NYU KJCC Artist-in-residence 2020-2021 – Isabel Do Diego

Image from NYU KJCC Artist-in-residence 2020-2021 – Isabel Do Diego


Sound Landscapes in the Iberian Peninsula
A Virtual Artistic Residency Diptych
Isabel Do Diego & La Señorita Blanco
Curated by Daniel Valtueña
NYU King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center

NYU KJCC Artist-in-residence 2020-2021 – Isabel Do Diego

Isabel Do DiegoNYU KJCC Artist-in-residence 20-21– is the sound alter ego of Juan Diego Calzada, founding member of the performing arts collective Vértebro. DEPUEBLO is their first sound project which was released in 2020. This album combines rural sounds from southern Spain with electronic experimental music. Their artistic project is located at the intersection of traditional folklore and machine-driven explorations on the prosthetic body. Isabel Do Diego is now working on the live version of their album and planning their second recording to be released in 2022.

In the Fall 20 semester, NYU King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center inaugurated its first program of artistic residencies, which furthers the Center’s promotion of Iberian and Spanish-speaking cultures by creating a formalized structure for the regular support of the visual and performing arts. The artistic residencies aim to promote the creation of original artworks by specifically commissioning artists to develop new work for either an online or in-person format. Conceptualized and curated by Daniel Valtueña this Artist-in-Residence program will run from 2020-2022, centering the voices of two different artists, one in residence for each year. Inspired by the need to listen to the pandemic times we live in, this first iteration of the program was titled SONORIDAD.ES: Sound Landscapes in the Iberian Peninsula and includes the artists Isabel Do Diego and La Señorita Blanco.

In October 2020, SONORIDAD.ES inaugurated with an event titled SONORIDAD.ES: Listening to the Iberian Landscape featuring both artists and NYU Associate Professor Dylon Lamar Robbins in a conversation moderated by curator Daniel Valtueña. This inaugural event brought to the table a variety of topics such as the idealization behind the pueblo, the importance of daily rituals, artistic creation as an act of listening, and the transcendency animality embodies. At this early stage of the project the audience could perceive how –while different– Isabel Do Diego’s and La Señorita Blanco’s creative universes shared a deep connection to issues such as folklore, nature, or tradition. Not by chance, the two peninsular villages where their artistic creations are rooted –Isabel Do Diego’s Villa del Río (Córdoba, Andalucía) and La Señorita Blanco’s Castuera (Badajoz, Extremadura)– are, while in different regions and officially associated with specific folklores, less than a couple of hundred kilometers apart.


After this inaugural event, Isabel Do Diego started to work on a project that aimed to reflect on their first album DEPUEBLO. Premiered during the days the world was breaking apart in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 global pandemic, this album provided a momentary relief around the notion of “folclore austero y brutalista” that characterizes Isabel Do Diego’s sound universe. In a conversation held in early December 2020, artist Isabel Do Diego and curator Daniel Valtueña discussed their short but intense artistic trajectory and showcased some of the materials that are integral to DEPUEBLO.


During their period of online artistic residency, Isabel Do Diego revisited their album DEPUEBLO and reflected retrospectively on the sound universe that took them seven years to polish. Isabel Do Diego decided to work on new visuals for some of the tracks included in DEPUEBLO as well as original recordings introduced by an extremely valuable, personal, and intimate archival document which speaks to the origins of Isabel Do Diego’s identity. Integrated as part of a 18-minute film, SONORIDAD.ES hosted the world premiere of DEPUEBLO (El origen) in early March 2021. This film includes the previously mentioned archival video along with the RETABLO PARA DOS VOCERÍOS Y UN TARAREO which includes CANTIL · Vocerío de pestilencia, ABISAL · Vocerío de Resistencia, and ARA · Tarareo con brío; BARBECHO · Quejío en barullo; and RETABLO PARA DOS ORACIONES Y UN REMATE which includes RED · Oración bajo distancia, SED · Oración bajo vigilancia, and OQUEDAD · Remate para reposo.


All of these materials were screened in a closing event in March 2020 in which Isabel Do Diego reflected along with the audience about the striking images and powerful sounds created for SONORIDAD.ES. DEPUEBLO (El origen) and the tremendous potential the piece holds for raising issues related to dissident sexualities, challenged traditions, and reimagined genres.


At the end of Isabel Do Diego’s residency, the KJCC prepares itself to launch the second part of SONORIDAD.ES and host the second NYU KJCC Artist-in-residence: La Señorita Blanco. In a conversation between the artists and curator Daniel Valtueña recorded in the form of a podcast, Isabel Do Diego and La Señorita Blanco reflected on some of the questions that centered the inaugural event after almost half a year of work. This conversation symbolically put Isabel Do Diego’s residency at KJCC to an end and opened the door to La Señorita Blanco who will be joining the center in the fall of 2021.