Tectonic Resonances

'Tectonic Resonances' is about the sound of rocks. Did you know that small stones became the first ritual instruments for sound and rhythm? And that geological events in Chile have an affect on the globe? Chile is a country of rocks that resonate, and for the team behind the Pavilion, this is the starting point for a decolonising discourse for design in the south.

18,500 years ago, the oldest community known in America settled in the south of Chile, in what is known today as Monteverde. The Chilean Pavilion seeks to explore the concept of resonance within ancestral lithic technologies, to think about design from the perspective of ancestral deep time and from a geological scale.

The team behind the Chilian Pavilion proposes the 'sound of the stones' as the gateway to rethink our forms of coexistence on the planet, from those first lithic technologies to today.

The pavilion stages a primary and essential technical action; hitting stones to produce sounds. The team developed the work by collecting lithophones from the quarries of Chile that will be presented at the London Design Biennale. Here, viewers will be invited to think about this primal act of producing sounds with stones, and show how the techniques, languages, and ontologies of our own culture merge in the simplicity of this act. The lithophone is a possible starting point for the Anthropocene, and for thinking about its consequences.

Chile is a country where the rocks resound, whether it is through earthquakes that echo around the world or the blasting of mountains with dynamite to produce minerals that sustain the information economy. Faced with the temptation to make ‘dematerialisation’ the motif of contemporary design, the Chilean Pavilion invites us to reimagine design from a place of resonance, interconnectivity and oneness with the stones. The movement of the stones of the Andes echoes across the globe.

In an era of increased digital activity, composing from lithic technologies becomes a critical gesture that advocates for design that is conscious of the active power of non–human forces, capable of relearning and proposing a radical ethic of coexistence from the south.

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Photography: Taran Wilkhu

Photography: Taran Wilkhu



Macarena Irarrázaval, Sistema Simple Studio, Design Systems International, Valentina Aliaga


Marcos Chilet, Martin Tironi, Carola Ureta Marín, Pablo Hermansen

Supported by

Ministry of Cultures, Arts and Heritage of Chile; Department of Culture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile; Embassy of Chile in the UK; ProChile; Anglo Chilean Society; British Council

2021 Exhibitors