Since 1997 we began to explore the world not only taking photographs with open eyes, but also recording sounds with open ears, feeling the need to carry out environmental acoustic experiences recorded in various places and various situations where we were travelling: popular markets, airports, subways, streets and squares, buses, trains, planes, cable cars, escalators, water and stone cascades, mines, woods, tropical thunderstorms, voices… 

At the time we collaborated with the Italian Foundation of Photography in Turin and building sound-photos (“foto-suoni”) to match a traditionally intended photo was an almost obligatory step. Photo-sounds for photo-graphs. Thus the idea of foto-musica con foto-suoni was born, in a memorable walk in Oslo’s Kontraskjæret Park in front of the Nobel Peace Center. And the first accomplished creation was the soundtrack (“sonorizzazione”) for the 8th International Biennial of Photography in Turin in 1999.

“Foto-musica con foto-suoni” is music that listens to the image in its depths: music of image in image, including the contextual sounds that are a living part of it! The image retains in its and our memory sounds that have a determining and essential semantic value. Thus, in the context of “foto-musica con foto-suoni”, contemporary classical music takes place in socially very alive contexts, through the sound reinforcement of public places, which harmonize in a coherent and non-invasive way with the demand and specifity of the context.

It could recall the idea of musique d’ameublement of the Socratic genius Erik Satie, or in other respects the musique concréte of Pierre Schaeffer or still better the soundscape composition of Raymond Murray Schafer and Barry Truax, but with more intense research poetry and memory will, in an infinite plurality of perspectives and possible social declinations. Protagonist: social memory and solidarity, where organized sounds convey messages beyond sound itself, without thereby weakening the artistic quality.

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A Brief History of Foto-Musica
from Museum Sonorizations to Soundwatching

From the premises that have seen the experimental sonorization of Mario Gabinio’s exhibition (Turin, GAM Gallery of Modern Art, 1997-8), to the sonorizations of the 8th and 9th International Photography Biennials (Palazzo Bricherasio, 1999-2001), to the music for the Ecomuseums in Bussoleno (2003) and Traversella (2004), to the sonorization of the Royal Venaria Palace with the “foto-suoni” of the renovation site (2004-5), to the four volumes of the research “New Museum Languages” (Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IV) in collaboration with Holden Art (2005-6), to the official presentations in the Italian Cultural Institutes of Belgrade, Los Angeles, New York and Warsaw (2005-12), to the publication of the text “The Sounds of Things. Poetics of the photo-sound between philosophy, and aesthetic and music” (Curci, 2011), the “Foto-suoni per Paraloup” (2013-15), the sonorizations of Milan Rašla’s picture exhibition at the Albertina Academy of Turin (2016) and those of the Gianduia Museum of the Istituto per i Beni Marionettistici e il Teatro Popolare in Grugliasco (2017) and Villa Tittoni Traversi in Desio for the Scalvini Museum and Silvana Castellucchio’s exhibition (2018), to the five “mandala for contemporary music” in collaboration with the Verdi Conservatory in Milan made at the Medieval Village of Turin, the Abbey of Vezzolano and the Soundscape Museum of Riva presso Chieri, the Cavour Castle in Santena (2018-20), up to dozens of performances of “Foto-Songs” (2017-20) realized by the Duo Alterno throughout Italy and in over twenty Foreign Countries… All of this documented by a rich archive of “foto-suoni” recorded on five continents and by about thirty CDs for sonorizations.

The most recent developments, especially from October 2019 to the present, have seen the “Foto-Musica” also engaged on the “Soundwatching”, for a conscious and musically responsible enjoyment of our soundscape and the “foto-suoni” that we can extract from it. “Soundwatching”, a neologism reminiscent of “Birdwatching”, is the ability to observe-listen-recognize the sounds of the landscape around us, with the goal of a greater social (and musical) sensitivity to the acoustic contexts that we ourselves contribute to create. “Walking soundwatching”, “travelling iridescent music” (in 2020 at Rivoli Castle Museum of Contemporary Art) and “welcoming music” are just three of the possible ways through which this recent inflection of “Foto-Musica” is expressed, with creative audience engagement directly in the performancs and renewed consideration for noise pollution issues and different points of view and listening.