Short Portfolio

Amigdala creates site-specific productions
that blend performances,
visual arts, sound research and writing.

The performative installations have a strong connection with the venues they are situated in, and arise from a deep analysis of each place’s characteristics and from a relationship with its present or former inhabitants. Amigdala’s works are devised for small groups of spectators in an intimate and immersive atmosphere:

they aim at changing
the audience’s perceptions of the place
and setting up mechanisms
for involving the audience
in a radical yet gentle way.

Amigdala’s productions activate several layers: soundscapes creation, public history and anthropology, original dramaturgy and musical compositions, urban crossing. As a result, starting from a rigorous aesthetic research, each work weaves together individual and collective interpretations of the history of a place, and fosters personal experiences and biographies through the recreation of emotional links between people and their landscapes.

The works can be adapted
to different spaces
through a site-specific process
of reconstruction
which constitutes
Amigdala’s primary stylistic key.

A period of residence to allow the work to settle in the specific context can be envisaged. Technical necessities need to be evaluated on the basis of the space chosen for the installation.


Elementare

MUSICAL/VOCAL PERFORMANCE THROUGH A WHOLE NIGHT

“I sing to use the Waiting,

[…] To Keep the Dark away.”

E. Dickinson


Elementare
is a temporary bonding between the audience and the artists, called to share together the duration of the night. In a space equipped for sleeping, a temporary community arises from the desire to live together an unknown space, a momentary lapse expanding throughout the hours of the night. A chant to the night, to the time of suspension and subversion, a celebration of the wait where the dawn becomes a symbol of crossing. Six voices slowly consuming, a presence without definite boundaries between artists and audience, words that turn into declamations, silences, lists, echoes: these are the primary elements through which a shared poetic space is fabricated. While a vocabulary slowly arises, almost in the form of a community prayer; while a symbolic fire lightens up the space between “us” and “them”, Elementare gives voice to the desire of declaring: we are here. What drives us to sing throughout the night? The risk, the length, the effort, the accord that precedes agreement , an invisible thread, the gathering, the transformation, the hospitality, the wait, the awakening, and the silence.

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a project by Amigdala Collective
Meike Clarelli, Sara Garagnani, Federica Rocchi, Gabriele Dalla Barba, Silvia Tagliazucchi

original music: Meike Clarelli
sound dramaturgy: Davide Fasulo, Meike Clarelli
choir conduction: Davide Fasulo
with the voices of: Meike Clarelli, Elisabetta Dallargine, Vincenzo Destradis, Davide Fasulo, Fulvia Gasparini, Antonio Tavoni
writings: Gabriele Dalla Barba
scene/space: Sara Garagnani con la collaborazione di Silvia Tagliazucchi
curatorship: Federica Rocchi

A special thanks to the participants of the workshop “Maggese – building artistic works upon spaces” for their special contribution: Fabio Ghidoni, Sabrina Alberti, Erica Greco, Alessandra Marolla


Disobedient Waters

PERFORMING INSTALLATION FOR ​5 ​SPECTATORS, 100 DREAMS, 1 DISMISSED BUILDING (15’) 2017


I might get lost along the way, 

but make sure
never to interrupt me

We have asked ourselves just what the dreams that we all live really are, what substance they are made of. We have wondered if water is involved in their making, or whether, given its plasticity, it is simply their custodian, and for how long. What happens when an entire community bathes the everyday places of their lives in dreams?

they resemble
communicating vessels
which hold together
residues, waste, lives,
forgotten relationships

Disobedient waters springs from a disturbing, temporary, changeable source: a collection of a hundred dreams, a dream world work by a fragment of a collective.

We have turned our attention to dreams as experiences which can inhabit every human being without ever belonging to them, we have asked ourselves how this work of the imagination, in which names appear as suspended, touches the borders of reality. Are we really sure we’re the ones dreaming? Could they be the gaze of a sleeper, an act of inertia, or a process of democratisation in which everyone, regardless of their identity, lives and shares without any possibility of shelter or will?
We have decided to explore a neighbourhood through the dreams which inhabit it. We have collected these and given them a new lease of life in a site which symbolises and speaks of that territory, leaving to the public the task of crossing through them and being crossed through, in the dark, alone.

