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Bio Art, Eco Art, Integrated Art, Interactive Art, Sound Art
About This Project

Tsinakemuta (2016; 2022)

Tsinakemuta begins as a work process that takes as its starting point the discovery of a mineral called Pyrrhotite inside a mine that for the past 150 years has been producing copper, gold, and silver. Pyrrhotite is a ferrous sulfide that is distinguished for its magnetic properties. Under natural conditions, its particles align with the earth’s magnetic field when experiencing temperature changes or abrupt events. It is susceptible to magnetic induction under certain processes. The record of the Earth’s magnetic field in certain minerals can be interpreted as a memory, one of the many forms that life has to preserve the traces of experience, which are not inert sediment, but pure active knowledge.


In 2017, 600 meters deep down into the mine, a Pyrrhotite fragment was borrowed. The mine is located in the Potosino plateau, in the Cerro del Frayle. This site is one of the ceremonial centers of the Wixárika community, known in their native language as Tsinamekuta, The House of Rain. The Wixaritari have made pilgrimages through these lands for more than 10,000 years, forming part of a biocultural net, whose preservation is based on the sacredness of the Earth and all its inhabitants. This research has resulted in the construction of instruments to explore the possibilities of reading, interpreting, and rewriting the original memory of the rock. In the spring of 2021, Mara’akame Jairra, a member of the Wixárika community who makes a pilgrimage with his family every year to the sacred area where Tsinamekuta rises, agreed to participate in a ceremonial act offered to the rock at the base of the Mountain. He thus accompanied his family, the ritual activation of an instrument that was built to sonify the magnetic memory of the rock. As part of this ceremony, the electrical signal from two human hearts (Armas and Jairra’s) was recorded in the rock by magnetic induction as a representation of an offering or payment, that must be left at the site where the ceremony is held, according to the traditions of the Wixárika people.


The project will conclude with the return of the mineral to the interior of the mine. So, this messenger rock will carry their offering on its return to the heart below the mountain. This project raises an ethical consideration about the mineral world as the foundation of life, and a space for reflection on the meaning of intention in human contact with nature.




Born in Durango, México, Marcela Armas holds a BFA from the University of Guanajuato and studies at the Polytechnic University in Valencia, Spain. Armas is currently researching the magnetic properties of minerals and their possibilities for storing information through sound as a means of interpretation and induction. Her work articulates disciplines, techniques, work processes, and research to inquire into the relationships of society with matter, energy, space-time, and the construction of memory. Armas was awarded by the ARCO/BEEP Electronic Art at the Arco Madrid Fair 2012, and received the Ibero-American Production Award VIDA 16.0 from the Fundación Telefónica de España. She has participated in Mercosur Biennial in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2009 and the 2012 Habana 11th Biennial Social Practices and Imaginaries. In collaboration with Gilberto Esparza, she has directed experimental electronics workshops at the Fundación Telefónica VIDA 10 in Peru, Argentina, Chile and Mexico. She has benefited from the Program of Support for Research in New Media from the Multimedia Centre of the National Centre for the Arts in Mexico. Recently, she produced “Implant,” a public space art project based in Denver and Mexico City developed for the Biennial of the Americas. Armas is part of the Triodo Collective with Gilberto Esparza and Iván Puig. With Arcángelo Constantini, she directs the sound art cycle Meditatio Sonus. Currently, she is a member of the National Art System in Mexico. Her work has been exhibited in Mexico, North and South America, Europe, India, and Moscow.


All photos courtesy of Marcela Armas.