Dada in Italia – Venice and Sardinia
For the second stage of our journey, we cross the Swiss border and head into Italy to hear four Dada-inspired pieces – three from Venice, and one from Sardinia.
Dead languages in Campo San Maurizio
First up is our own contribution to the project. The Mercatino di San Maurizio is an antiques market buzzing with life and with an uncharacteristically high number of local voices speaking in Venetian dialect (it’s off the well-worn Venice tourist track).
For the reimagined version, we’ve used linguistic overpainting to layer extinct and dead languages, as if we are hearing the ghosts of those who spoke long-dead and recently-dead languages wandering around the market, buying and selling in their own past. Languages you can hear in among the Italian include Old Church Slavonic, Ubykh, Ora, Bo, Manx (not technically extinct yet!) and ancient Assyrian.
140 poem in Sardinia
Next is Stephen Shiell’s piece taken from the Festa di Maria celebrations in Sardinia, titled ‘140 Poem’:
“I took my inspiration from Hugo Ball’s sound poem practice, and the number 100. I selected a field recording of a religious festival in Sardinia, with fireworks and a dog barking.
By splicing the field recording into its abstract parts and reconfiguring it I have evoked a surrealist version of god, and, by chance, reimagined the chant to Saint Maria into a chant for ‘dada’. I edited my field recording into 10 parts, then I edited each part into a 1 second clip, leaving me with 10 seconds of audio.
Next I multiplied each clip by 10, giving me 100 clips. These were then collaged across ten tracks and sequenced to play continuously. I listened for the perfect sequence and recorded the final 100 seconds – 1 minute 40, hence the title ‘140 poem’.”
CanShell (Venice to Lido ferry)
Anna Stereopoulou, a new contributor from Athens, has taken Maria Ponce’s recording and created a new
“The only audio material the specific composition consists of, is the above mentioned sound, as used both in its original form (selected excerpts) and in various technically modified forms, such as Modulation, Process (Reverse, Pitch Shift, Stretch, etc.), EQ, various Filters and Effects (Delay, Chopper, etc.).
“The specific sound manipulations are inspired by Dada techniques [Chance, Collage /(photo)Montage, (imitation of) Automatism, and other], as well as on the Dadaists’ Manifesto quote “To be against this manifesto is to be a Dadaist!” [Huelsenbeck, Richard (1892-1974); ‘En Avant Dada’ article, 1920] .
“As a movement of protest, Dadaism triggers the need to express one of the characteristics of our times, during which we tend to loose our ability to -consciously- listen to, or create Sound, in comparison to the amount of Image information we receive on a daily basis.
“Within CanShell, the “anti” element is used in many forms; sound creation based on Image (Text on graphic score attached); demolition ↔ reform of the word “Dada”; cancellation /rejection of R. Huelsenbeck’s quote – Against the “against” [double Strike-Through (grammar)].
“These hints are also found within the title, CanShell [Cancel; Qualities (Can-) / Imprisonment (within a Can-) of a Shell (Sound)], amongst other allusions, memories and dreams, as ‘woken-up’ by the location of the Field Recording used in the composition.”
Our final stop is the Rialto market in Venice at closing time, as heard by Jose Sonosfera, who writes:
“I used three base recordings from which I chose the words in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese languages; the pieces were cut and the sounds from words of these three languages assembled with each other, with no particular order, I made a “collage” of those sounds; the next step was cut all the silence and apply sound effects.”