After the death of both Fidel Castro and his brother Raul, a puppet government backed by large, multinational firms was installed and set out to rebuild Cuba as an entertainment playground for wealthy tourists. A biohazardous accident, however, forced most of the firms and inhabitants off the island.

Yet one performer stayed behind in attempt to forge a new sound and unique identity out of her deserted homeland.

Previously the youngest member of the Camerata Romeu all-woman orchestra, Zoraida is too stalwart to give up on the only thing she has ever known. Audience or not, she now travels the island as a one-woman dance and music performance, with a varying cast of collaborators. She’s created her instruments out of the detritus left in the wake of the recently relocated tech and entertainment firms. Her instruments are based on traditional Cuban instruments, but technologically modified. Similarly, her dance evolved out of a traditionally Cuban vocabulary to become a distinct and idiosyncratic voice performing songs of politics and protest.

Zoraida is a multimedia performance that narrates Cuba’s history and speculative future made in collaboration with Nancy Garcia. For the project, we fabricated 3 objects Zoraida uses to control the sounds and visuals of her performance:

1) A microphone stand made of elephants with switches to control vocal volume, delay, and vibrato (max/msp, arduino).

2) A machete with an wireless accelerometer used for modulating a synthesizer (max/msp, ableton live).

3) A pair of conga drums who’s amplitude controls saturation and distortion levels of background visuals (jitter, arduino).

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