2012 Vibractions

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Vibractions
2012

The sculptures and installations of this period are joined by works on paper, often large in size: while focusing on questions that cross the entire artist’s oeuvre,[read more=”Read More”less=”Read Less”]certain of these works offer us a chance for perhaps a closer approach to his personal sphere, almost to his physical being. We might talk about a proximity that is exposed to the gaze, in a cycle of works on paper under a single title: Respiro (Breath). The large sheets of paper lined up in overlaid rows are crossed by bundles of sinuous lines that flee to the margins. The observer is attracted by their slenderness and, at the same time, their evidence, deceptively like filaments, or hairs embedded in applied onto the paper. The sign is actually obtained with ink, but – as the artist explains – the result is possible only through particular physical and mental preparation: “To obtain this sign, it takes a gesture done with a special brush, with long bristles, dipped in ink. The ink held by the bristles is deposited with a wide, flowing, continuous gesture. Breathing is important: the exhalation accompanies the whole trajectory of the sign on the paper, and the air contained in the lungs is released in synchrony with the release of the ink from the bristles. The lines that cross the sheet have their own shape. Those modulations can be compared to the signs made by a seismograph: the point of the brush records an inner state, just at the tip of the seismograph records telluric movements, or the encephalogram records brain activity.” It is breathing, then, its rhythm, that determines the fluid movement of the lines that cross the paper.[/read]

Vibractions 2012. Enviromental Installation, forniture, harmonic string, fur, Milano, 2012 [PE0017]

Vibractions 2012. Sound Performance, Spazio O’ Milano, 2012 [PE0017]

2012 Casa Anatta

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Casa Anatta
[Not Self]

In 2012, in the interiors of Casa Anatta, a unique house in Monte Verità, Switzerland, with inner walls entirely covered in wood, Ferruccio Ascari presented a new version of Vibractions, a sound installation first created in 1978.[read more=”Read More”less=”Read Less”]Much like in the original version, harmonic strings were stretched from one side of the rooms to another, so that the inner space of the house became a musical instrument itself “played” by the artist. These four videos document the performance, held in 2012 in the house’s four room, in the form of a video-installation.
Anatta (“Not I” in Pali language) is the name of a unique house built in 1904 in Monte Verità, Switzerland. This was the main venue of the artistic, philosophical and spiritural movement which took place in Monte Verità from early to mid twentieth century.
Consistently with the artist’s typical creation process, the sound and visual material documenting the performance are the starting point of the video-installation Anatta (Non Io). The installation is composed of four videos reproducing as many rooms that give onto the central salon of the house. Every room, with harmonic strings running from one side to another, is transformed into a speaker box, a musical instrument “played” by the artist. The peculiar volumes of each room, entirely covered in wood, result into different resonances. Much like in the original installation from 1978, and the most recent version from 2012, the sound is literally generated by the environment, while the severe black and white images show a space that was closed for many years, suspended in time.[/read]

Casa Anatta [Non Io].Videoinstallation, 4 movies/4 different walls, 17’17”, Monte Verità, 2012 [PE0018]
Casa Anatta [Non Io]. Sound installation/performance, Monte Verità, 2012 [PE0018]

Performance’s score

1980 Sans Mot Dire

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80

Sans
Mot Dire

(english version coming soon)

