Curators: Leandro Pisano and Beatrice Ferrara
Set-up: Alessandro Esposito
With contributions by: Enrico Ascoli, Luca Buoninfante, Jo Burzynska, Angus Carlyle, Enrico Coniglio, Alejandro Cornejo Montibeller, Nicola Di Croce, Fernando Godoy, Miguel Isaza, Raffaele Mariconte, Mollin + Voegelin (David Mollin + Salomé Voegelin), Yasuhiro Morinaga, Alyssa Moxley, Philip Samartzis, David Vélez, Sarah Waring
This exhibition is a journey through more than 15 years of Interferenze, a research project carried out across several rural areas of southern Italy, from Irpinia to Sannio, from Cilento to Fortore. It features a selection of context-specific works realized by international artists during a series of art residencies in the region of Campania, thus resulting in an “invisible” sound map made of voices, places, landscapes.
Firstly conceived as a sound art, techno-culture, and rurality festival, over time Interferenze turned into a wider research platform, which in turn created and produced several different outputs, such as workshops, art residencies, and field-work research projects. Among these are Mediaterrae Vol. 1, Barsento Mediascape, Risonanze di Vino, and Liminaria.
This exhibition is just one of the many possible routes along the project’s very long journey across the South. It presents just one of the countless sonic possible worlds that generated over time from the flux of listening practices, bodies, and ideas activated within the project.
In this context, sound becomes a research tool in itself, which can help tackle various material, cultural, social, economic and ecological processes beyond the merely “visual”, thus accessing levels that are imperceptible to the sight. This “acoustemological approach” where sound is linked to knowledge – is a challenge raised to the current political discourses and paradigms that relegate rurality to invisibility and to a marginal position in the contemporary era.
“Foodjob” is a performance firstly conceived for Interferenze in 2010 and later presented in several other places across the world. Foodjob is based on the interaction between sound artist Enrico Ascoli and a cook whose work is well rooted in a specific culinary tradition. The sound piece presented here is the live recording of the world premiere of the performance, which took place on 24th July 2010 in Bisaccia, Irpinia. On this specific occasion, the cook is Pompeo Limongiello from Irpinia, together with whom Ascoli created a recipe/score for a live performance, focusing on the sounds and gestures accompanying the various phases of the processing of the ingredients. The resulting electro-acoustic concert is consequently alternatively delicate and liquid, crunchy and vivacious, hard and noisy. The 2010 performance ended with a tasting session, during which the audience could try the fried baccalà (salted codfish) with peppers prepared during the performance.
“A Sonic Journey”
“A Sonic Journey” is the result of a workshop carried out in Sapri from 20th to 26th August 2018 within the framework of Liminaria. The sound piece is an excerpt from a live set that took place on the closing evening of the residency. It is a composition of sound materials collected in Sapri during the workshop, resulting in a sonic journey in which different events condense together to create a single and surreal narrative. Human activity, the city, the sea, the elements, they all create a counterpoint with social, corporeal and personal sonic manifestations, along a sonic journey which begins and ends with a sort of heartbeat, after having travelled through thickening and rarefactions dictated by the rhythm of the places.
“Risonanze di vino: Two Soundscapes”
“Risonanze di Vino” is a residency project carried out by Jo Burzynska, a sound artist and wine writer from New Zealand. In this project, she analyzes the interactions between sound, wine, culture, and the senses across different areas of oenological production (namely, Monte Taburno and Valle Caudina) in inland Campania. The work aimed firstly at exploring the sensorial and affective resonances between the local winemakers and their land and wines. The results of this exploration later guided the actual process of recording, which took place in vineyards and wine cellars. Eventually, the recordings themselves provided the materials for the creation of a site-specific soundscape for each of the six wineries visited by the artist. This exhibition features two of these compositions, focusing on specific wines and introduced by the artist herself in her own words.
1) “Vallisassoli – New and Ancient Resonances” (wine: Vallissasoli 33/33/33, 2013)
In the first track, that I recorded from the 300-year old vineyard, bookend the sound work. Perceptually they have a bright tone, purity and richness to their sound that correspond with the flavours of the wine. In between the bells crickets and insects sing in the living, organic Vallisassoli vineyards, which work with the freshness of the wine, as does the high pitch of the fermenting wine that’s also part of this work. The bells both symbolise the old winegrowing tradition and herald the new.
2) “Masseria Frattasi – My Mountain” (wine: Masseria Frattasi SVG920, 2017)
This second track and this wine both come from over 800 metres up Mount Taburno, Southern Italy. The vineyards are dramatic, made were made even more so by the storm that broke while I was recording there. The sound of the rain captured close on the leaves on the vines also seemed so well suited to the high acidity of this high elevation Sauvignon Blanc. The rocks are part of the soundscape, whose slightly rough timber and high pitch when hit together, I use in this composition to complement the minerality of this wine.
