Cecilia Borettaz

3’33” (2015)

3’50” (2016)

2’20” (2016)

3’30” (2016)



The contributions you will present in this edition of Helicotrema are sound adaptations of short stories you wrote from biographical stories of some members of your family. What led you to move from written to oral narrative storytelling? What are the aspects that you wanted to investigate?

I like to imagine writing as sleeping. The words are sleeping, they across frontiers, through dreams, they can get lost in time. They can be forgotten, but they can not lose their value. As regards the oral dimension, however, it is considerably more fragile of writing, because it does not rely on any static and precise rule. In fact, it has no sediment, it is an ephemeral matter. Still, I think the voice is the only subject that awake. Awakens our memory, our senses, the body, the story. All! And like all great things, exist only once. Ready to fall into a deep sleep.

If in the writing shape these stories are only in Italian, in the final editing you transpose the mother tongue mixed with different languages (French and English) and alternate voices and timbres of different nature. Why did you decide to experiment with other musical and melodies?

Surely Brussels, the city where I live for a couple of years, and its multicultural life allowed me to enrich this project. Regarding this work I focused on the languages I know more; the Italian, French and English. It was amazing to listen to people who participated in the reading of texts. Some perfectly knew the story, others were reading it for the first time. But each in his own way, carrying within the story, his accent, his own way of reading. And a few sentences, written in Italian, work best when read orally in a foreign languages. I’d like to continue this project with other languages. Next time!

This is your first sound project. What is your artistic research and how these works fit within it?

The texts come from visual experiences: memories, smells and plays that I have received during my childhood. But there is a disturbing element that continues to fascinate me: in my family there was never the need to pass on orally its own history or a defined culture. Not for rejection, but through forgetfulness, short for a carefree surface. I do not understand even if this make me nervous or if I wonder. Maybe both. These aspects are integrated in my research, or explore the border between tradition and transmission in an individual or collective dimension. Especially for an individual who feels belong to multiple traditions and to more places, developing a hybrid state.