Tag Archive: venice

Venice Vaporetti


To get to the Art Biennale of Venice the way to go is usually by a waterbus, the so called vaporetto. The vaporetto station at Biennale is particularly noisy as one section of this sound recording mix can bear witness. The swimming stations are connected to the waterfront with metal bridges that swing up and down with the waves coming in, causing high screaking sounds. Vaporetti themselves make fascinating sounds when they are tied together in rows of 5 or 6 boats at night time. They bump into each other with the waves and the deep tones of this bumbing can be heard occasionally when strolling down the promenade of Riva degli Schiavoni from Arsenale back to Piazza San Marco at late hours. I even sneaked onto the resting boats to capture some of the sounds featured in this little collage of vaporetti noises. The ropes with which the boats are moored together produce a rhythmical texture that translates the incoming waves into a sonic pattern that is quite appealing. To hear a more tranquile version of vaporetti sounds, also check the beautiful recordings of Enrico Coniglio at touch radio that he did not far from where I recorded.


Ismael Ivo’s latest dance choreography „the waste land“ was premiered in Venice  on 20th June 2009. The first two performances were a great success and the Biennale scheduled two extra performances on 29th and 30th June. The choreography lasts for about an hour and is devided in two halfs marked by the compositions of mine and Igor Stravinskys „Sacre du Printemps“. During the first half the dancers turn their backs to the audience and move separated from each other in tight borders of squares described by the light. The bodies appear to be twitching, lonely parts of flesh exposed to archaic natural forces, symbolized by the ice and fire sounds of mine. After half an hour the dancers step in front of the stage and for the first time the audience can see their faces. In this moment the first notes of Stravinskys „Sacre“ come in to great effect representing the beginning of civilization and the rise of culture that finally formed out of a long evolutionary process as characterized in the first half of the choreography. Ismael then wisely avoids to illustrate each musical nuance of Stravinskys legendary piece, the audience is given the chance to re-experience the physical strength and power of the composition after half an hour of concrete sounds and so do the dancers who linger on the rim of the stage with closed eyes like newborn babies, the gummed up eyes trying to get attuned to the bright light. From this point on the choreography speeds up and becomes more and more complex, typical conflicts of human relationships are suggested, pairs and groups build, break up and re-build in new configurations. The peak of the piece is an oil fountain that bathes the dancers in black muddy liquid in which the bodies celebrate their last animistic feast.

The Touch Radio series presents a recording of Enrico Coniglio made in the Venice lagoon on 29th april 2008 at 21:00 in a night-depot of boats of the public transport service at “Riva dei Schiavoni”, not far from San Marco square. One can hear the water lapping and the boats bumping in each other making for a peaceful but nevertheless slightly eerie atmosphere. Listen here.