I listen to your heart, city. Torino during COVID19
Giuseppe Gavazza has just joined the Cresson-AAU team since January 2020. He teaches composition at the Conservatory of Music of Cuneo (Piemonte, Italia). He recently obtained his PhD in Cognition, Interaction, Learning and Creation Engineering at CROE-ICA, Grenoble under the supervision of Claude Cadoz and Patrick Revol: “De Rerum Natura: Physical modelling as a tool for musical composition“.
To get to know him better G Gavazza tells us about his various contributions to cultural and artistic journals.
Recently, reading the interesting book “Sound Art” by Alan Licht I highlighted at (p.210) this quote of composer Morton Feldman:
“My obsession with surface is the subject of my music. In that sense my compositions are not really “compositions” at all. One might call them time canvases in which I more or less prime the canvas with an overall hue of the music … I prefer to think of my work as between categories. Between time and space. Between painting and music. Between the music’s construction, and its surface.“
Feldman is one of my primary and utter reference points and, looking back, I see that my life as a musician has always been between categories. I am moved by curiosity: reversing Pablo Picasso’s well-known statement: “Je ne trouve pas, je cherche”.
I studied piano for years but playing an instrument has never been my most authentic interest and pleasure: I have deepened the academic composition by improving harmony, counterpoint, orchestration and musical analysis but I have devoted identical interest in studies and research related to electronic music and new technologies: analog first and digital in the last years.
Digital world resets the differences: at the lowest level of the binary logic of the microprocessor there is no differences between the various elements and matters used for arts: sound, words, images are all represented by numbers. This means that the instruments, means, tools to make art in the brave new digital world are unifying, becoming the same. I suppose that something analogous happens on the deepest level of our mind: my experience of music and musical theatre with and for children has revealed to me that this is also the case for us in childhood.
I like art and I love to enter into a sound, remain there to listen, reflect, memorize, perhaps understand something more of the world: I’m seduced by sound.
When I was proposed to collaborate with the two online magazines (of which I write below) to write about music I immediately thought and proposed to write between categories starting from the acoustic dimension: sound first. Music comes as a consequence and has a primary and leading role; John Cage taught us that all sounds are music, only to want and know how to listen to them as such.
I take as my starting point the lovely saying “Beauty is in the eye of who is watching” and I make a variation to my benefit: “Music is in the ears of the listener“.
Online Journal of Art and Cultural Commentary TAS is mainly involved in contemporary art with a critical approach, directed by the visual artist and art critic Deanna Sirlin, in collaboration with her husband Philip Auslander, Professor at School of Literature, Media, and Communication of Atlanta Georgia Tech University.
Giuseppe Gavazza is an active contributor to the Sounds and music section.
Some articles to discover:
Musik Paik , November 2019, is about Nam June Paik and his relationship with music.
Sonorous Architecture, October 2010 follows the not clearly attributed incipit “Talking about music is like dancing about architecture”.
Pictures of an Exhibition: Listen to the show, November 2007, intervention where I inaugurated the practice of a visit and commentary of visual art exhibition as a sound walk.
Terpress periodico di informazione socio culturale (Italiano). It actively collaborates to this section “Ears Wide Shut”. He has published more then 100 pieces, he suggests to read this two former posts for example.
Passage a Port Bou, hommage a Walter Benjamin tra frammenti, memorie, dialoghi, suoni e flânerie. October 2017.
On September 26, 1940 in Port Bou, a Catalan village by the sea on the border with France, Walter Benjamin, fleeing Nazism, committed suicide: at night, accompanied by a passeur, he walked across the border in the hope of reaching Portugal and embarking for America.
At the beginning of the 90s Dani Karavan was commissioned to create a memorial, next to the small cemetery where the great German philosopher was buried; it is a splendid work that is worth the visit. Since 2015 I am part of a group of philosophers, architects, writers, sociologists, artists, students who meet every two years, in early autumn, in Port Bou to talk and exchange experiences. At the end of September 2017, in the context of the place and the situation, I created some musical and sound testimonies in the name of movement: flanêrie, voyage, escape.
Un anno di suoni. 2010. A sonorous calendar that proposes a year in a 365 seconds long sound, respecting exactly the rhythmic ratios from seconds to months.
But his current contribution is particularly topical. He lives in Turin and since the beginning of the confinement, on 2020 March 10 in Italy, he has been recording daily 25 minutes to 1 hour walks. The recordings all start in his home listening Rai RadioTre and come back there turn on the radio as a ritual. He documents the changes in the sound ambience of the places, keeps track of the routes taken via a geotraking smartphone app. This testimony is extremely valuable at a time when city daily life is totally disrupted.
Ambiances in the time of COVID19
I decided to borrow from Alberto Savinio the title “I listen to your heart, city” (Ville, j’écoute ton cœur) for this cycle of urban recordings. The few walks I have taken these days have been made “augmenting” listening with my digital audio recorder and binaural microphones: the audio files are available at Aporee where they appear tagged to a terrestrial map. Since Tuesday 10th March, the day of the emergency measures due to COVID19, every day I made recordings of my walks (the self-certification sheet in my pocket: it’s an exit due to my work) but also from my terrace in the central district of San Salvario in Turin. To each audio file I associated a GPS tracker file that stores the movement made. On the page of each of my files on Aporee you can find links to GPS track files (kmz, kml, gpx formats) that can be opened by Google Earth or other programs and web pages. My contribution is part of a wider chapter that Aporee dedicates to the sounds collected in the world during the COVID-19 confinement: https://aporee.org/maps/work/projects.php?project=corona
On this blog page G. Gavazza makes a daily update with general information in Italian, French and English. He often records sounds in the same places at different times: in these cases the same page displays a list of several sounds that you can listen to by opening the information page and scrolling through the list with the details to choose the sound you want to listen to.
Pour citer ce billet : Giuseppe Gavazza. I listen to your heart, city. Torino during COVID19. Le Cresson Veille et Recherche…mise en ligne le 05 mai 2020. Disponible sur :https://lcv.hypotheses.org/16389