IL CIELO DI PIETRA w/ Duo Bottasso | audiovisual | 2021

“That was when the trap was sprung: beyond the mouth of the crater, the air vibrated continuously, or rather in a continuous manner that contained several discontinuous ways of vibrating. It was a sound that filled out, then faded, then increased in volume again, and in these modulations, it followed an invisible pattern that stretched out in time like a succession of full and empty intervals. Other vibrations were superimposed on these, which were sharp and well separated from one another, but they blended into a drone that sounded now sweet, now bitter. As they countered or accompanied the course of the deeper sound, they created a kind of sonorous circle or field or domain. My immediate instinct was to escape from that circle and return to the padded denseness, and I slid inside the crater. But in the same instant, Rdix had run up the precipice towards where the sound came from and, before I could hold her back, had gone beyond the mouth of the crater.” – Italo Calvino, COSMICOMICS

“Cielo di Pietra” is an odyssey between two worlds: the world of silence, depth, and darkness—the inner world—and the surface, the bustling Earth. It’s a topsy-turvy, fearless, and visionary journey of our Euridice, who is drawn from the depths of the earth to ascend to the surface and finally witness “the light.” However, our Euridice remains ensnared on the earth. Inspired by the Orpheus myth and upended by Calvino in his work “Stone Sky,” we embark on a quest for Euridice, that echo of silence from which everything is born, lost in the dense, vibrant, and enchanting world on the surface.

“Il Cielo di Pietra” is a musical, visual, and sonic performance crafted from archival footage from the realm of cinematic experimentation. The music engages in a dialogue with the images, and the images are shaped by the music and sound. The outcome is a journey where narration dissipates and then rediscovers itself within matter, sounds, déjà-vu images, and melodies perhaps already heard. This multifaceted and primordial material carries its own story, yet it already harbors potential interpretations and readings. The audience is never passive, much like the early cinema screenings where live music played, where a voiceover could suddenly interject, the film might “skip” or catch fire, and the nitrate film material itself took center stage while narration and music receded into the background. Thus, the film becomes the protagonist, the master of the stage.

“Il Cielo di Pietra” is an audiovisual performance created using archival footage from the field of cinematic experimentation, commissioned by the Swiss festival Alpentoene in 2019. The frames, all sourced from the EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam, were meticulously selected by Cosenude Media Projects from the works of directors such as Segundo de Chomon, Georges Méliès, JC Mol, who delved into colors, special effects, and the exploration of intricate details.

In homage to the early cinema screenings where live music accompanied the films, where a voiceover could interject, the film might “skip” or catch fire, and the nitrate film material itself could take precedence, this performance isn’t merely a live accompaniment of a movie. Instead, the visuals become the fourth element performing on the stage. The three artists composed the music and the show, amplifying the visionary approach of the early film directors; they manipulate the films using modern digital techniques and play with the degradation that time has wrought upon the film material.

“Duo Bottasso & Simone Sims Longo won the “Premio Loano per la musica tradizionale italiana” in 2019. <<Everything began with a button accordion and a violin, playing the traditional music of the Occitan valleys of Italy. The Duo Bottasso has grown, studied, and performed with musicians from all over the world, extending the sound of their instruments with electronics, until they met the sound designer Simone Sims Longo. If this is the folk music of the future, we’re looking forward to it.>> As a trio, they performed at MACRO – Museo Arte Contemporanea (Roma), Torino Fringe Festival, Festival Ethnos (Naples), Kalternpop (Bolzano), and Alpentoene (CH).”