Poems for Earthlings | Adrian Villar Rojas, 2019

Arts and heritage
Poems for Earthlings was inspired by the way in which heritage is protected in times of war. It included an eight-hour soundscape with sounds from the history of the world: from whales and dying languages to a computer starting up. The work centred around the difference between the treatment of material heritage (buildings, art treasures) and that of immaterial heritage (sounds, languages). The installation Adrián Villar Rojas developed on site is temporary and transient; after the exhibition, nothing tangible is left. This way of working contrasts starkly with the unwritten rules that uphold the art market. His work showed his own transience – and thus risks oblivion. He showed that which is doomed to disappear and that which cannot – and perhaps should not – be preserved. Poems for Earthlings formed a radical question on whether heritage, museums and collecting institutions are sustainable in an era where it comes to more than the dominating Western way of defining the world around us. Adrián Villar Rojas: “The Oude Kerk is another exploration stage, where I analyze human obsession with heritage, conservation and material accumulation (gold, art, buildings, needles, whatever, but especially if it is worthy, valuable or tradable) from the intangibility and infinite abundance of sound. At the same time, I propose an introspective journey through our own personal story via this metaphorical history of sound. I always try to trigger reflection, emotion, focusing on the world from negativity, absence and loss, no matter what kind of matter (tangible or not) I’m dealing with.”