Aural Bodies in Space: LUCIA Festival in Florence

Aural Bodies in Space: LUCIA Festival in Florence
Reviews,

LUCIA is an international festival of storytelling and sound art, presented only through listening sessions and aural experiences.
The festival features a collection of sound recordings, artworks, and podcasts from all over the world, where the creators express their theories and creativity using the medium of sound design, giving the spectators the opportunity to get back in touch with this artistic expression.
I’M Firenze Digest had the opportunity to join the first day of the events that opened its third edition in Florence in 2021, hosted in the fascinating setting of Villa Galileo.

By Abraham Yael Perez Mosqueda. Cover Image: LUCIA Festival 2021, Orto Botanico, Florence. Photo credits: Alisa Martynova.

As a Multimedia Art student, I believe that sound is a crucial part of the art experience; not a simple complementary tool to visuals element, but a key instrument to create the right atmosphere and deliver the right message of the artwork. At the heart of the LUCIA festival is the idea to bring forth sound experiences by getting rid of the need of a visual apparatus to fully experience and appreciate an artwork, forcing the spectators to complement the audio works with their own imagination.
The first event to open the festival, Celestial bodies, relational bodies (2021) by astrophysicist Emanuele Pace, is a focus on ancient cultures like the Greeks and Mayans and their fascination for celestial bodies: the stars, the moon, and the sun, depicted in their tales and myths as supernatural beings.
Their observations have formed our present world, where we still find ways to apply their knowledge, knowingly or unwillingly. While they tried to get closer to the cosmos by creating stories or myths, we now push scientific innovation to discover space physically with satellites, space rockets, and telescopes. 
A half-hour long event, Celestial Bodies has really aroused the crowd’s curiosity with Pace’s storytelling, making them want to go out, have a look at the sky and start creating their own readings.
The second event, Meteor Bodies (2021) is a 16-minute audio work by Kate Donovan. In the audio piece we can hear a dialogue between two female characters, telling some kids a story about a woman from Alabama in 1954.
As the story goes, while she was resting in her living room, a meteorite suddenly broke through her roof and bounced off the radio next to her, hitting her right in her belly.
A real story about the chaotic nature of the universe, and the improbable encounter between everyday life in the 1950s and a space rock darted from the universe, from who-knows-where or when.

Listening to the work was an interesting experience, as the audio bounces left and right in stereo depending on who is talking.
The narration is enhanced with audio effects like radio waves, raindrops, background noises from objects in the kitchen and finally the meteor crash. The narration is also cropped in fragments, some words jump in and out constantly as radio interference, making the whole experience dreamy yet realistic.

While listening to the story of the lady and the meteorite, I was thinking that, like celestial bodies, we are made of the same elements that were created after the Big Bang, the same elements that formed planets, stars, and moons, and after millions of years, the organic materials that later evolved into all creatures of the Earth.
We are indeed made of stardust. And, as Meteor Bodies suggest, humans and meteors both as moving objects in space.

Abraham Yael Perez Mosqueda is an undergraduate student in Multimedia Art at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.

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