The syndrome of Griselda, or the procession of the Ship

2017, Site-specific Installation

A co-production of Art.ur and Overtoon, with the support of Flanders State of the Art

Layers of variable sound constellations: 

2-channel Long Range Acoustic Devices, 

8-channel sound field with 8 camouflaged speakers. 

Canvas painting, 5 cinema chairs (row).

The work is site-specific for the Castle of Saluzzo, Italy. Inspired by an enigmatic construction that resembles a ship and its associations with the surrounding landscape - soundscape, and historical - utopian context.​

The restoration project of the Castle (2003-2004) held by the architect Marco Dezzi Bardeschi, who integrated the technical premises of building a metal structure at the backside yard. The title on the architect’s notes and drawings “Il nuovo blocco degli impianti: Fitzcarraldo sulla collina” (The new block: Fitzcarraldo on the hill) indicates that the construction was dedicated to the homonymous character drawn from Werner Herzog’s film (1982). Rubber baron Fitzcarraldo, led by the utopian will to carry a massive steamship over a steep hill to the heart of the Amazon Forest for realizing his dream of building an opera house and to import a company of singers headed by the Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873 -1921), whose records Fitzcarraldo plays during the voyage on RCA's first Victrola.

In the work, the part of this construction is immersed into a visionary and acoustic dimension, which combines a visible level and an underwater world, or underworld.

On a regular basis, in conjunction with the chimes of the bells of the saluzzese churches, a ship horn blast announces the arrival or departure of the ship, which for the rest of the time-periodic creaky sounds are floating with a passage of Caruso’s singing. A row of cinema chairs facing the mulberry garden indicates the “sea” & listen to spot. At the entrance to the garden, a painting (gonfalon) of two fishes tied together with a ribbon, refers to the emblem of the Cavassa family, vicars of the marquisate of Saluzzo, to the symbol of the Stemma of Saluzzo, and also associated with the myth of Aphrodite and Eros. The fishes (pisces) introduce the imaginary underwater world while tying together the strong will of Fitzcarraldo with the patience will of Griselda, a young peasant woman whose loyalty is tested by Gualtiery, the Marquis of Saluzzo, in a series of cruel torments that recall the Biblical book of Job (Decameron, 10th day/10th tale, Giovanni Boccaccio), a tale also significant for marking a point, where repetition syndrome becomes full-blown counterfeit consciousness. The oral story of Griselda is spoken under the trees, composed as a constellation around Caruso’s powerful scream in an endless repetition.

PLAY IN, Castiglia, Piazza Castello, Saluzzo, Italy. 
(6 May 2017 - 25 June 2017)
Photos © Marco Sasia
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