Picking up good vibrations
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Licia Galizia working on one of her "Adaptive Volumes" pieces that primarily depend on interaction with the audience
Musica in forma, or music in forms, is one of the latest exhibitions at the Cairo Opera House. The one theme exhibition, which opened last week by Minister of culture Farouk hosni and is sponsored by the Italian Cultural Centre, is an adaptive music and plastic art installation that consists of one huge modular work based on the innovative Planephone technology developed in Rome.
"Planephones are vibrating systems consisting of panels of various materials including wood, copper and iron, which diffuse the sound with characteristics that depend on the structure of the material, and on the alignment and curvature of the surfaces," the exhibition's artistic coordinator Laura Bianchini, told Al-Ahram Weekly an hour before the inauguration.
The unique work is performed by two talented Italians, composer Michelangelo Lupone and visual artist Licia Galizia. This is the third work in a series of similar works performed by the two artists under the title Adaptive Volumes.
"Adaptive Volumes are a step further in the field of post modern art with respect to interaction with the viewers of art works, as the works are able to evolve exactly as any living organism," Bianchini said. "These volumes can change and learn from interaction with the public." The work is capable of interacting with the public and can also be made to suit environmental conditions."
The dimensions of the work at ground level and on the wall are 4.5X2.5 metres. The work is performed in grey and white: the dominant whiteness makes the structure highly imposing. The white background is an inspiration of the infinity, or, you might say, a vast area where you can play, dream or imagine whatever comes to mind. When the viewer touches any of the plates, or changes its position, the work reacts with sound and movement. The work combines many arts together: music, visual art and architecture, forming a new trend now growing in Italy.
"The inspiration comes from the white wall, and the semicircles coming from the wall give a free chance for audience to imagine and interact with an imaginative world," Galizia says.
Italian critic Franco Speroni commented on the ground- breaking installation. "The work performed by Galizia and Lupone is an important example of the post-human scenario, as both produce work that allows the aesthetic experience to take the form of change, hybridisation in action," he says.
"The scientific research which is the basis of this work is very innovative," Bianchini says.
The research is supported by the Ministry of the University and Research in Italy. "This kind of research was developed at the end of the 1980s, but it was not until 2004 that the two artists met later and together started to develop art and music installations that integrate music with plastic form," Bianchini says. The research was developed by a team of physicians, artists, architects and musicologists. According to Bianchini, this innovative installation gives space for the audience to interact with art, thus creating in the audience a desire to change.
"We believe that interaction among different kinds of arts is important for human perception, which is complex by its nature. In our daily life we interact with all our senses. So a work of art should also reflect this, and gives a possibility for people to visualise present and future moments," Bianchini told the Weekly.
For Galizia, the desired change is not only limited to the relationship between the audience and their own environment, but also between the audience and art itself.
Asked about her expectation of the impact of the installation -- which is bizarre to say the least -- on the Egyptian audience, Galizia said people seemed to be impressed by the work. "I hope the audience here will interact and enjoy the new artistic approach," she said.
The work currently on show at the Opera House was first commissioned by the Italian Institute of Culture in Belgrade, where it was exhibited in 2008.
Another project is now underway to create a permanent work to be exhibited in a public open air space in L'Acquila, the Italian city that was struck by an earthquake last year.