Paola Torres Núñez del Prado: The Sonic Waraca
Posted: Aug 18th, 2023 | Gathering

As part of the digital component of Gathering, the Textile Museum partnered with the collective Mending the Museum. Paola Torres Núñez del Prado was one of six artists invited to interpret pieces from the Textile Museum’s collection.

Paola created a sound piece in response to Peruvian textiles from the collection. Learn more about the Mending the Museum project here. Click on the link below to listen to Paola’s piece.

Paola Torres Núñez del Prado, The Sonic Waraca (2023), Audio  

The Sonic Waraca is a textile controller that refers to a rather forgotten aspect of textile technologies, and that is weapon development (military/war). The waraca has gained a renewed relevance these days as these have been used by Andean inhabitants to defend themselves against the abuses of the current Peruvian government when protesting for their rights. This Waraca works as part of a quadraphonic sound system, and it shifts the sound among the speakers depending on where it is positioned, while also modifying sounds that come from the protests themselves. 

-Paola Torres Núñez del Prado

Paola Torres Núñez del Prado (PE/SE) explores the boundaries and connections in between tactility, the visual and audio related to the human voice, to nature, and to synthetic ones whose listening is often considered less harmonious, such as machine or digital noises. Her work is essentially complex: she explores the limits of the senses, examining the concepts of interpretation, translation and misrepresentation, so as to reflect on mediated sensorial experiences while questioning the cultural hegemony within the history of Technology and the Arts. 

Below are the images of the textiles that inspired Paola. Learn more about the pieces in our online collection by clicking on the live links below.

Sling [T94.1009]
South America: Western South America, Peru, 11th to 16th century
From the Opekar / Webster Collection of the Textile Museum of Canada

Cloth [T04.34.56]
South America: Western South America, Peru, 1940 – 1970
Gift of Barbara Barde

Fragment [T2006.13.9b]
South America: Western South America, Peru, 1000 – 1476
Gift of Pascal Muzard and Nieves Carrasco


This work is created as part of Gathering, the inaugural installation of our new Collection Gallery, featuring community stories told through our global collection. Grounded in community participation, the installation presents over 40 pieces from the Museum’s permanent collection of over 15,000 objects from around the world. Choices of objects, responses, and retellings were gathered via open online calls for reflection, through partnerships with local organizations, and through artists’ interventions. Gathering explores themes related to migration and diaspora, the search for comfort in the domestic and familial, reclamation of ancestral traditions through contemporary artistic responses, and the relationship between textiles and the environment. 

Through the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Now Strategy Initiative.

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