Sound In Stone: Day 0

Sunday 26th February 2023

Day Zero has arrived. A fresh start or perhaps a new cycle in a waveform? Over the next ten days, we anticipate our final voyage to the Murgia region as we conclude our research on extraction, and our excitement for this return is palpable on the airplane. We don’t like to fly, not only for the damage it does to the collective body of the earth, but for the strange disconnection to time and space that occurs. It will be by far the greatest distance we will travel in these ten days, yet we barely register it. It’s like changing channels. Cold wastelands of Berlin. -Flick-. Green, largely treeless pastures of the Murgia, which was so arid the last times we visited.

Lithophone from Vito Maiullari

On this particular journey, our focus will be on the resonant and sonic potential of stones. We want to explore a series of geological rock formations and make a series of field recordings of the stones themselves. We want to learn to make musical instruments from stones, and discern the intersections of the communities who have built ancient relationships with the rock. With these sonic ‘imprints’, we intend to create audio/visual artworks and physical/performative interventions. In addition to illustrating the musical universes that can be created from stone, the a/v works will explore the relationship of the human self to time; in particular the ways in which the seemingly linear passage of time creates tension with lived human realities.

We are also interested in the sentient nature of stone, the way it “moves” and “speaks,” a fascination that was inspired by a visit years earlier to the studio of artist Vito Maiullari. Surrounded by his lithophones, chimes and girating sculptures, Vito broke a stone in half and asked us to lick the powder inside. He said, “You have just tasted 4 million years; you have tasted time”.

Dimora Cagnazzi, a residency space in Alta Mura

And we want to taste it again.

We arrive in Naples in the late evening, and after a little trouble at the car rental we get on the road after 10pm. We drive through the night, stopping for dinner and again for supper, arriving close to 4.00 at the old manor house which was now a kind of community center and residency space called Dimora Cagnazzi.

There is some misunderstanding about our arrival, but after waiting for about twenty minutes by a locked gate, our old friend Donato Laborante, arrives and allows us in. Even at this cruel midnight hour, Antonio, a very kind worker who maintains the house, takes the time to light a fire for us in a fireplace carved into the wall, made, of course, from stone.