Timoteo Carbone: “The functions of an abandoned building are unclear”

Sounds for an Abandoned Space II is a multimedia work by Italian composer Timoteo Carbone and Italian artist Federico Zurani. Musical and visual elements form an imaginary space re-created from old warehouses, overgrown country houses, dilapidated apartment buildings and other abandoned places throughout Italy. We asked Timoteo about abandoned buildings, his collaboration with Zurani and what the audience can expect on September 18.

How did you create ‘Sounds for an Abandoned Space II’?
The project is part of a series of big and adventurous multimedia works which explore structures of “non finito” (unfinished) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non_finito). This has been a central interest in my art throughout the years. I come back to this exploration periodically with a certain sense of gravity. The series Sounds in an Abandoned Space, and specially this second iteration I will be presenting at the festival, raises questions on structures and dimensions that challenge and define my identity as a composer.

The soundworld of the piece was created in 2019. It is rendered through the use of second hand, time-worn and modified musical instruments and a layering of reverb modules. The instrumentation is harmonium, viola octet, accordion, toy accordion, baritone quartet and percussions. All the parts were recorded by myself while exploring with extended techniques, searching for fragile, breaking sounds, alternative tunings and raw expression.

How did your collaboration with Federico Zurani come to be?
During my stay in Italy last year I started collaborating with Federico Zurani, a very talented painter and visual artist. We spent two weeks working together on Rupestri, a multimedia installation that will be presented in October, inside an abandoned monastery in the centre of Genova.
While working together we came to the realisation that we shared similar questions on art, on structures and spaces. Zurani has developed the visuals for Sounds in an Abandoned Space II, creating a hybrid, transient world of digitally constructed environments, animations and real images.

Where does your fascination with abandoned buildings and places come from?
The functions of an abandoned building are unclear, in some cases its purpose is solely emptiness. The buildings are overgrown with weeds and fungi. They are a living and active element of retardation and demobilisation. An abandoned space finds an equilibrium in a web of natural forces and time, absorbing and digesting impositions.
Through this process the shapes, the spaces, its structure becomes unfinished or “non finito”. Some elements may start in one dimension and end up in another, disappearing through our eyes. To me, the abandoned space is a symbol of hope and freedom.

What would you like the audience to take away from your performance?
What we would like to share with the audience is the sensation of being in an abandoned space. Being part of a performance where its structures and elements emerge as weeds, moulds and fungi grow inside an abandoned space. An unstable mise en scène, formed by fragile and rough musical and visual elements will surround the audience.

Sounds for an Abandoned Space II by Italian composer Timoteo Carbone and Italian artist Federico Zurani, will be performed in Theater aan het Spui on September 18 as part of the afternoon program. Buy tickets.

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