Morales, Lucas De La Fuente, Darwin Buyllé Goyri, Mia Sala-Patau, and Irene Masqué, among others. Color correction of the film was by Quiela Nuc, and sound post-production by Josefina Rozenwasser.
The project “ruido ê” has been part of GRAPA, a pilot program promoted by Hangar and CCCB to accompany, open, and relate to artistic creation processes that are located at the intersection of art, science, and technology. This program is also part of the RED ACTS project promoted by the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation and led by UOC and Hac Te. ruido ê has been supported by the umbrella project “Composing knowledge to imagine and build sustainable futures 2021” of the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation. The film was also supported by TBA21 on st_age.