Ignacio Uriarte
Germany, 1972
Ignacio Uriarte (Krefeld, West Germany, 1972) studied business administration in Madrid and Mannheim and then immediately started work with corporations such as Siemens, Canon, Interlub and Agilent Technologies in Germany, Spain and Mexico. In 2003 he decided to pack in his last “serious” job and embark upon a career as an artist; he has since referred to his work under the generic title of “office art”. His pieces are made from commonplace office material: paperclips, Bic biros, staplers, spreadsheets, files, ink cartridges, scrunched-up paper, etc. The resulting combination of these materials brings to mind Minimalist and Conceptual Art work from the sixties and seventies, where repeated patterns, borrowed materials and routine behaviour came under artists’ spotlight. The History of the Typewriter recited by Michael Winslow is an ode to the typewriter. The video features a black actor who uses two microphones up close to his mouth to mimic the unmistakable sounds of a typewriter. Before recording the video, Uriarte carried out extensive research at the Schreibmaschinenmuseum in Partschins (Italy) and the Deutsches Technikmuseum in Berlin, where he was granted access to the 3,000 models of typewriters in the museums’ collections. Uriarte recorded the sound of 68 different models chosen in accordance with criteria such as age and mechanism, among others. He then sent the sound recordings to Michael Winslow, a renowned film actor known as the “Man of 10,000 Sound Effects”. Winslow was able to imitate 32 of the 68 recorded sounds and these can be heard in the film. In each clip for each typewriter, Winslow types out the title of the piece, “History of the Typewriter recited by Michael Winslow”. In this piece, Uriarte pays tribute to the work done by actors who make the sound effects for films and does so by bringing back the sound of a now obsolete tool that not so very long ago formed part of the soundscape of our environment.
Neus Miró