L’installazione ambientale ’Sans Mot Dire’ fu presentata nell’ambito di un progetto speciale della Biennale di Venezia. Di seguito uno scritto dell’artista che accompagnava l’opera e uno stralcio di un’intervista rilasciata in quell’occasione alla RAI nell’ambito della trasmissione “I pensieri di King Kong”.[read more=”Read More”less=”Read Less”]”Invertire il tempo dal presente al passato secondo il filo retrocedente della memoria; infrangere, opponendosi al trascinamento temporale, la fissità degli oggetti, i rapporti necessari tra essi, i loro vincoli: il tempo dell’opera è perciò ciclico, quello dell’ “eterno ritorno”, così come l’acqua, materiale fluido per eccellenza, allude ad un universo in cui fissità e permanenza sono bandite e perennemente le cose trascorrono da uno stato all’altro, così come i suoni liquidi e ripetitivi che riempiono l’ambiente eternamente si rincorrono in una fuga all’infinito. Posso dire della lotta del rame e del mercurio, l’acqua dei filosofi, della lotta delle due nature della bilancia e dell’acqua, posso dire dell’impulso verso il basso, della lotta per la fissazione, la coagulazione di quest’acqua principio e fine dell’opera; un’acqua fluente che continua incessantemente a rifluire come a divorare incessantemente se stessa. Non ho lavorato per ciò che può avere carattere di cosa compiuta, immobile e perfetta, anche se questa macchina autosufficiente di rame tende verso una legge d’ordine, d’organizzazione, di equilibrio che comunque non raggiunge mai. Ho lavorato pensando alla inafferrabilità, all’energia sottile delle trasformazioni, pensando ai principi arcaici di luna, donna, mestruo, che si contrappongono alla specializzazione, alla virtù contrattiva operante contro il mutamento.”
“… Una descrizione pura e semplice mi sarebbe impossibile: si tratta di tradurre, quindi di tradire un linguaggio in un altro. Posso dire che si tratta di una scultura costituita d’acqua, un’acqua che fluisce da un rubinetto di vetro e che cade su una grande struttura di rame in bilico sul suo asse; il buio dell’ambiente è interrotto da un parallelepipedo di luce che investe la struttura oscillante in un movimento ritmico e continuo; l’acqua, fluendo, si raccoglie in una parte di questa sorta di grande bilancia di rame, riempiendola sino a quando non trabocca, facendo così spostare tutta la struttura da un lato. Quindi l’acqua comincia subito a convogliarsi dall’altra parte che, una volta colma, ripeterà lo spostamento nel senso opposto. Una struttura in movimento ritmico e perpetuo, che riempie lo spazio di suoni liquidi e metallici, scandendo un tempo che è il tempo stesso dell’opera…
Sul fondo di un parallelepipedo nero e cavo è collocato un monitor rovesciato verso l’alto che invia l’immagine di una donna che compie un movimento ritmico di immersione ed emersione nell’acqua: attraverso il parallelepipedo/pozzo la visione viene veicolata dall’alto verso il basso, ripercorrendo la tipologia della ripresa televisiva effettuata con la medesima direzionalità così come accade per il suono che viene inversamente direzionato dal basso verso l’alto; come per la visione anche la registrazione su banda magnetica, un lavoro, questo, che ho appositamente elaborato per questo ambiente, realizza un percorso uditivo secondo linee prospettiche e punti privilegiati di fuga: un flusso sonoro verticale, quello promanantesi dal parallelepipedo, si combina, interferisce con quello orizzontale, oscillatorio, dell’acqua e del rame.”[/read]

Sans Mot Dire. ‘Il tempo e la memoria nella società contemporanea’. Church of San Lorenzo, Venice Biennale, Special Projects Sector, 1980 [PE0003]

