Auto Orchestra

Symphony 505 (2012)

This work celebrates the unique practice of lowriding by creating an orchestra out of automobiles and re-visioning their mechanic motion as dance. Working with car owners who built and customized their cars, each automobile uses its internal sound system to perform a unique part. Using a chain of wireless audio systems housed inside each of the cars, a conductor is able to DJ the entire work in real time. The music synthesizes mechanical sounds from the lowriders themselves (engines, hydraulics, horns, keydings etc) and music sampled from the drivers’ CD players (car owners’ favorite music). After establishing a movement vocabulary and gestural sequences, the car and its driver are also able to do the work usually left to the dancer.

Symphony 505 premiered on September 23, 2012, in collaboration with Mary Margaret Moore and the dedicated members of the Down Low Car Club, during ISEA Festival in the parking lot at 6th and Central in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The project was commissioned by 516 Arts, for ISEA2012: Machine Wilderness, an international gathering of artists, scientists and thinkers to engage around the relationships between art, technology and nature. The project was also supported with additional funding from private donors through the Albuquerque Community Foundation. Symphony 505 is inspired by “The First Disappointment”, which was created and performed in North Adams, Massachusetts in collaboration with Danyel Ferrari and Mary Walling Blackburn.

Down Low Car Club Performers: Kimothy Ulibarri, Rebecca Ulibarri, Julian Ulibarri, Andres Zambrano, Antonio Griego, Brenda Griego, Paula Garcia, Pauline Jaramillo, Joe Jaramillo, Michael Pino, Loretta Pino, and Lil Mykle

CNET: Lowrider symphony: Hot hopping-car orchestra performs
Albuquerque Journal: Machines in spotlight at ISEA
Symphony 505 website


The First Disappointment (2006)

Created with Mary Walling Blackburn and Danyel Ferrari while in residence at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival at MASS MoCA at Contemporary Artists’ Center. Mary describes the piece as “a suite of octophonic songs… composed for a social dance that takes place within a circle created by eight vehicles and inspired by a collection of pseudo-apocolyptic events 19th century sometimes referred to as “The Great Disappointment.” This public performance happened in a scrapyard in North Adams, Massachusetts.

Press: (Village Voice, August 22nd, 2006) “The drivers, their passengers, and residents of the town danced to the uncanny music, in the center of a circle illuminated by headlights. While the performance piece, inspired in part by similar dance parties held throughout Texas in the 1960s, was meant to be experienced, the home video is both touching and a bit eerie.”