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Disobedient waters is a site-specific installation created on the occasion of the 9th edition of the Periferico festival, “Tall Fragile Urgent”, curated by the Amigdala collective. Every year Periferico offers the possibility of journeying through the city of Modena, inhabiting unusual, private, unknown or disinhabited places, through site-specific performances. The festival, which was nomadic until its 8th edition, has put down roots at the Modena Ovest Artisan’s Village, a showpiece district developed in the 1950s to house burgeoning small businesses with a strong emilian identity, today fallen largely into disuse.
Disobedient waters was born on the site of the ex Cavallini Radiators Workshop, a 3000 m2 abandoned warehouse on two floors, closed down about ten years ago. A few months later it was re-staged in another abandoned site in the Village.


HOW IT HAPPENS

The installation hosts groups of 6 people at a time, who enter and move freely through the space for about 14 minutes.

For the first 8 minutes visitors are immersed in the dark, among video projections, objects held in illuminated columns of water and areas where drops are collected, as if the space were permeable to emotions and couldn’t help absorbing them and releasing them continuously.
The videos, curated by Fabio Fiandrini, create an imaginary, immersive world, with the presence of actress Silvia Pasello and orginal music and sequences composed by Meike Clarelli. The text, written by Gabriele Dalla Barba, is structured like a story, and comprises fragments of 100 dreams collected in the neighbourhood.
As the space seems to extinguish itself, slipping inexorably into darkness, a metal door opens: visitors go up a ramp of stairs and enter into a brightly-lit open space, with the floor entirely covered by glass bottles arranged in neat rows and containing water into which messages written on paper are immersed, traces of the inhabitants’ dreams. Funnels are suspended from the columns which support the building, with earphones hanging down from them, partially isolating spectators, bringing them into contact with the voices of the inhabitants, as in turn they tell their dreams.

THEY SAID

“It was worth exploring “Disobedient waters” for the emotionally charged sense of magic and mystery, of gloom on the ground floor, and of heavenly light once you emerge from the basement garage-entrails to finally see the stars once again in a sparkling first floor constellated by hundreds of bottles containing messages, poems, words left to steep in the liquid. Bottles like a field of battle or a cemetery, sown fields or crosses. For funnel loudspeakers. Water is disobedient because the stream gushes downstream sweeping everything in its way. Like life, like ideas”.
Tommaso Chimenti — Recensito

“A fluid place, full of forgotten splashings and unresolved gazes. Disobedient waters immerses the elusive quality of dreams in an exposure to the unknown: after an audio-video installation, you leave the darkness of the dream “cavern” to find a multiplicity of little scraps of paper in as many bottles. Fragile but transparent custodians, all alike in appearance and yet presaging unconfessed imaginings, desires hidden to the world, even to one’s own conscience. And those who walk through the installation can grant themselves something which is not due, that is to rediscover them: to approach a funnel from which hang two small earphones and enter into other peoples’ dreams. And to rediscover them one’s own.”
Giulio Sonno — PaperStreet

“It’s water under the bridge, which returns in rows of glass. Funnels hanging from walls end with earphones to listen to its gurgling eddies. The places are voices abandoned on the sea of time. The walls speak, Periferico is here to listen.”
Matteo Brighenti — PaneAcquaCulture

“Fragments of dreams can be read in the messages left in the bottles, or be listened to in the intimacy of the headphones hanging from the pillars of the enormous open space. But the time for listening to them is limited to a handful of minutes. As if to say that you can take away a part of that intimate and personal dimension, but that much remains private and to be discovered.“
Francesca Serrazanetti — Stratagemmi


※ Anonymous Letters To A Walker

A ​LONELY​ WALKING SOUNDSCAPE IN THE CITY​,​ DIVING THE SPECTATOR IN THE URBAN FABRIC AND MEMORY (25’) 2016

There’s no need for you to listen to me,
no need for you to listen to my words one by one,
you can walk at your own slowness and pay attention
only to what you want to hold on to.
It’s not about morals, art, truth, social factors, politics,
your individuality itself, needs, dreams, here.
It’s all about pure and simple consciousness
of what’s real instead.
Let’s make ourselves remind ourselves constantly: this is
water, this is the earth, these are my hands,
that colour on the wall to the left is blue.

The performance is developed through an audio itinerary each spectator experiences, walking across the streets of a deserted area, away from the city bustle.

During his personal path, each spectator is guided by an mp3 player in which a soundtrack and the voice of the actress Ainoa Doughty are recorded for the English version (Beatrice Schiros for the Italian version).

