Extreme Vocalist, Intermedia Artist, Improviser
Born 1981, Mexico City, Mexico
Lives in Los Angeles, CA
Carmina Escobar is an experimental vocalist, improviser, and sound and intermedia artist. Her practice—comprising installation, performance, and multimedia projects—focuses on sound, the voice, and the body, and their interrelations with physical, social, present, and memory spaces.
Escobar has developed a range of vocal techniques that she applies to her creative practice and also to investigations of radical ideas and concepts regarding the voice. Having emigrated from Mexico to live and work in Los Angeles, key to her practice is the exploration of interstitial states of being—suspensions between worlds, between politics, and at borders. In 2019, she received a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant to present Mami in the exhibition Cantos Comunes/Common Chants at The Blockhouse in Havana, Cuba. This participatory and process-oriented piece was developed in the days leading up to the performance. Escobar used the idea of Mami Wata—a water deity venerated in West, Central, and Southern Africa—as an expression of diaspora, and to reference ideas of fertility and togetherness.
She has presented her work in Cuba, Europe, Mexico, and the United States including at Borealis Festival, Bergen, Norway; Cuban Art Factory, Havana; CTM Festival, Berlin; and New Music Encounters + International Music Festival, Brno, Czech Republic. Her work FIESTA PERPETUA! a communitas ritual of manifestation (2018) was included in Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, Los Angeles. Her work has also been presented at the MexiCali Biennial, Pasadena; Machine Project, Los Angeles; MATA festival, New York; REDCAT, Los Angeles; and World Dada Fair, San Francisco, among others.
In 2016, Escobar received the Young Creators grant from the National Fund for Culture and Arts, Mexico and a grant from the National Center for the Arts, Mexico. Escobar completed an M.F.A. with a specialization in Voice Arts at California Institute of the Arts, where she is a professor.
I seek to convey through my work the emotional, experiential, and relational dimensions of Sound. As I investigate sound from my primary source and instrument, the voice, I relate in my practice its multilayered, complex, physical realm and its metaphysical essence in order to create works that explore the body; identities; syncretism; magic realism; myths; and connection between people, spaces, and symbols. I intersect and translate this sonic phenomenon via different mediums such as performance, installation, music, electronic media, site-specific projects, and improvisation. My work is oriented to interject, move, and integrate the audience as an active participant in the pieces to bring about transformation in shared time and space.