< Live Streams

Songs for Magdalena and Yamuna


HD Video

In 2013 Tania Candiani conducted an artist residency on Colombia’s Magdalena River, the nation’s major fluvial and commercial artery, where she produced a body of work that resulted in an exhibition that exposed some anachronisms that emerged in daily life in the city of Honda, mainly because of the construction of highways and the decline of river navigation in the previous century. It was during that exhibition where Candiani produced a film that honors Werner Herzog’s film Fitzcarraldo (1982), where a canoe sails the Magdalena River with a gramophone, playing the Blue Danube; the boat, the music, and even the river itself are all, symbols of unrestricted progress and its consequences. Years later, she repeated the poetic gesture by playing a grief song in Hindi with the exact same gramophone in the Yamuna river in India, a body of water that has also suffered from the byproducts of modernisation, and that is highly polluted.

For this exhibition, the rivers flow together and both canoes join to play music and chant side by side, with the hope for others to hear and join.

Tania Candiani

Mexico, 1974

Tania Candiani is an artist whose practice spans various media and practices, exploring the complex intersections of phonetic, graphic, linguistic, symbolic, and technological languages. She frequently develops site-specific projects due to her particular interest in researching historical and social links that are triggered by place. Candiani has been a fellow of the National System of Art Creators of Mexico since 2012, she received the Guggenheim Grant for the Arts in 2011, and the Research Grant for Artists awarded by the Smithsonian Institution in 2018. The artist represented Mexico at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015. Her work has been exhibited in museums, institutions, and independent spaces around the world and is part of important public and private collections. Key publications on her work include Cinco variaciones de circunstancias fónicas y una pausa (2014); Habita Intervenido (2015); Possessing Nature. Pavilion of Mexico: Venice Biennale (2015) and Cromática (2019).


Live Streams is curated by Lisa Blackmore (School of Philosophy & Art History and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Essex), Diego Chocano (Assistant Curator of Essex Collection of Art from Latin America/University Art Collections) and Emilio Chapela (Artist and Research Assistant at the University of Essex). This website was built by David Medina.

Art Exchange is the University of Essex’s on-campus gallery dedicated to exhibiting contemporary art from emerging and established international artists. It is directed by Jess Twyman.