2015 / 2018
“Altopiano” is a reconstruction of a soundtrack made for Into The Outside, a film collaboration with Chiara Caterina, originally commissioned by the Liminaria Festival.
Out of the heat and the light of the daytime and into the night with its scales, its forms and rhythms. In the nocturnal obscurity, sounds travel from far and near and the air – now calm and now set to motion – the earth, the water, the stars and moon are places to dwell, contemplate, listen, watch, remember. The sounds were captured on all kinds of microphones – both conventional and esoteric – and though sounds might be overlapped in simultaneous layers, the materials themselves are raw and unprocessed, rough and ready. What we hear invokes the weather, the landscape at high altitudes and the animals that dwell there. Human sounds – anthrophony – are also important: machines and vehicles, the recording devices themselves, strangers, friends, myself.
The lights flashing from the high plateau’s wind turbines were like stars come down to earth, a red constellation from which we could navigate during our wanderings among the frogs and river crabs, where the foxes, owls, bats, nocturnal birds, crickets and distant dogs were at the edge of things and where the donkey breathed heavily as it rattled the fence. People were out after dark, too, passing motorists, tractor-drivers, those who guided us to special atmospheres, and those who told us about their worlds after the sun had dropped below the horizon, about the “night time that is shorter.”
“Sounding out the Watershed”
Enrico Coniglio’s installation is based on field recordings collected during three days of artistic residency in Fortore – days spent chasing the sounds that move across the rural landscape, on the border between the two villages of San Marco dei Cavoti and Baselice. This work investigates the identity of a “slow territory”, which is characterized to this day by a strong sonic typicality (topophonia = the whole of the sounds that belong to a certain place and a certain time). This typicality is linked to the traditional landscape of the area, which resists the assaults of contemporary life, while at the same time already being heavily contaminated (on the scenic/visual level) with exogenous elements. The research suggests the somehow surprising finding that the whole area of Fortore could be considered “a border area”, if approached as a whole and on a larger scale.
Alejandro Cornejo Montibeller
“Famiglia, natura, vibrazione”
Sounds are always present – in community life, within families, in nature. Contemporary rurality allows us to understand the frontier between human beings, nature, and modernity. Belonging to a place means being able to understand its vibrations and interactions, its peculiarities and daily cycles. This work has been realised within the framework of a project called “Conexión rural”, which compares the rural south of Peru with the centre-south of Italy, between Abruzzo and Fortore. These territories are approached through the same research methodology, which consists in a comparison between two geographically distant areas, which however share many similarities.
Nicola Di Croce
“Retorica – Tentativi di dialogo con un sindaco”
This sound piece comes from a residency completed in Guardia Sanframondi in July 2018. The piece is conceived and composed as a dialogue between a series of field recordings from the historic centre of Guardia Sanframondi and a speech given by the local Mayor, Floriano Panza, on the closing day of the residency, when he was invited to talk during the final performance. The resulting collage provocatively brings together the curiosity of the local administration towards soundscape practices, the political rhetoric around territorial development, and the voices of those who inhabit the territory, who get older while listening to Radio Maria.
“Dodici” is a stereo version of an installation that was presented in the rural village of Ginestra degli Schiavoni, Southern Italy, during the Liminaria Festival 2016. The work was born during a double residence (in the rural areas of Pollinaria and Montefalcone di Valfortore) where a project of sound recording of the kitchens of rural families was developed. There were recorded preparations, interviews and stories, including poems and old songs that talked about food. In addition, during the period of residence in Montefalcone di Valfortore, recordings of the sound of the bell were made, due to the importance of this sonority in the town as also because some stories linked the bell with the daily rituals of feeding. This resulted in an installation in a dark room, which used an old furniture provided by a Montefalconese lady, including a table, a chair, a lamp, a metal plate and two copper pots. The installation generated a listening experience from the use of transducers on a plate and the pots, where the metallic “speakers” reproduced a three-channel version of the audio that constitutes this version.
2016 / 2018
Piece based on field recordings of Ginestra degli Schiavoni done during Liminaria 2016. It combines the main conceptual/sonic themes I developed during my residency: one is animals (explored in “Ethereal Fortore: Swarm”) and the other is devotion (approached in “Ethereal Fortore: Prayer”). Animals from different zones of the town are included, specially insects because their microsonic properties, and cows, because of the bells. Devotion is explored by recording the organ of Ginestra’s church and processing so it can extend in time and explore tonal and echoic properties. Both sound sources are merged in a way they can give us a sense of an ethereal ecology which features an acousmatic middle ground where the immaterial aspect of sound can dialogue with its materiality, allowing the listening act to reveal its plastic, territorial, cultural and spiritual dimensions in the same dialogue.
