On display at lmno:

Mirjam Wirz – Sonidero City

Mirjam Wirz’s Sonidero City – Photography Exhibition and Book Series

Sonidero City began in 2010 as a photographic research about cumbia music and sound systems in Mexico. A sound system is, on the one hand, a mobile stereo equipment set up for the dances in neighborhood streets and parlors, while on the other it refers to the person (the sonidero) who operates the sound system and all that goes with it: the music, the audience, the fans, the communication with the people. The sound systems are always closely tied to everyday life, the local social structures and the prevailing economic conditions. In Mexico, cumbia sonidera (sound system cumbia) came about at the end of the 1950s.

Cumbia originated on the Caribbean cost of Colombia. In its beginnings, dating back to the colonial era, Colombian cumbia was a prohibited ritual dance and one of the ways in which the indigenous and African populations interacted. Since the 1950s, cumbia has spread beyond Colombia to the working class neighbourhoods of Latin America.

Over time, Sonidero City developed into a comprehensive series of publications, six volumes have been published so far. Each volume is different and stands for itself, all volumes together form a rhizome of interconnected narratives of people, everyday life, oral history and music. Sonidero City is based on photographic research and recorded conversations.

Mirjam Wirz is a artist born in Switzerland, currently based in Colombia and Mexico. She lived in Vilnius, Lithuania from 2001 to 2009 where she organized the collaborative project Flash Bar. She holds a degree in photography and transdisciplinarity in the arts from the University of the Arts in Zurich, and works as a lecturer of photography and photo editor. Since 2010, she is researching cumbia music and soundsystems in Latin America. She is the author and editor of the publication series Sonidero City. Mirjam Wirz has participated in numerous exhibitions and presentations internationally. Presently, she is studying translation.

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