Listening Closely

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Listening Closely – Nicola Di Croce – Performance Recorded in San Cipriano Picentino (SA), Italy – September, 4, 2015

About the performance

San Cipriano Picentino is a small village in the south of Italy. Thanks to Fondazione Aurelio Petroni I’ve developed a project named “Listening Closely” with the aim of inquiring the sonic environment of the area, focusing on sonic identity, everyday practices and citizen’s sonic awareness. The art residency moved from a question: How to encourage local development through the development of listening practice?

By connecting sonic environment, participatory design and political level of understanding, the outcome I expected was stimulating sonic acknowledgment in order to enter the political framework of the village.

I organized a series of soundwalks with the people interested in contributing to my project. During the soundwalks I asked them to show me their environment and to carry me through the everyday sounds they believe most distinctive, and I then recorded the selected sounds together with them.

The archive of field recordings became later the ground of a final participatory performance. Here the public was invited to select sounds from the archive that I was then mixing and playing in real time. The score I prepared for the performance encouraged participants to choose a paper note representing a segment of the archive from the ones places on a table just in front of me. Only three recordings (three paper notes) could be played simultaneously. One by one, people decided then to substitute one of the notes with a new one to be played.

The local community was therefore involved in a “sonic meeting” experiencing their single role and commitment in the conscious construction of the everyday sonic environment.

Sonic identity was then not merely the result of a ‘fight’ or a ‘mash up’ between different perceptions and choices, rather it represented a sonic dialogue, an interplay between inhabitants.

It is possible to consider the performance as a device aiming to stimulate public engagement in sonic fields. The inhabitants in fact, far from accepting the status quo, are exhorted to move beyond an almost bearable sonic environment, and to address their dedication to improve the quality of their entire lives, therefore to demand a more sensitive political level of understanding about the sonic fields.

FAP, Fondazione Aurelio Petroni Art Residency Program

Photo Credits: Chiara Caterina

The archive realised during the residency is available here

Listening closely has become an essay, published by Linaria Edizioni.

Further informations about the theoretical framework will be published on line

as Invisible Places’s conference proceedings (Azores, 2017)