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The war against poverty in Zealandia

This piece from our Well-Being Cities project is based on a field recording from Zealandia, formerly known as the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary.

This is a protected natural area in Wellington, New Zealand, the first urban completely fenced ecosanctuary, where the biodiversity of 225 ha of forest is being restored. You can hear lots of cicadas and various birds including a Tūī in this recording by Richard Watts.

City version:

Cristina Marras reimagined this recording with her composition “The war against poverty”:

“I started from the idea that the organization of the city and its meeting spaces has a profound impact on society. So I collected the already existing examples of ‘hostile architecture’ taking them to the extreme, I imagined the worst possible scenario, where no type of aggregation is allowed if not linked to consumption. I took negativity to the extreme (the fight against poverty is won by physically eliminating the poor) and then, using a narrative device, a frame, I placed the ‘time of terror’ in the past, a time very different from the present presented as harmonious and inclusive.

“The selected field recording is as calm, relaxing, sweet and welcoming as you can think of, a stark contrast – also in terms of sound – to the first part of the podcast that I imagine set in a large hall. Outside is harmony, nature and happiness. A beating heart represents the beating heart of the city, of society.”

Memory version: