Spain & Peru

Common Vibrations

‘Common Vibrations’ is an audio and visual installation that showcases the cultural heritage shared by two countries, Spain and Peru, through a percussion instrument: the cajón. Without using words, this collaborative project that requires collaboration to join in, invites visitors to delve into a percussion dialogue to discover this shared cultural symbol.

Originally from Peru, the percussion instrument called ‘cajón’ is part of the Afro-Peruvian music tradition and of the Peruvian mestizo culture in general. The instrument was mainly developed during the colonial era when slaves brought from Africa were not allowed to play music with their drums. Everyday objects were then used spontaneously to produce music rhythms and wood crates become part of the popular soundscape of Perú.

After discovering the cajón during a visit to Lima in 1977, guitarist Paco de Lucía and percussionist Rubem Dantas introduced the instrument to Spain. The cajón has since become one of the traditional instrument accompanying Flamenco music.

‘Common Vibrations’ showcases a common language shared by countries using a simple wooden box. The instrument becomes a means of communicating through our bodies without emitting words. The installation will have three interconnected elements: the 'tablao' in which the cajones are presented; an audio and visual performance of two percussionists, located both in Perú and Spain; and a cartography that explains the ethnographic link between the instrument and the territory.

‘Common Vibrations’ invites visitors to join the rhythm. From the instruments’ interior emerges its own sound generating a unique percussion dialogue.

This highly collaborative project also places the history of the instrument within academic discourse. Over 50 students from various design and architecture schools in Madrid, Toledo and Arequipa have participated in the ideation, design and construction of the installation. The importance and simplicity of the instrument is further signified in how it has been transported to Somerset House – in a folding packaging system that serves, once opened, as a ‘tablao’.

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Escuela de Arquitectura de Toledo, Spain

Escuela de Arquitectura de la Universidad Católica de Santa María, Arequipa, Perú

Escuela SUR, Madrid, Spain


Covadonga Blasco Veganzones

Supporting Body:

Círculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid, Spain


Universidad de Castilla La Mancha UCLM, Spain

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid UC3M, Spain

Universidad Católica de Santa María de Arequipa UCSM, Perú

Escuela SUR-Círculo de Bellas Artes, Spain


Acción Cultural Española AC/E

Embassy of Spain in the UK

Embassy of Perú in the UK

Figueras Seating

Centro Coreográfico María Pagés


2023 Exhibitors