From the series Data Manipulation, Index Case, projection view, Downtown Miami, Florida, 0:03:30 min video projection, June 20th, 2023. Photo © Alian Rives' StudioThe mystery began in late 2016. Staff members of the US Embassy in Havana developed symptoms including headaches, dizziness, and insomnia after hearing strange loud sounds or feeling depressed. Since then, dozens of diplomats have been withdrawn from Cuba and international tensions have increased. The mystery spread, with reports from the US State Department that "several" diplomats from their consulate in China had flown home with symptoms like symptoms reported in Cuba. No explanation has been offered, although hypotheses have increased. “In January, after an investigation that included fieldwork in Havana, the Federal Bureau of Investigation found no evidence of an attack with powerful energy beams. But the Department of Defense is giving the possibility a closer look.” [1]  The first to fall ill was a U.S. intelligence agent in Havana called the Index Case. The agent said he had heard "an odd, loud noise that seemed to follow him in the room." [2] This mysterious sonic attack was the reason for the closure of the US Embassy in Havana, as it was under the administration of President Trump. There have been previous attempts to neutralize relations between the United States and Cuba under the Trump administration, specifically targeting the topic of migration. On the other hand, Cuba has been more active in collecting any kind of information from the United States, and the possibility of jamming the signal of the US embassy is quite possible. The Federal Bureau of Investigation found no evidence of intense sonic beams to explain the diplomats' symptoms.Taking this sociopolitical event as a reference, Index Case is a speculative play of abstract waveform sound video art. Using Processing and Adobe Premiere, sound obtained from Cuba and the United States is the material to create this AV of what people say they experienced. The intent is to investigate the tension between politics and poetics, individual memory, and collective mythology in the semiotic possibilities of video art.
[1] Sonic attack or mass paranoia? New evidence stokes debate over diplomats' mysterious Illness, by Richard Stone, 20 June 2018 [2] Ibidem