1978 Vibractions

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78

Vibractions

In february 1979 an experimental center for visual arts called Sixto/Notes opened in Milan, and precisely in a street called S. Sisto. The purpose of its founders[read more=”Read More”less=”Read Less”]—Ferruccio Ascari, Luisa Cividin, Daniela Cristadoro, and Roberto Taroini—was to follow two lines at once: the creation of an archive of film documents, and the production of an exhibition program of installations and performances able to express the artistic climate in Italy, Europe and United States at that time.
The main focus of the center was on experiences characterized by an intercontamination of languages aimed at re-defining the field of art, its boundaries and trends. This is the context in which “Untitled,” a sound installation and performance by Ferruccio Ascari, would be read: this work was conceived and created within a program of sound installations organized by the center, which included site-specific works by Lanfranco Baldi, Cioni Carpi, Giuseppe Chiari, John Duncan, Walter Marchetti, Gianni Emilio Simonetti, and Roberto Taroni, along with contributions by representatives of the most radical researches of those years: Ant Farm, BDR Ensemble, Nancy Buchanan, Chris Burden, Dal Bosco-Varesco, Guy de Contet, Douglas Huebler, Layurel Klick, Laymen Stifled, Paul Mc Carthy, Fredrick Nilsen, Barbara Smith, and Demetrio Stratos.
“Untitled” was an emblematic example of a research common at that time in which visual and sound elements were considered as indissolubly bound together, in an analysis which started from a deep reflection upon the categories of time and space in art. The paradoxical purpose of “Untitled” was to measure the architectural space by the use of sound, or even better, to find a sound equivalent of the architectural space; to walk through it in order to catch its specific volumetric, dimensional, visual, and acoustic qualities; to find the law by which it was governed and to establish a relation with the subject walking through it; and finally, to find a way of making the space respond to sound impulses until its own Sound was discovered, “the uniqueness and unrepeatability of its resounding in relation to what occurs within it”—as Ferruccio Ascari wrote in a presentation text of this work.
“Untitled” was subsequently reproposed in different sites, the eighteenth-century chapel of the University College of Pavia (1979) and the theatre Aut/Off in Milan (1980): on these occasions, the work was presented under the new titles of “Vibractions I” and “Vibractions II” and produced very different results not only at a sound level. The spatial qualities of each place (dimensions, volumes, architectural typology) were reproduced by a network of harmonic strings running through the floor, the walls, and the ceiling of the room: the strings were anchored at their ends to metal frustums of cones which served as resonance boxes. The sound equipment–designed and realized following mathematical proportions deduced by the environment’s volumetric ratios—became the instrument used to investigate the acoustic specificity of each space, to seize its innermost identity, or, in Ascari’s words, to “find out its own sound” and therefore to disclose its essence. The “epiphany” was committed to the moment of the performance, during which the environment/instrument was “played” by a variable number of instrumentalists/agents: by the use of plectrums, violin bows, and hammers, all of them made the harmonic strings vibrate according to a score that was also mathematically deduced by the volumetric ratios of the space.
Drops of water fell regularly from a cruet hanging from the ceiling onto a large iron disc anchored to a tripod: their sound, amplified through a microphone, punctuated the duration of the event. A looped video reproducing the environment while walked through by the agents/instrumentalists was projected onto the environment itself: the projector placed on a rotating base followed optically the path of the instrumentalists.
“Untitled” was composed of three interconnected levels—installation, performance and film. In the installation, the harmonic strings running throughout the walls were conceptually determined as “visible” sounds even before they were put in vibration. In the performance, the action exercised on the strings was an act of “dis/in/canto,” an Italian word which etymologically means exactly “something producing vibrations”: by resounding and lowering, the vibrations originated kind of an immaterial motion in the space and turned into “acoustic images,” while the environment became an instrument entirely run through by harmonic strings.
The video reproducing the environment and projected onto the environment itself gave shape to a sort of visual whirl, where projection and action became indefinitely knotted and untied, in a continuous relationship of illusion/disillusion.
Of this work, so conceptually and visually tied to the radical investigations of that time, only part of the equipment is left, along with a few meagre notes, a certain number of pictures, and a sound recording.
More than thirty years later, in 2012, Ferruccio Ascari will refer to this 1978 work in a recent series of environmental installations among which Vibractions 2012 and Casa Anatta [Non Io].[/read]

“Audio Works” Poster, Sixto notes, Milano, 1978

Vibractions II, installazione sonora, performance, Teatro OutOff, Milano, 1980 [PE0001]

Vibractions I, sound installation, performance, Chapel of the University College Cairoli, Pavia, 1979

Untitled, sound installation, performance, Sixto Notes, Milano 1978

Sketches

Project clipboard

Related Video: Vibractions 1978-2012. 06’34”, 2015

1977 porta solare

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Porta
Solare

(english version coming soon)

Porta Solare, che nella realtà avrebbe dovuto essere di dimensioni imponenti, è stata concepita per essere collocata in un luogo deserto[read more=”Read More”less=”Read Less”]e di dimensioni e altezza tali da essere visibile anche da molto lontano. Nelle intenzioni dell’artista si sarebbe trattato di una soglia, un segno che indicava un confine immaginario tra due territori in apparenza indistinguibili. Il progetto prevedeva inoltre che la porta emettesse, grazie a un congegno ad energia solare collocato al suo interno, un suono continuo in relazione all’intensità della luce: un sibilo sottile alle prime luci dell’alba avrebbe raggiunto l’apice allo zenit per poi digradare lentamente in relazione allo scorrere delle ore sino al silenzio notturno.[/read]

Porta Solare. Project of copper sound sculpture, 1977 [S0013]