|:: Window view, first morning ::|
From Birmingham I've headed to Italy, the Abruzzo region, to begin a joint residency at Pollinaria, that will complete at the annual Interferenze festival, Fortore region. The work that I will do over the next two weeks is part of a collaboration between Pollinaria (Gaetano Carboni) and Interferenze (Leandro Pisano), whose focus is on sound as the medium and rural regeneration as the context. I have the privilege of being the first artist invited for the initiation of this joint project and I am truly honoured to do so. My understanding is that this collaboration between the two entities will continue well into the future and aid the cultural, economic and community regeneration of these specific regions in rural Italy.
The first day has been a bit of a blur. I arrived late last night in the dark and had no visual on where I might find myself…. I have come prepared for the beginning of a hot Italian summer but woke - to the sounds of rain and wind. I look out my window to see where I am and find myself surrounded by rolling hills and unbelievably picturesque Italian countryside framed by sheer dark mountains rising in the background. No this is not a dream, this is Pollinaria, a property that supports the working ideal of the 'young' landowners and cultivators such as Gaetano Carboni, to be found in growing numbers,in rural Italy.
During my stay I will be collecting recordings specific to this pocket of the world. As regions whose economy is primarily agricultural they both produce a variety of nourishments for the body. Delights such as olive oil, grapes and fresh fruit and veg all come from these inland mountainous areas. The project I will undertake will focus on two points of simpatico between Fortore and Abruzzo - these are Wheat and Honey.
My morning was spent talking at length with locally born photographer, Daniella D'Arielli. She will be my 'touchstone' (so-to-speak) to the area, helping me understand its community, lifestyle and the ethos behind Pollinaria. She will also make sure I do not get myself into trouble on early morning recording expeditions, keeping me well clear of wild boars and giant wasp looking things that scare the absolute crap out of me!
|:: Found in my camera bag during first night of recording ::|
Late afternoon comes and we are joined by Gaetano. We discuss the ideas that have been sparked during the morning with Daniella. While I arrived with a clear starting point for my work, after speaking with Daniella I begin to comprehend the broader ideals behind this growing movement of rural regeneration - particularly in relation to working relations with the land and the beasts and bugs to be found there. There is an intrinsic connection between human and nature, to be observed in the work of those who choose to live by the land, in these areas. The key word to this ideal is 'Choose', as in this century, with growing mass consumption and produce, these young 'farmers', have chosen - not only to continue working the land as per their relations before them, but - as importantly - to counteract the notion of mass produce - and return to farming the unique grains and region-specific produce, as per their grandparents…
It is a romantic and powerful ideal. This seems to be the essence of the purpose to the work I will undertake….
This work is made possible by the generous support of the Ian Potter Cultural Trust