ARTISTIC RESIDENCY and SOUND ART EXHIBITION Taranto - Berlin 2013/2014
Correnti Seduttive (Seductive Currents) is a sound art, interactive performance and audio-visual art project,
involving a group of internationally renowned artists living in Berlin: producer, curator and visual artist Wendelin Büchler;
field recordist and "sonic journalism" pioneer Peter Cusack; Taranto born sound artist, vocalist and performer Alessandra Eramo -
initiator of the project; composer, visual and sound artist Georg Klein; performer and video artist Steffi Weismann.
During the autumn of 2013 the artists were invited to participate in a three week-residency at the Aragonese Castle on
Taranto Vecchia Island. They explored the territory of Taranto as "foreign" artists, bringing their own perspective and creating
their own impressions to build anthropology of the sound of Taranto.
From 1st until 4th of March 2014 the artists' works have been shown in an exhibition in Taranto at the Palazzo Galeota and several interventions in Taranto's urban spaces.
The Taranto-born artist Alessandra Eramo initiated the project, arranged the cooperation with Taranto and put
together the group of artists involved. Both the project and the exhibition take the dichotomy of Beauty/Danger in Taranto as their theme.
The place of research is Taranto, the city of two seas, once known as the pearl of the Ionian Sea and Magna Grecia.
Today Taranto is a major centre of the European steel industry and a NATO base; a place of social tension, high emigration
and disastrous environmental problems with one of the highest industrial disease rates in Western Europe.
In July 2012 the local prosecutor and judge Patrizia Todisco ordered the partial closure of ILVA - Taranto's steel plant -
because of the serious health problems that its pollution causes.
The closure dramatically and suddenly brought the underlying conflict of interests between health and employment
in the city out into the open. For the first time the majority of Tarentinians broke their silence and, in huge numbers,
took part in unprecedented demonstrations. In an atmosphere close to civil war they became aware of their rights,
which had been denied in the name of profit and the economy. These actions and the 'work versus health' dilemma at
their root have created a media storm, nationally and worldwide, that still continues today.
The Tarentinian dilemma seems to be following a path as inevitable as that of a Greek tragedy. Taranto's
circumstances clearly demonstrate the limits of European capitalism but, so far, little has changed on the ground.
The steel plant is still working and the pollution continues. However the media boom has radically altered the way
that Tarentinians perceive themselves and their current situation. These changes are important, not just locally,
but as indications of Western society evolving new goals, as yet unclear.
Artists have always taken on the fundamental task of speaking for their times, observing and narrating the taboos, dreams, beauty, conflicts and hopes of their own societies by creating works of art. Taranto presents a 'seductive scenario', not only for its unique light, crystal clear sea and spectacular coastline, but also for its industrial architecture, Naval walls, the devastation of the surrounding countryside and the neglect of 2000 years of ancient culture.
Taranto is simultaneously a place of great beauty and serious danger. It is this dichotomy that makes it such a special place. The project asks, "How do the human, visual and sonic landscape of Taranto present themselves today" and "Which aspects and features of the Beauty/Danger dichotomy can be illuminated through observation and research in the field?"
(...) A current, whether it be artistic, political, or in fashion, always carries the risk of seduction that is pursued without serious question. The belief in perpetual economic growth and economic progress that loses sight of people's real needs is one of these currents. Taranto's "Mar Piccolo" (Little Sea) is continually fed by currents of freshwater from below. They create the unique conditions for its world famous mussel industry that for centuries has been the region's basic source of prosperity. In recent decades, these natural currents have been sacrificed to the current of industrialisation. The tragic results of this choice are now obvious to anyone who wants to see and listen. An artistic approach to the situation in Taranto is a very necessary perspective and "Correnti Seduttive" offers its contribution in collaboration with the local people who have so generously given their time, knowledge and energy."
- Alessandra Eramo -
In contrast to short-lived and sensationalist reports that Taranto was overwhelmed in the last two years, this international art project takes up the deep desire for change in the city. Through the interactive artistic works, Taranto has experienced another transformation. The project is of significance not only because it creates a link between Taranto and Berlin, but for collaborations at local level with the people active in Taranto's growing cultural life.
INTERACTIVE SOUND ART-EXHIBITION IN THE URBAN SPACE OF TARANTO
UNIVERSITY SYMPOSIUM "Resonances Taranto/Berlin. Which Interactions, What Consequences?":
To contextualise the program the Symposium "Resonances Berlin / Taranto. Which Interactions, What Consequences?"
has been held at the University of Bari "Aldo Moro" - Taranto Campus c/o ex Caserma Rossarol, Chiesetta San Francesco - on Monday 3rd March 2014.
The Symposium aimed to reflect on the relationship between the artists and sounds from industrialized
places and about the interactions of the artists with the cultural associations like "Le Sciaje" and "The Howlers Taranto" in the city.
Peter Cusack: "Sounds from Dangerous Places" - Lecture
"ROARS_BANGS_BOOMS Musica futurista. The Art of Noises. From Luigi Russolo's manifesto to industrial soundscapes of today" - Lecture/Performance
Silvia Naccarati (Art historian) and Angelo Cannata (Cultural Association Le Sciaje) and "Correnti Seduttive" artists:
"Possible interactions between art and urban space" - Lecture followed by an open discussion with the audience