In Between

Italian artist Fabio Perletta explores the aesthetic and discursive dimension of sound in its micro scale. In addition to publishing his compositions on record labels such as Line, Farmacia901 or Dragon’s Eye, Perletta also formalizes his work through sculptural devices and immersive installations. Inspired by quantum physics but also by Zen thinking and aesthetics, Perletta’s creations examine the notion of presence (or absence) of sound while showing their poetic dimension and affective capacity.

In the framework of Eufònic festival’s 2017 edition, Perletta presents “In Between”, an installation that explores the materiality, dynamics and sculptural possibilities of rice, one of the most emblematic raw materials of the Delta de l’Ebre region. Stacked into three small knolls on the first floor of Ulldecona’s old oil-mill, the rice rests on the membranes of three loudspeakers. Through these, the frequencies corresponding to the Schumann Resonance are emitted. The Schumann Resonance is a phenomenon consisting of a series of peaks in the low frequency band (ELF) of [the] Earth’s electromagnetic spectrum.

Trapped between the Earth’s surface and the ionosphere (located between 90 and 500 kilometers in height) these frequencies (approximately 7.83, 14.1 and 20.3 hertz) owe their name to their discoverer, Winfried Otto Schumann. Before Schumann, however, Nikola Tesla predicted their existence and incorporated them into his visionary model for the transmission of energy and wireless communications. Obtained in real time through the Marconian antenna of the IK1QFK monitoring station (located in Cumiana, northwest of Italy), the frequencies make the speakers vibrate, transferring this mechanical movement to the rice grains under which they are hidden.

The result is an installation of extreme subtlety. Being patient and paying close attention through all our senses are the only indications to experience the work. That’s why visitors are invited to touch the rice (delicately, please!) and feel the vibration of the Schumann Resonance in the palm of their hand. The vibration is not continuous but only present when sudden peaks in the frequencies are captured in real time by the antenna and the signal is sent over the Internet. We insist: patience and attention are crucial.

“In Between” exemplifies exceptionally the slogan that Perletta uses to describe good part of his work: “the beauty of smallness”. The installation offers an experience halfway between materiality and immateriality, between stillness and movement, between silence and such a small sonority that it is only perceptible through the skin of our hands. Despite its subtlety, however, the work also suggests a global and planetary scale, disclosing an extraordinary phenomenon that occurs between the Earth’s surface and the ionosphere, between the land where rice grows and the sky.

Note: We appreciate the generous and disinterested collaboration of Renato Romero from the IK1QFK monitoring station

Arnau Horta

Materials 3 speakers, rice, laptop with custom software
Dimension variable
Duration variable
Festival Eufònic Urbà
Place Arts Santa Mònica, Barcelona (ES)
Date February 2—18, 2018
Curator Arnau Horta

Festival Eufònic Festival
Place Old Mill, Ulldecona (ES)
Date August 27 — September 11, 2017
Curator Arnau Horta