In the beginning, a group of artists was invited to collaborate in the making of a collaborative piece of work with a simple goal – the transformation of urban noise, inspired by futurist artist Luigi Russolo’s Art of Noises manifesto. Russolo had created a series of “noise networks” or symphonies for his mechanical intonarumori (noise makers) back in 1914, and in so doing he had influenced the entire course of 20th century music.
Despite his contemporary resonance, little is generally known about Russolo’s work, as all of his instruments were destroyed in the intervening two world wars. Of the scores he wrote, only the first 7 bars remain of Awakening of a City, and that only because it was reprinted in the art magazine Lacerba. Apart from the fragment of written score there are letters, reviews, photographs and other forms of documentation which have led researchers and artists over the years to try and recreate his noise making instruments.
Our project is rather different – we use the remaining 7 bars as the starting point for a new piece of work, ReAwakening of a City, engaging with all forms of visual and aural urban noise that we spend so much time trying to block out. Traffic noise, junk emails, health and safety warnings, advertising and street furniture. The form is performative, visual and mediated as well as musical, using all available means at the disposal of the 21st century artist.
Joseph Young, Artistic Director (2014)