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EXVOT SERIES (2015-2018)

‘The bell is a porous body, and when it sounds, the sound escapes through the pores from every part.’

De Anima, Aristotle.

The Exvot series consists of six pieces composed between 2016 and 2018 while Sara Cubarsi lived in Los Angeles and studied at CalArts. Underpinning the six Exvots, there is a metaphysical reflection on the blurred line between the physical and the musical, the material and the spiritual, and a wish to avoid perceiving a partition of the sensible.  


"Votive offerings, or exvotos, are the materialization of a net of physical and psychological connections into one object: the donor, the event, and the fear, pain, relief or gratitude. The Exvoto as a symbol where flesh, ritual and a superior force meet has been an inspiration for the Exvot pieces. The idea for the first one, Exvot Study, originates from an ear-exvoto made of wax that I found in a shop by the Gothic Cathedral in the old center of my hometown Barcelona. The piece constitutes a complex layer of symbolic relationships, relationships created by resemblance, by synchronicity, sound correlations, and iconography. A video (ca. 50 mins) shows the ear-exvoto melting and boiling. 

The tension between order and unpredictability is explored in the following Exvots by means of controlled just tuning, the use of cow bells hanging from the performers’ bodies, and melting wax works. Perhaps if fine tuning can be like trying to create order in a world of unforeseeable changes, its opposite could be allowing disorder and chance to take over in one’s work. 

The bells represent an unpredictable and inharmonic element in this assemblage, together with the melting wax paintings which have a life of their own. Both the wax exvotos and the bells inspire immediate symbolic meanings, sometimes transporting the listener to a more meditative and religious state of mind, and other times suggesting the grotesque and fleshed out animal inside us."

Sara Cubarsi, 2018 


Exvot Study (2016)

concert-installation for three performers, interactive film on canvas, water, tiny bells (50’). 


Exvot I (2017). AUDIO  PDF

for violin, cello, midi-keyboard and sheep bells (13’). ​


Exvot II (2017). VIDEO

for e-cellist and bow assistant with sheep bells, midi-keyboardist and sound projectionist (18’).


Exvot III (2017). PDF  VIDEO-1  VIDEO-2
for scordatura solo violin, 4 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos with bells attached to their arms, and re-tuned midi- keyboard (17’). ​


Exvot III (2017)  VIDEO  AUDIO

re-arranged in 2018 for self-accompanied violinist, foot-pedal and bells (11’). 


Exvot IV Organistrum (2018) VIDEO

for solo violinist on two differently tuned amplified violins, inverted bow, retuned foot-midi-keyboard, sheep bell, vocals, with interactive paintings by the composer; and a sound projectionist (53’). 

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