Francesco Fonassi

six studies on a mediated land
11’26” – 2014

When, and how did you start working with sound?I started 10 years ago ish conceiving sound actions (almost graffiti ‘throbbing gristle’ style), recordings and proper pieces in a very slow, self-taught and unpolished way. Recording walking paths from here to there – from here to there, or working on badly executed field recordings where my presence in the tracks were totally disturbing or where i did improvise some rythm with found objects etc. And so on listening and producing a lot of noises and things that nobody needed or wanted to listen to; discovering in the meantime early electronic music and more such contemporary underground things and remixing it in a very big and confused, arousal mind-container (that confusion was because there was art as well involved, such like a more disciplined and conceptual willing whatever it means). Sometimes i played live forms of concrete/electroacustic sets (i’m actually doing it again now, very rarely) and i was part of a collective where we experimented a lot with new routes in digital interaction and sonorization of public spaces. Before that, for a period around 2005, i shipped several low-cost digital recorders with ‘DIY battery extra pack’ around Italy and some in Europe also, asking to send me back the recordings only, collecting hours and hours of unheard ‘something from inside’ (afterwards i started to call it music, unheard music.. now i don’t think it was).
Maybe from those experiences i just began to look at sound as a weird, human matter, and listening with its involvement in a more expanded way. My practice changed a lot since then.

We are very interested in the listening conditions, in the spatial context of sound. You have presented your works in many different locations and conditions. How have the different contexts of presentation influenced your sound research over the years?

Of course the thing i like the most of your project is the formula of keeping people to listen one piece by another, until the end. It’s rare in acousmatic fields. I also adopted often this and other modalities to put the focus on the durational issues and on the conditions of the listening itself: a free stream, not always confortable, of being part of the same occurrence, nowhere but here.
Not easy to say in few lines, but i guess now for me the first place of conflict here is the web context. You don’t have air in the internet, no acoustic then. You dont’ care about listening conditions. We just name a thing after one another. Out of the web context every place and every condition needs to be set up even more accurately. Anyway, regarding my own research, the way you listen to it means a lot.

Can you say something about six studies on a mediated land, the piece that you will present during Helicotrema 2016?

It’s a recent mix from materials that were used in an installation i did two years ago, called Territoriale. In that piece, realized in a huge gallery of Maxxi, in Rome, we built a wall to cut the space in two parts, blocking the normal access and changing the passing logic through the museum. Both sides had a mirrored 4 channel + 2 sub sound system that spread those materials: two slightly different dark and quite abstract soundscapes were the basic environments in the two spaces. A system (developed with Tempo Reale) was monitoring the spaces and measuring the density of human bodies and their proximity to the wall, modulating and following those movements in a latent way, where the consequences of those variations were heard on the other side, in terms of intensity and modulations.
Workin’ as a optic chiasm – or osmotic process – Territoriale is a crossed, sensitive system which put physically in connection two divided spaces. I say physically because the logic of the ‘composition’ was very close to the logic of an electromagnetic phenomena, and the sonorities as well: if two people meets across the wall, very close to it (1:1 is the most pure sonic situation that could occour) then both spaces gets resonant and modulates the audio environments: they converge, they’re mediated. If a lot of people meets across the wall, the pure resonance become a roboant and violent, almost unsostainable imminency. That was, briefly, the behaviour of the space: a potential, negative, horizon synthesis. Extremely rational despite its nature.
I like the idea of presenting in your festival those basic materials, which are neutral this way, they’re not agitated, nor tensed by the human presence, litmus papers of energies to come.