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Se Compra: Sin É (2014)


Single Screen Projection

HD 16:9 1.5 Surround Sound

17mins 37 sec 

Se Compra: Sin É

Se compra: Sin é opens in a small recording studio in Mexico City. Pianist, cellist, violinist and singer are tuning up.


The streets outside are full of activity: Balloons float. Someone hoists a bag up on a rope. Rubbish collectors sort through plastics.

A young woman sits in the back of a scrap van holding a black umbrella above her head. A girl's recorded voice (la niña) crackles out of speakers above her head, the recording familiar on the streets here:

Se compra colchones, refrigadores, estufas, lavadoras, microondas y algo de fierro viecho que vendan...

(We buy mattresses, fridges, heaters, washing machines, microwaves and any old metal that you are selling...)


Inside, the piano picks up something of the rhythm and tone of this recording. Cello and violin follow suit.

Outside, men call out, selling gas, shouting up from the streets, from closed gates, to windows unseen far above.


In the studio, Irish singer Louise Phelan's voice can be heard, reaching out, both holding and letting go of its point of origin.  Tones raise and waver, reflecting the sounds and activities of the streets: vendors shout; knives are sharpened; ice hacked; whistles blown; bells ring; steam gasps and splutters out of makeshift ovens; a girl swirls hula hoops around herself.  


Finally, Sin é: That's it.


*The vocal element of this work was composed by Jaki Irvine, developed with Limerick born singer Louise Phelan, who lives and works in Mexico City . It was based on two years of recordings the sounds of street traders and workers of Mexico City. 

Recording and technical assistance: Mercedes Jordan Santana and Cecilia Navarro

Recording Studio: Matías Carbajal

Violin: Urpi Holguin

Piano: Edgar Ibarro

Cello: Blanch Diaz

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