Inside Joaquín Orellana: The Spine of Music

By Elizabeth Gonzalez and Luisa Leme

Get an intimate look at the Guatemalan artist's aesthetic and musical genius, on display at Americas Society January 20–March 5, 2021.

Americas Society's Joaquín Orellana: The Spine of Music brings together the creative minds behind the organization's visual arts and music departments for the Guatemalan artist's first exhibition in the United States. In this visual tour, Diana Flatto and Sebastián Zubieta walk us through Orellana's genius as one of the only living composers this side of the Atlantic to create his own instruments, or útiles sonoros. Flatto and Zubieta, co-curators of the exhibit who made their own pilgrimage to Orellana's studio tucked in Guatemala's National Theater, are seen interacting with the maestro, learning how to interpret his anomalous, one-of-a-kind scores. Having lived through Guatemala's decades-long civil war, Orellana connects his work to the violence perpetrated against indigenous peoples and commits to "sound justice," as Zubieta puts it.

The video also features excerpts from Efluvios y puntos, a composition commissioned by Americas Society which is one of only two that Orellana wrote for these sound tools.

Learn more about the exhibition and book your visit to the 680 Park Ave gallery in Manhattan.