From the 18th to the 25th of September Video Sound Art presented the 11th edition of the Festival with a rich programme of installations and performances was presented at two important places of scientific knowledge in the city of Milan: the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale and the Planetario Ulrico Hoepli.
The theme of the eleventh edition of the Festival was rhythm, starting with cycles of cosmic and biological origin, from the motions of celestial bodies to the human body.
There is a beat that crosses all the elements, so that distinct parts are in perfect symbiosis. Rhythm is the basis of every social and natural phenomenon, the essence of every organism, and perhaps of the whole world. A dance without music that combines the frequency of a breath with the vibration of a quartz, the motion of a car with the beating wings of a bat, up to the cosmic motions of the Moon, the Sun and the stars. Laura Lamonea, curator
The 2021 programme, which continued with Gestus at the Teatrino di Palazzo Grassi in Venice, aimed to explore the relational practices by which the individual discovers the cosmos, trains to hear rhythms without being able to listen to them, and learns to embrace previously alien gestures and thoughts. A research on physical actions, starting from the reflections of the great theatrical masters of the 20th century (Copeau, Mejerchol’d, Artaud, Grotowski), in order to follow the traces they have left in contemporary art and performance, certain of the topicality and transformative power they still possess.
Rome is not Rome (Pt.II Mythology to Abattoir)
Complex installation, 2016
The frescoed hall on the first floor of the Civic Museum of Natural History hosted the complex installation Rome is not Rome (Pt.II Mythology to Abattoir) by Haig Aivazian, a Lebanese artist whose works have been presented in Italy at the MAXXI Museum in Rome and at the Venice Biennale.
Aivazian investigates power, with a particular focus on the way it influences the relationships between objects, animals, people and places. He explores – through sculptural works, films, drawings, performance acts – the vast areas of ambiguity that characterise modernity. Is the drive to preserve functional to destruction? What emerges is a reflection on the world around us and the capacity we have to perceive it. A reality that relies on a rhythmic balance between sources of power and techniques of resistance.
The installation Rome is not Rome (Pt.II Mythology to Abattoir) is composed of strange luxury objects, fragments of architecture and animals with mythological features. The work reflects on how museums, architecture and archaeology are powerful ideological tools that have shaped the vision of entire civilisations and formulated a collective imagination, relating to the past through recurring categories and models.
It is a hybrid environment in which bodies seem to be in the process of finding their place and in which individual desires, political constraints and social conventions hover. The work reflects ironically on the hierarchies and classifications of life within which we find ourselves harnessed. The works assume fluid identities, capable of generating assonances between different worlds and cultures, but inevitably filtered by the artist’s visual culture.
Haig Aivazian with Murad Içlinalça
Specially for Rythmòs, Aivazian has created a talk that is half performance and half talk, with the precious collaboration of the Turkish musician Murad Içlinalça.
The artist draws on two works: To Be Human, O Mountain! (2017), in which singers sang fragments of prison songs, traces of displacement in the musical tradition, as well as in the landscape; and Wavy is the Sea, Momma (2015), which reflected on the monophonic chant of the Armenian liturgy and its relationship to Turkish cultural identity.
The boundaries between man and nature, landscape and architecture, memory and history, become faint and blur evocatively in the artist’s intervention, bringing out the key themes of the exhibition.
“I have been thinking about 3 sites of where music was historically produced and captured… the church, the field and The Prison. A site of collective worship, a site of cultivation (or collective labour) and a site of incarceration (or collective punishment). I could also say it in another way…A site where people are gathered to be in direct contact with the sky. A site where people are gathered to be in direct contact with the earth and a site where people are gathered to dig and go underground. These 3 sites (the church, the field, the prison) were also where ethnographers sought to collect and preserve musical traditions they considered endangered by the transformations brought along by modernity. It’s just that the figure of the ethnographer himself, is a product of that very modernity.” Haig Aivazian.
Caterina Gobbi, Had there been anyone to listen
In the depths of the subsoil, beyond the reach of any human ear, subterranean and superficial movements create majestic melodies. Using special microphones, Caterina Gobbi has sampled these vibrations in the Mont Blanc area to create a collection of underground voices. In the form of a sound performance, these voices were brought to the public, giving rise to a reflection on the world around us and our ability to perceive it.
Andrea Di Lorenzo, Foglie di fico
Andrea Di Lorenzo presented a static performance. The artist positions himself inside a bush of fig leaves, made of concrete and iron, remaining motionless for several hours. Only a portion of the artist’s legs can be seen, making it difficult for the public to decipher whether it is a person or simply a mannequin. Through a laborious exercise that cancels every movement, the human body can become similar to the one of a plant, thus producing a synchronization between opposing rhythms.
Francesco Cavaliere e Tomoko Sauvage, Uzu Cima
Starting from research into oscillations and “natural pendulums”, those elements that even imperceptibly or abstractly produce rhythms, Francesco Cavaliere and Tomoko Sauvage use stones and other inanimate objects as a source of new sounds.
The backdrop for the performance was the new Mineral Hall of the Museo di Storia Naturale, one of the most important and comprehensive in Europe.
Radouan Mriziga, 0.Rythmòs
The monumental staircase of the Natural History Museum hosted 0.Rythmòs, a site-specific performance by the choreographer Radouan Mriziga. Referencing Oskar Schlemmer’s experience at the Bauhaus, Mriziga places the human figure, “measure of all things”, at the base of his research, in which the opposite polarities of the organic and the mathematical are reconciled. In the performance, the dancer Maïté Jeannolin gave shape to an imaginary environment in which bodies, lines of movement and textures of architecture are intimately linked.
Cecilia Mentasti, Safari (not the exception but the rule)
Cecilia Mentasti has proposed a path of meaning in the museum, starting with some elements that are constantly in front of the public’s eyes, without being noticed.
Through the performative action of the students of the Boccioni and Volta high schools, the artist highlighted the imperceptible rhythms that make up the fabric of the exhibition.
Luca Maria Baldini, L’occhio e i pianeti
A few steps away from the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, the Planetario Ulrico Hoepli hosted the musical performance L’occhio e i pianeti by Luca Maria Baldini, in collaboration with Le Cannibale, dramaturgy by the Video Sound Art curatorial team, direction by Tommaso Santagostino, with the participation of astrophysicist Fabio Peri. An original sound object that fluctuates from Calvino’s literary suggestions to contemporary observations of the sky from an ecological and scientific perspective. Luca Maria Baldini’s soundscape accompanied an itinerary of nocturnal discovery led by astrophysicist Fabio Peri.