CRAFTING THE FIELD | Q&A with Christian Mun and Marcelo Mellado

CRAFTING THE FIELD | Q&A with Christian Mun and Marcelo Mellado (Subcutáneo)
Melanie Dizon
December 2, 2022

Crafting the Field by Xapiri Ground is a creative series of musical compositions that express upon the natural and social environments surrounding Indigenous culture and their contemporaries. Through collaborations with Indigenous artists, sound designers, and music producers we hope to encourage a diffusion between cultures through creative research and mutual respect. 
At Xapiri  Ground, we have a dedicated "Sound Room" space that allows for that deeper connection into the sonic environment of indigenous rainforest cultures and the creative interpretation of the artist in collaboration. Through this synergism of worlds, we hope to imbue a new language and deeper insight into the social and environmental vulnerability that surrounds the Peruvian Amazon, and in turn, our relation to it.
This audio/visual piece was performed live at the inauguration night on August 12, 2022 featuring iconographical designs from the Iskonawa community in the Peruvian Amazon that are reimagined and animated by Marcelo Mellado (Subcutáneo) layered with a live extended performance by Christian Mun of the original sound piece.

*Original iconography featured in video courtesy of the Iskonawa Art Association | Callería, Peru 2022.
Photo: Davis Torres


a Q&A with artists Christian Mun and Marcelo Mellado

As this piece is inspired by the Iskonawa people of Callería, what did you learn during the preparation of such a work and how did it inform your creative process?

MARCELO: When I met the Iskonawa people [during their inaugural visit to Cusco], I tried to focus on their way of expressing themselves. Their words, their smiles and even boredom were pieces of experience that made me know things about them. I kept the work as an opportunity to express, through visual information, my thoughts on Iskonawa culture. I resonate with their art the most. For example, I liked the usage of the zigzag patterns as symbols, in a way, it encapsulates the image of the 'Roebiri' mountain (El Cono Hill). Just like the Iskonawas, I could express something with the figure. At the end, it's not about words or concepts, it's about universal experiences which we share as humans.

CHRISTIAN: During the creation process I was faced with a particular situation: how to inform about a society through art. How to show different angles and personal perspectives that do not only fulfill a recreational means.
It was fundamental for me to have met people from this community, not only to corroborate the information I was able to gather, but also to understand the differences, gaps that divided us, as well as a super-sensitive world. Using sound as a tool to show a reality in Peru has enriched my perspectives and motivated me to report on a reality that seems to be invisible to us.
Photo: Davis Torres

Can you explain a little bit about the sound piece you performed live and how it differs from the original piece you created for our series?

CHRISTIAN: Apart from the remastering, the extension of the work fulfilled a compositional purpose and served for a better adaptation to the visuals. The work could be interpreted in different ways, as long as they follow the structural logic: iconography, society and language; axes that, in my opinion, are fundamental in the investigation of this work.

Photo: Davis Torres

What sort of experience or outcome do you hope to share with the viewer/listener?

MARCELO: I tried visually to portray the music in scenes, I would like people to experience the sounds and visual as a unity
CHRISTIAN: The importance and need to inform and express upon different realities in the country. I believe that being aware not only of our immediate environment, but also of different realities, would help to hold a broader perspective on our culture and society, shorten the knowledge gap and motivate decentralized research.

IG: @christian.mun / @sub.cutaneo