GEOGRAPHY IN CONTRACTION - NYC'S STAGE
“Geography in contraction” is an itinerant project of the Italian artist Stefano Canto, that will be presented in different cities with a high density of building development, all around the world. Each stages is composed by 2 parts: a preparatory phase, in which the artist starts to explore the territory, recording environmental sounds and picking up natural elements such as leaves, sand, pieces of wood, plumes (…); and a second public phase in which, during a short performance, he uses all the collected elements and the rumours for creating a concrete cube, that is a kind of territorial data archive.
Every block of cement and its corresponding audio constitute a geographical sampling, a fossil testifying the changing of natural spaces and urban zones, laying the foundation of a possible futuristic archaeology. At the end of the project, all the concrete cubes and their audio, which represent a contracted geography of the world, will be showcased in a solo exhibition summarizing all stages performed worldwide.
What is immediately clear since one starts a New York’s territory exploration is that the natural landscapes are precisely circumscribed into the urban plan and completely functional to citizens needs. New York with its metropolitan area is the largest conurbation in United States and one of the most densely populated cities in North America. Characterized by a scarce availability of land, that is due to its coastal position, at the meeting of the Hudson River and the Atlantic Ocean, the New York's geography is an important contributing factor in generating the phenomenon of urban crowding. Environmental issues are chiefly concerned with managing population’s density, that is why, unlike the previous phases, the NYC’s stage of Geography in contraction will be devoted to the human geography.
In 1983, for the Metropolis series initiated by Westdeutscher Rundfunk, the American artist and writer Richard Kostelanetz realized a complex multilayered audio portrait of New York based upon his field recordings of sounds unique to the city. Though composed initially for radio broadcast, this audio portrait of New York City can be heard as a complex acoustic experience in live situations. Even if it was not in Kostelanetz’s intention, making his resounding portrait of the city the artist created a great auditive synthesis of New York’s human geography and Stefano Canto will use this exceptional sampling of city’s voices to realize a block of cement that will also contain different kind of human traces picked up all around the territory. 30 years after its first broadcasting, people attending the performance will have the possibilities of hearing the Richard Kostelanetz’s audio work. They also became part of the final recording process joining their voices to the sounds of New York City Oratorio and to the noises of concrete pastry draining into the cubic formwork.
The concrete cube will be a spatial and a temporal archive, at same time, leading the process of synthesis to its extreme consequences: cancelation of pluralities, dialectics ending and silence.
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