The idea behind this project started to arise and take shape in the winter of 2020 while confined within the walls of my house as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. As for many people, this brand new experience has been accompanied by a range of unfamiliar feelings accentuated by the sameness of each day and the loss of routine that greatly contributed to a distorted perception of time and space, but also with new ‘findigs’ and unexpected artistic inspiration. And most of all, it made us aware of the domestic world around and, as sound artist, of the tiny noises produced by all the small things filling our new, private ecosystem. All of a sudden, I realised that we are surrounded—indeed, permeated—by sound. We always have been. As humans in this century we grew up surrounded by sound waves and magnetic fields, whether audible or not, that constitute the sonic environment we inhabit. And as civilization develops, new noises start rising all around us. As the population of sounds in the world increases, individual acoustic signals are obscured in an over-dense population of sounds (or what M.Schafer calls ‘lo-fi sounds’). We unconsciously suffer from an overabundance of auditory information and a proportionate diminishing of our ability to capture the inner details of what surrounds us. Today, we are so used to the background noise generated by electrical appliances in our homes, their continuous ‘breathing’, to consider it a normal thing. A sensation that nowadays has been heightened by the fragility and silence we have all experienced during lockdown. What we unconsciously hear and co-exist with is the constant drone of the electric power system; though we may not realize it, this is the real soundscape of our time
This sound is continuous, droning, repetitive. It is ubiquitos, even where one would not expect it. The density of what we hear increases continuously; there are almost no electrical silences any more. The audible world is therefore superimposed with a whole artificial one that we have created but we’re perhaps not aware of. Do we hear that yet? This change of hearing have always fascinated me during my academic studies and when working with sound, as music becomes mimetic and ‘deep listening’ a kind of intimate ritual. Are we really listening, and if so how and what for? During lockdown I spent some time listening to the sound produced by electric devices such as my old refrigerator, Laptop fans, boiler, and others, which were continuously filling the room with their endless noisy sound. I was very focused on the sound that people would generally filter out or ignore as part of our routine soundscape instead of tuning into it. This kind of sound occupy the space, filling our daily background.
The idea behind ‘CUSTODIANS’ is therefore to create a site-specific installation of sound art that is made by a series of “Custodians”. Each custodian consists of a megaphone placed on top of a stand (or a mannequin). Each stand will then be "dressed" in a black cape. The custodians will act as keepers of the city's electric soundfield. From each megaphone it will be possible to listen to a particular electrical soundscape that will be recorded in Venice during the residency period. The sounds recorded will then be processed and used to write the compositions that will be played by the keepers. Custodians aims at the creation of 4 or 6 custodians, which appear to be alive to the eyes of the visitors, and where each one keeps a different soundscape, thus triggering a reflection on the massive presence of electrical/ electronic devices in our daily lives, and the noises they generate
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