Anonymous Letters To A Walker”, the site-specific production which has been created after several months of territorial and social studies and many interviews with the inhabitants of Villaggio Artigiano, an ex industrial neighborhood barely outside the center of Modena, a city in the north of Italy. Our artistic association made this production specifically for the 8th edition of Festival Periferico, an itinerant theatre festival dedicated to new forms of performing arts, organized by the team of Amigdala who has been focused on urban regeneration since 2005.

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Each spectator is called to walk and to dive in the urban dimension – streets, building, smells, words, colors, sometimes a car – but, at the same time, in his own dephts.

The walker will listen in his earphones to music composed by Meike Clarelli: the soundtrack develops as a music act, which builds links through voices, sounds of about the manufacturing production and noises from machines and train rails. The text has been written by Gabriele Dalla Barba inspired by the words of Christian Bobin in his Praise of nothing.

The site-specific performance works on a double dimension: intimacy and distance. The connection between each spectator and the landscape is personal and heartfelt: he/she walks the streets chasing some blue signals, which have been painted on the pavement before.

The distance is created by the opposition between the captivating voice in the soundtrack and the distressing and crumbling place. The voice talks about “trees and nature” or “love”, but the spectator finds only cement and a forsaken foundry…

Posters are found alongside the path, hung in specific places. Many of them, recalling the land artist Jennifer Holzer, refers to similar concepts the spectators are listening to in their own earphones. The sound recording in the mp3 player inevitably relates to the texts printed on the posters, as if the words were popping out, swarming in the space and were echoed by the walls.

futuro-antenato-2016

Anonymous Letters To A Walker” is a site-specific performance geared toward many desolate landscapes barely outside the center of our cities. They are old industrial suburbs, completely abandoned, that once used to be the linchpin of human productivity. In the ages of industrial development these places would host generations of workmen and artisans, now they are ruined neighborhoods, close to the risk of demographic desertification. We should learn to love these places and reconsider them, be aware of their significance as trails of human manufacture.
The performance asks the spectator to take a political and social action: to cross the suburbs, to be a silent observer, but to acknowledge at the same time. The emotional relationship with this urban landscape – which is the result of the artistic experience, will be unexpected unknown – will depend on the listener’s openness.

Away from any rhetoric, what the walking spectator is listening to is a free interpretation of Bobin’s thoughts, a visionary French poet full of faith for the human destiny, but, at the same time, who is a scandalous artist that bravely puts the word “Love” in the center of contemporary reflection.

Towards the end of the itinerary, the spectator will find an unexpected situation and an envelope containing a love letter to be sent to whoever he/she wants.

THEY SAID

“Through ​ a sort of strong tenderness, it reminds you that ​houses are not just a stack​s​ of bricks, but nests of lives linked to each other”
— R. Calandra Scialacomo

“A​n itinerant lonely path based on a precise and urgent social issue: which relationship can I develop with ​ the place I live in?”​
— G. Sonno


Outline For A Theory Of Colour

A CATHARTIC INTERACTIVE INSTALLATION BASED ON ​ANCIENT TEXT “The Discourse on Voluntary Servitude​”​ by Etienne De La Boètie ​(20’) 2015

There’s a room, an apartment to get into. It is all set up with its furniture and objects as the person lives there just got out.

There are paint-boxes and brushes. A voice speaks loud, it talks about human condition. It is an original text inspired by Étienne de La BoétieDiscours de la servitude volontaire” and read by an actress with an original soundtrack. Spectators start to use colours and brushes, free to leave their feelings or messages over the walls and furniture, clothes, objects – as a cathartic gesture. The performance can be adapted to other urban spaces.


By My Own Voice

WHAT IS YOUR DEEPEST FEAR? A SIMPLE QUESTION, AN EMPTY ROOM, A MICROPHONE (15’) 2014

The spectator gets into an empty room with a view, a bench and a book which invites to listen to an mp3 player. It is an intimate dialogue with an original soundtrack that deals with our inner fears. It ends with an invitation: please, go into the next room. It is an empty space with a microphone and earphones now: it is the same voice you heard speaking before – but it is actually there, live, talking to you by name and asking about what you fear most. On the way out, the spectator will hear another audio in the whole space which collects fragments of the fears people have talked about during the installation (live updates every 10 minutes).

Annunci