When viruses infect, they develop a sort of new ecosystem in which other cells work for them and things in the organisms function and grow around them: around the infection. When some technology is an active part of a ritual and the most essential element of it, a whole new environment and culture develop around it. Within a ritualic (not Strictly sacred) activity, an object and a technology carry lots of value. Many of them suffer a strong technical and visual intervention so that they can support more poetic and memorable experiences. New tasks and jobs are created or invented and lots of possibilities are discovered.


A magical sound system from the caribbean 

In the Colombian Caribbean coast, popular wisdom says a ‘costeño’ (person from the coast) must always have a more powerful sound than his neighbor.

People in the Tropics may not have food or a proper house but most of them do have a Plasma TV, a Sound System and a Mobile Phone. In this pursuit to get the best sound, throwing huge parties, and creating memorable nights, people started modifying, adapting and reappropriating sound systems in way that gave place to considerable important technological developments. 

Picós are these huge, powerful, customized, hand-painted, highly fetishized sound systems from the Colombian Caribbean Coast. The word Picó is the colombian adaptation of the english word Pick Up that refers to the needle conducing the vibratory sounds of african vinyl’s with soukous, zouk, mbaqanga and highlife; the preferred rhythms of the popular neighborhoods of the coast. Nowadays they mainly play Champeta. The world Picó may also refer to the trucks that carry the heavy sound system. They were handcrafted made out of closets and each one has its own name depending on its origin or musical preference. They have strong discourses and a whole family is capable of living out of one. The big world that exist around the Picó is fascinating. There is the one that play the music, the ones that carry the huge speakers, the ones that hack them, and those who paint them, among many others. These are caribbean visual and sonorous delights capable of making a whole town hallucinate with extraordinary and memorable times. But they are also very interesting as a technological piece since they are constructed out of improvisation and remix. The amplifiers are constructed with vacuum tubes, rather than transistors. However this may happen because of a preference rather than necessity since the colombian coast has access to almost any technological component out in the market. Picó owners believe that only vacuum tubes are capable of producing such a forceful bass punch that dancers highly enjoy and demand. Though vacuum tubes became years ago obsolete. It is said that some legendary Picós had around hundred and twenty tubes while former american amplifiers that were used for concerts had about a half dozen. “The Picó is vanity expressed with tubes and paint”, some Cartagenan said once.

The fact that whole families could use Picós as a business and a way of life is very interesting. The visual intervention of them transport the public to certain moods and worlds that are strongly valued by people.


Things come first to the ports, and people felt the need to distinguish among their friends, neighbors and almost anybody else. People could have access to the most up to date state of the art technologies, but they preferred not only by necessity but also by conviction, to build and construct themselves special relationships and characters for their devices. Not only a technical expression but also a visual one in which it was meant to transport to new words through the technology.


The people from the colombian coast give strong importance to out stand and differ from others. Life is full of memorable experiences and uniqueness must be the bread of everyday. The construction of a cultural identification that enable memorable experiences and the simple need of be louder than your neighbor.


People started spontaneously modifying and constructing by themselves huge costume made and ‘exclusive’ sound systems out of closets and old electronic components. They manifest with a handcrafted visual and technical intervention that give a special personality and character to the technology so that an activity runs around it.


New Cultural and economical activities around the Picós. New Jobs and business models. People could live out of one or out a unique task only meant to exist for this technology.


Huge speakers as ritualistic objects. Containers of poetic narratives, powerful stories and memorable and meaningful times.


Sound systems and record players.