by Kristin Frauenhoffer
The two-meter cone is impossible to miss. Made entirely of wood, painted red, it lies on the ground and invites you to crawl inside and linger. When you sit inside, you hear sounds. They are sounds of the forest, rustling of leaves, birds calling. If you close your eyes, you are immediately in nature and experience its calming effect. At the same time, the city rages around you. The artwork is called Micromegàsuoni, which translated means „micromega sounds“. It was created by the Italian artist collective „IPER collettivo“. It is intended to create a connection between the hectic city and the quiet nature.
In the pandemic, many people rediscovered the nature around them
The starting point for the artwork was the Corona pandemic, says Lorenzo Romaniello, one of the artists. „There was an artist competition in 2021 that we participated in. In it, we were asked to approach the question of how the pandemic changed our daily lives“, Lorenzo continues. He and the other members of the IPER collettivo had observed that many people in Italy were drawn to the countryside.
Indeed, due to very strict contact restrictions, it was no longer possible to move freely in the city. And so many people rediscovered the green spaces around the city, going to the nearby forest or nature reserves that they had not visited for a long time. Most of us know this phenomenon, that we don’t know our immediate area as well as, for example, places we go on vacation. And then when we can’t go on vacation, we make trips to the surrounding area.
Micromegàsuoni: Forest sound amplifier
This development, that people were again spending more time in nature, was of course positive. But the question Lorenzo and his fellow artists asked themselves was: How can this connection to nature be maintained even after the strict restrictions? How to convey to city dwellers how precious nature is, with its forests, meadows and moors, and that it must be protected? „In the beginning, we had a design problem. We asked ourselves how we could effectively communicate what you experience in the forest“, explains Marco Conti, who is also part of the artist collective.
This was soon followed by the idea of building a giant megaphone that would reproduce the sounds of the forest and even amplify them. Hence the name: Micromegàsuoni. The rather quiet, „small“(micro) sounds of the forest, compared to the city, are amplified (mega) by the oversized cone shaped like a megaphone and transported to the city via sound (suoni). As if the forest were calling out: „Hello, I’m here, please don’t forget me!“
Enjoy a moment of tranquility and „dive“ into the woods
But the work of art is not limited to one installation, but consists of a total of two huge cones. The second one stands in the forest. It is where the sounds that the „city cone“ replays are recorded. „The two contrasting places where the installations are set up create a connection between nature and the city.
The cone in the city is like a portal through which the estranged forest life is transferred to a more familiar environment to strengthen a relationship that has finally been rediscovered,“ Lorenzo explains. And the forest cone can be used as a temporary shelter or simply for a short break while enjoying the forest in Dolby Surround. Because of its shape, the cone amplifies all ambient sounds. And the city cone, in turn, allows stressed city people to pause, „dive“ into the forest and enjoy a moment of peace protected from the loud noises of the street.
The installation could be used in the context of sound therapy
Micromegàsuoni has been realised following the selection for the international call “SUPERBLAST” (May – September 2021) organised by NAM-Not a Museum. For a while, the artwork was placed in the courtyard of the artist´s house „Manifattura Tabacchi“, where the members of the collective Lorenzo Romaniello, Marco Conti, Giulia Landini and Lorenzo Vacirca had an artist residency in 2021. The other cone was located in a forest near Perugia.
Now the city cone is supposed to travel. At least if the wishes of the IPER collettivo artists are to be fulfilled. „We could imagine using our installation for therapeutic purposes and placing it in centers where sound therapy is done, for example,“ Marco explains. And it would also be imaginable to use the artwork as a template for the development of a somewhat more handy product for sound therapy. As an artistic work, however, the cone is to wander. The four artists do not yet know when that will happen.
Meanwhile, they are embarking on new projects. The collective is committed to integrating three elements into all of their projects: recycled materials (even the wood used to make the cones is sustainably produced), people, and public spaces. The objective of all their projects, they say, is to get people to help shape the public places in which they live.
You can find more about the artist collective IPER collettivo on their website.
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