Creative Direction: Tania Castro Arias, Sofia Aronov, Stefan Iyapah

Animation & Art Direction: Sofia Aronov, Stefan Iyapah

Original Music: Gustavo Clayton-Marucci and Lara Eidi 

Performance & Dance:Camille Mallet de Chauny and Lucie Fletcher 

In Panches language of the Pre-Columbian Tolima culture, Xé means a very mighty human.

The performance explores this pre-Hispanic relationship to gold and in turn challenges our own relationship and definitions of this natural element. 


Tolima is an archaeological culture of pre-Colombian times, which spanned between 1000-200AD. They were located in the middle reaches of the River Magdalena which is now in the current Department of Tolima (Colombia).


The Tolimas’ concepts of humans’ and animals’ spiritual connection to the cosmos, were expressed through their Goldsmith culture, where this rare metal was used as a symbolic element. In particular, they believed that the human spirit could transcend and transform between many different states, which would occur in rituals that used golden objects as catalysts.


Xé is the result of a three months collaboration with musician Tania Castro, who contacted Stef and I to be part of the ideation and production of what would have become her final performance at Guildhall School of Music, London.


The collaboration has been an exciting process of exchange between the worlds of sound, visual and performance. Furthermore this has been my first intercontinental experience, which unfolded as a challenging correspondence between New York, London and Nice.

The whole production process reflects closely the concept behind the piece and so do the material we used. Every animation starts with purely physical interactions which include the use of materials connected to the three matter states: liquid, solid and gas.

A relevant part of the project was, in fact, our tangible manipulation and experimentation with every sort of materials: embossing powder, pigment, gold leaf, paint, soap, metal, plastic, rubber, interpolated and captured in different light and space conditions.

The resulting videos have then been combined with the three spirits shapes and manipulated, cut, altered in synchronism with the incredible music composed by Tania.


The resulting animations are projection mapped onto cut-out shapes hanging from the theatre ceiling.


Every act of the performance, composed by music, projection, dance and set design is the result of the creative direction and choreography collaboration between Tania and us, and it’s carefully planned and idealized to narrate the ancient story that connects humans to the cosmos through Nature’s symbols.