Before the Volcanoes Sing: A Conversation with Clarissa Tossin  

Thurs, May 30, 2024
6:30 pm

Floor 3, Susan and John Hess Family Theater and online, via Zoom

In her film Before the Volcanoes Sing, Clarissa Tossin traces the movement of Maya people and culture across multiple spaces and temporalities. For its presentation in the Whitney Biennial, the film is installed alongside 3D-printed replicas of pre-Columbian Maya wind instruments. These replicas appear in the film and were played for its score. Their aural and physical presence demonstrate what pre-Columbian ritual objects can offer us despite ongoing and layered processes of displacement and translation. 

This program brings Tossin together with her collaborators who created the replica instruments and the music for the film to discuss their process and their respective contributions. Speakers include anthropologist Jared Katz, flautist Alethia Lozano Birrueta, and composer Michelle Agnes Magalhaes. The conversation will be moderated by Marcela Guerrero, DeMartini Family Curator. 

Alethia Lozano Birrueta is Principal Flutist with the UNAM Philharmonic Orchestra and the Minería Symphony Orchestra, both in Mexico City.

Jared Katz is a Mesoamerican archaeologist who leverages new technology to increase accessibility to the past in both museum and university settings. He is currently Associate Curator of the Americas and Africa at the Snite Museum, University of Notre Dame.  

Michelle Agnes Magalhaes is a composer working in the fields of instrumental music, chamber music, symphony, and opera, as well as hybrid, electronic, and interactive forms. 

Clarissa Tossin is a Brazilian-born artist currently based in Los Angeles. Her collaborative, research-based practice develops alternative narratives found in the built environment, using elements of installation, sculpture, and moving image to explore intersections of place, history, and aesthetics. 

Simultaneous interpretation in Spanish provided by Babilla Collective.

Read this page in Spanish

The Susan and John Hess Family Theater is equipped with an induction loop and infrared assistive listening system. Accessible seating is available.

This program will be recorded and made available on the Whitney's YouTube channel.

Live captioning will be available online and in-person for this event. If you need captions in a separate browser window or on your own mobile device, please email for StreamText link.

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