2014 / 2016
This soundscape composition is based on field recordings collected in the Fortore region between 2014 and 2016. Overlapped layers of highly stretched fairy tales and short stories are the dark pad on which natural sounds (wind, night sounds, aquatic sounds) and technological sounds (clock mechanisms and wind farms) are mounted, all soundmarks and keynotes of the present and the past of this land.
David Mollin and Salomé Voegelin (Mollin + Voegelin)
“A Cartography of Knuckles and Fingertips”
Knuckles and fingertips dragging along walls, measuring its surface by the friability of flesh, to record in blood and on traces of skin that place the map can’t grasp: the tight and ungiving space between building and body, between material and skin, where simultaneity has physical consequences; where architecture does not house but constructs movements and stillness; and where the skin bears the brunt of the desire to hear what stops the body move and what makes the building hollow. Here knuckles and fingertips perform a forensics of the invisible as an aural delineation and search for an access point at the site of interaction.
In 1963 the small village of Cairano, Irpinia, became the set for an experiment in Neorealism, when film director Silvio Siano chose it as his shooting location for “La donnaccia” movie, which also featured the inhabitants of the hamlet as background actors. On the following years, the movie got lost. However, it eventually reappeared again just a few years ago, when the only surviving copy was found in a collector’s archive. The movie depicts the living conditions in Cairano in the Sixties, touching on issues such as emigration and superstition. Within the framework of a one-year long residency carried out in Irpinia between 2011 and 2012, Yasuhiro Morinaga created a composition for the movie, an extract of which is featured here in this exhibition.
“Ora” (studio version) is a composition created from recordings made during the Liminaria residency in Guardia Sanframondi, Italy, July 2018. The ticking pendulum of the restored but non-functional tower clock in Ave Gratia Plena, a unique device designed and constructed by local engineer Alfonso Sellaroli in 1870 drives the rhythm of the work. Sellaroli moved his engineering studio to a nearby village, Cerreto Sannita, where he was responsible for constructing the first street lights. Cerreto Sannita, unlike Guardia Sanframondi, was rich enough at the time to afford electricity due to its flourishing ceramics industry. The pendulum’s oscillating periodicity is complemented by the irregular frequencies of the organ located in the same church, the studio works of a ceramicist in Cerreto Sannita, church bells, the Pontelandolfo river, children playing tag, folk songs, and the flora and fauna of the village. The work explores the possibility of listening to several representational time periods simultaneously, as a sonic palimpsest.
2017 / 2018
“Perpetual Motion” is based on sound recordings of a landscape overwhelmed by wind turbine technology. Here the powerful force of wind is transformed from kinetic to electric energy through perpetually spinning rotors. The turbulent air, saturated with charged particles, imparts a volatility to the bucolic environment. Perpetual Motion highlights the tension between traditional agricultural producers, and the industrialised landscape in which they must now inhabit.
“The Pace of Time in the Wheat Fields of Southern Italy”
This is a sound piece based on an untreated one-shot field recording captured near Montefalcone di Valfortore, Italy in the wheat fields. This work comes from a Liminaria residency curated by Leandro Pisano and Beatrice Ferrara.
“Guardians of Guardia / Guardie di Guardia”
(reading: Sarah Waring, Pasquale Di Cosmo; Italian translation: Beatrice Ferrara)
Above town, shepherds tend an impressive flock, the only herd in the vicinity; beneath every new farming practice lies a series of complex aspirations based on vision and determination. Vincenzo and I met one day in a local bar. The young farmer had left his events construction job in Bologna to raise sheep with his brother. We swapped milking stories and, realising I wasn’t fresh from the city, he invited me to visit the herd. Having moved from London to a small, Friulian village several years ago, I could empathise with his impulse to live and work in the countryside. For many, rurality signifies a loss of choice, for a few, it realises freedom from urban demands.
Over the following days, we made three visits to the herd: two during the day and one at night. The sound recordings I made on each occasion were cut together to form a three-minute soundscape of grazing, rumination, bleating, calling and bells.
The first day, we met Andrews in a field under a tree. He and I shook hands but exchanged few words at first. The young Ghanaian asylum seeker, who has been in Italy one year and three months, works seven days a week to improve his chances of demonstrating his right to freedom of movement.
In writing a short text, I aimed to recognise the motivations of those who work together but live different circumstances.
On the evening of the residency’s final presentation, Andrews and other asylum seekers came into town. They were honoured by the council’s cultural representative before Guardians of Guardia was read first in English, then in Italian, and the sound piece was played.
From very distinct positions, Andrews and I share a common language due to a regrettable colonial past; being both non-nationals in Italy, we keep in touch and often speak on the phone. He’s still waiting for his documents.