The 41st edition of Sound Corner at the Auditorium ‘Parco della Musica’ in Rome – a space reserved for artists’ sound tracks with a regular programme curated by Anna Cestelli Guidi – is dedicated to a piece by Iginio De Luca, an artist who was born in Formia and currently works between Rome and Turin.
Iailat, a sound installation presented by Silvano Manganaro, was created by Iginio De Luca by reworking and transforming Il Canto degli italiani (The Chant of the Italians), better known as the Inno di Mameli (Mameli Hymn), into a new listening experience. Taken from one of his former works, De Luca treats the sound element in order to put forward a minimal creative solution. The national anthem, a version directed by Daniel Harding for the 2010 New Year Concert at La Fenice in Venice, is worked on using a computer programme to achieve the most efficient level of listening and deception. With its tempo reduced by 80%, Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) is unrecognisable and the sound diffusion in the open space between the foyer of the Petrassi Hall and the Theatre Studio Borgna appears uninterrupted, forming a loop, without any distinction between beginning and end.
The installation is blitz-like, transposed into musical form inside the music space created by Renzo Piano. Why should this work be interpreted as a blitz, a provocative form which De Luca’s audience has been accustomed to for almost ten years? It is difficult to use the Mameli Hymn outside institutional and formal settings – the affirmation and commemoration of the nation. The piece is, therefore, already de-mystified by its use in non-authorised functions. Even the installation’s title acts as a reversal, making the name unrecognisable: the random order of letters results in Iailat, an anagram for Italy.
Having completely transformed a tune known to all Italians, the nation’s name acquires a new sense by being distorted, even if devoid of meaning in its new composition. We therefore feel deceived and disoriented when listening to the work. What could restore the familiar rhythm and image of the word that has, for a long time, taken on a different order, in the country’s reality? What remains of the anthem and Italy on the eve and in the wake of the general election? What remains of the validatory features of an unalienable patriotic anthem?
The sound installation immerses listeners in a state that evokes other listening conditions, in a piece that strikes us as completely new. By slowing down the track a new melody is created, full of reflective moments and rich in spaces with fluid and diversified mental images. The new listening experience surprises us and shifts the basic certainties of life, changing the perceptive process in an unexpected form. In some sequences the sound of crashing waves can be heard, its constant rhythm experienced as a perennial return. In other more distinct tracks different images are found, reminiscent of the sequences from the film Alien (1979) by Ridley Scott, when the monster moves and comes towards us menacingly.
So the work by De Luca, hosted in a space dedicated to sound, in the days preceding and following the general election, in a slow and fluid statement confirms the overhaul of the entire system in unusual ways and sensations; to jolt thought and attempt to focus attention on something static and long known. The overturning of the flux and duration of the Hymn also coincides with its official validation, having been institutionalised by the Constitutional Affairs of Palazzo Madama, after over seventy-five years of provisional use: no past law had definitively sanctioned “Fratelli d’Italia” as the national anthem.
Sound Corner / 41, Iginio De Luca, Iailat, 2018, Auditorium – Parco della Musica Rome, post-poned until 30 March, 2018