Yesterday was a very full day in Clastic residency which I feel has brought us even closer.
We started the morning with Heynaz workshop on sound. This was amazing because none of us had done anything like it before so we all jumped on board straightaway. First they took us on a tour around the streets of Alice listening through their recorder to the surrounding sounds. As soon as we understood how it worked we started looking for sounds to record: a bicycle passing by, the buzzing of the bees, a stick against a fence, dry leaves breaking beneath our feet… A whole universe was opening before our eyes (or, rather, ears) which we had never before realised was there. The most simple things, like a garage door closing or a ball rolling down the street became extremely exciting. After learning how to do it, we went into couples to find three environments (any small space) to feel, connect with and explore its sounds. We had to come up with a single hit (a clear, short sound), a composition (rythmic or otherwise from the combination of sounds), our own voice and a movement that the place inspired.
For the second part of the workshop we went back to space which we had reconfigured with a projector and a table full of computers in the middle. Kate and Adrian taught as the basics of Audacity and how to modify and layer some of the sounds we had recorded with it. To finish, we warmed up our bodies and started remembering with our bodies the sensations, movements, words and sounds that the environments had inspired in us. At the same time, Adrian composed a sound base from our recordings, mainly a streched out sound of a donkey. At the end of the workshop I had the feeling of having glimpsed the very beginning of a whole universe of sound and I think I speak for everyone when I say it felt too short.
During the lunch break we divided in groups for cooking and going around the valley to put of posters of the performance.
In the afternoon we had our fourth creative session, this time divided into two big groups. The first group, in which I was in, started from the material we already had and tried to find a guiding thread among some of our favourite scenes. We also explored some movement and sound that could work as a transition in the final performance. The second group, on the other hand, created a completely new material that had the public spread out among the performers. There was a lot of talking and discussing. The day of the performance is getting closer and we have to start narrowing down the themes we’re going to work on and the scenes or images we want to present. Managing a group of 15 people coming from completely different artistic backgrounds is a challenge but I’m sure the results will pay out.
After the creative session we had a very special evening. The local music band of Alice Superiore, who shares the space with Biloura, had offered themselves to come to play and eat with us. They were arriving only at 9pm so we had a lot of free time for aperitivo, ice creams and going back to swim in the river.
The evening was a total success. The band arrived at 9 pm and we introduced each other, with a bit of help of those of us bilingual who acted as interpreters. The band played well into the night all sorts of traditional piemontese songs and we all improvised our dances inside a circle. Our own musicians, Angie and Aude, also made their own contribution with the violin and the accordion. Then others started to contribute their own traditional songs, sung a cappella. There was plenty of wine and later pasta al forno that the band had ordered for us.
We ate, talked, drank, sung and above all danced, danced and danced until exhaustion. It was a beautiful artistic and human exchange between the people of the village that hosts us and their musical heritage on the one hand; and on the other hand the heritage of all of our artists from around Europe. A perfect lesson for all of us about sharing, heritage and the joy of culture.