- Radio Play
The Hand & The Mouth, as the title suggests, deals with the two primary tools for human expression and communication: writing and speech. The format chosen to investigate them is the so called “radio drama”, or “Hörspiel” in german. It is a format that typically deals with extended durations, spanning from 20 minutes to one hour or more and compared to electroacoustic compositions and generally called “loudspeaker music” might involve the use of narrative elements combined with moments of more abstract and “pure” sonic articulation, which seemed to be rather fitting to the topic at hand. Content-wise, the radio piece revolves around the written dimension and is structured as a metaphorical journey through the evolution of the graphical sign, from its inception as a pure gesture of the hand to affirm its presence by inscribing it onto an external support, sort of outward movement, to its becoming part of a multi-layered linguistic system. Such journey is based on a research about writing in art practice, but opts for a poetic instead of analytical approach, concealing the references to the research phase inside a network of sonic symbols and associative and imaginative descriptions. The topic of vocal expression is not dealt with in the script, but through the means of the format itself: voice is chosen to be the main (almost the only) material used in the piece, therefore the translation from writing to speech occurs automatically and shows the differences and coincidences between the two dimensions as a natural consequence. The piece is divided into six chapters, each chapter covering a “stage” in the sign’s evolution. Different stages have all different nature, therefore different voices are chosen to interpret them, with the addition of two narrators that act as the fil rouge, as a meta-layer between the listener and the single sound pieces and tie all the acts together into a coherent, uniform saga; they fulfil the storytelling role, in order to attribute a concrete role to each piece, as well as to escape a too strictly analytical exposition. The single chapters all deal with different practices and compositional strategies that take into account historic approaches in the field of sound poetry, such as the ones of Henri Chopin, Bernard Heidsieck, Kurt Schwitters, Adriano Spatola, Brion Gysin and Luciano Berio to name a few. Although part of a linear narration, the different sound pieces are not – at least formally – a direct consequence of one another, but create a network that shows, as a whole, the broad complexity that vocal articulation reaches in art practice, parallel to the one of writing, exposed in the content of the piece. This way, both dimensions are addressed at the same time.
The radio play is accompanied by an article of the same name that retraces the story of writing in art practice.