Polyphonic Door (2015)
Site specific sound installation.
Sensor, software, sound card, amplifier, speakers, audio recording.
Site-specific installation for the exhibition contemporary locus 7 - Davide Bertocchi/Heimo Zobernig - Curated by Paola Tognon.
Porta Sant’Alessandro Bergamo, Italy.
Porta Sant’Alessandro is one of the four city gates entryways to the medieval heart of Bergamo Alta, and form a conspicuous urban system with the fortification Walls, contributing to the image of the town and its identity over time.
Construction works for the Sant’Alessandro Gate started around 1560, and required the Early-Christian basilica of Saint Alexander of Bergamo, the town’s Patron Saint, to be torn down. The artists have taken over the room in different, yet complementary ways.
Bertocchi interacts with the site relying on sound, connecting past and present, and the upper section – secret and silent – with the lower – busy and lively.
Polyphonic Door, title of the site-specific installation, is operated by a sensor. By crossing the lower section of the Gate, passersby and vehicles activates a digital audio system placed in the empty room upstairs. The sounds of this immaterial architecture originate from the organ of the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, its notes and chords recorded and selected to be played in the room and produce unexpected random tunes and themes. The artist recorded the actual cathedral organ (4000 pipes) sounds: chords, single notes and short phrases with different tonalities and registers.
At a metaphorical and practical level, Bertocchi’s work turns the mighty building – for centuries a crossroad of people, goods and water – into a huge, man-operated musical instrument. The life of the site actually depends on folks and cars crossing the vaults downstairs. The Gate becomes an inhabited and resonant architecture.
The large-scale installation by Heimo Zobernig takes control of the room with eleven independent modules made of Murano blown glass, a valuable material that is a reminder of the Venetian roots of the Porta Sant’Alessandro.
The work Untitled takes shape by playing with forms, lights and colours. Eleven large, ruby-red, hand-blown spheres connect the floor with the mighty trusses that support the hipped roof. The shapes resonate in precious glass and hues, resembling dimly lit lanterns evocative of the site’s history.
The essential artwork – a hanging, illuminated hand-made installation – presents its abstract and minimal set-up to visitors, and provides a classical dimension that breaks the room’s long horizontal lines.
Courtesy the artist and contemporary locus.
This project was supported by Marsèlleria, Milan.
Photo: Mario Albergati
two short videos by Marco Chiodi: