Or It's in the Head
keywords: ruins, co-presence, otherness, "the absolute flow" (Birnbaum/husserl), architecture/not-architecture, landscape/not-landscape (Krauss), "médiance" (berque), warped space, architectural foam (Sloterdjk).
Or It's in the Head consists of a quasi-camera oscura, faintly lit by an angular spotlight mounted in ceiling and oriented toward one corner of the room.
Four speakers, situated on the floor, diffuse field-recordings of the pre-industrial archaeology site of S.Marta, Venice. The "found" sound material is marked by the underground presence of a large, abandoned ventilation plant nearby, whose invisible lines of air, springing from a metallic floor grille, are occasionally broken by the distant echoes of Porto Marghera, the new Venetian harbor.
On each of the few chairs distributed around the installation space, the visitors can find a pair of open-air headphones playing a soundscape composition made with the same spectral material of the field-recording, only electronically processed. As the high, linear frequencies emitted by the headphones appear and disappear, the perception of the external, physical acoustic space —perfectly audible thanks to the permeability of the open-air technology—, becomes con-fused with the imaginary, mental space of the composition. Furthermore, over time, the human ear starts behaving like an inner speaker itself, generating «tone responses» (1) in addition to the received, heard ones.
«As the relationship between the individual and the space» becomes «composite, stratified and unstable», and the new perceived landscape, resulting from aural overexposure, metamorphoses into a complex "magma" in which «continuous change» and transformation are «the only certainty» (2), contradiction, co-presence, multiplicity, and complication emerge as part of a new sensorial awareness (3), where the constant «re-evaluation of the subjective component becomes the expression of a new adherence to the complexity of reality.» (4)
(1) M.Amacher, Psychoacoustic Phenomena in Musical Composition : Some Features of a Perceptual Geography, 1977.
(2) P.Gregory, New Scapes. Territories of Complexity, Birkhaüser, Basel, 2003, p.11