Imagine yourself in a world where sound is the only way to communicate. Obstructing your eyes, touch, and taste can allow your ears to open to the magnificent possibilities around you. Such is the effect of the audio projects by the artists at Lucia Festival, an innovative sound festival in Florence.
by Camila Heredia Oranday & Isabella Trew Pichado. Cover image: Photo Alisa Martynova. Courtesy of Lucia Festival 2022.
It’s fascinating how we can be transported to another place or time just by the few clues our ears recognise through the whole sound scenario. We live in a world where images have compelled us to shut down the rest of our senses. However, the Lucia Festival has successfully revived them.
The collection of audio projects presented at CANGO, Cantieri Goldonetta in Florence, clearly represents the eclectic opportunity that audio editors have today. Below are the highlights chosen by the Arts Curating students from Istituto Marangoni Firenze.
“What about the growth that can only happen in the shadows?”
Ariel Mejia, a Chicago-born audio artist, poses an interesting question to the audience. Through a narration about a fight between two siblings, this audio aimed to convey feelings of healing and transformation, a change of perspective when prompted with a new critical question. It talks about the importance of darkness and how everyone needs to open their eyes to new possibilities and perceptions of the world today, specifically their life.
A must-listen. It changed my perception of how we started to view life as pessimists while growing up, without the need or curiosity to learn and heal from our traumas, even in a place of darkness.
Heartbreaking, disturbing, and dark. It’s Alright by award-winning journalist, storyteller, and sound artist Phoebe McIndoe speaks of the complicated relationship between a family and their adopted son. This son was a heroin addict by default, having to grow up with many complications. The audio focuses mainly on a single day and a single story. A day when disaster broke loose. McIndoe’s last few words in the audio create a full circle that reveals a story of loss and fear but also love and affection. This piece shows that it is possible to grieve over someone who is still alive, someone with whom you shared many happy moments, but sometimes the corrupt instances outweigh the good times and learning to say goodbye is heartbreaking.
GILLES, MA SOEUR ET MOI
Mathilde has an almost-comedic take on her Tourette’s. She lives in Quimper with her husband and son and works in a restaurant. Her tics never interrupt her; they are a part of her. Her younger sister, Camille, created this piece as she sought answers regarding Gilles, Gilles de la Tourette. She wanted to know how her big sister ended up coexisting with him and how she handled the unexpected visitor so well for her entire life.
While having dinner or while taking a Sunday stroll, Mathilde and Camille Descroix share this beautiful journey of exploration while pondering on the relationships we tend to have with disabilities and what we consider “normal” in our current society. A heartfelt mental image of how our community views people with disabilities, all through the eyes of Mathilde and Gilles. It makes you wonder about our role as people and how “normal” should not even be a concept in the first place.
MALAFEMMINA | FOBIE
Resilient and fierce, Malafemmina is the eye-opening link between Chloé Barreau, a French director, and Lilith Primavera, a transgender artist from Rome. Their encounter bloomed into a beautiful friendship through understanding and communication. This podcast talks about phobias and how transgender people are seen as stereotypes while bringing up the need for a big change in this area.
Lilith Primavera recounts her story, her ups and downs, reflecting on friendship and love, prejudice, conciliations and hopes. A beautiful and potent storytelling of the complicated yet rewarding life of a modern diva who had to find her own identity, ending up being the night queen of Pigneto.
LE VILLAGE DES FOUS
What can be more deadly, preservatives or bread?
This audio is a documentary based on a real story in a small town in the south of France, Pont-Saint-Esprit, in 1951. Pauline Augustyn brought to life the voices of those who experienced the tragic event. A sense of terror creeps up our spines as she uses the sound of a violin and the actual radio streamings of the catastrophe. If you are a David Fincher psychological thriller fan or dreamt of Joan Samson’s prequel of “The Auctioneer”, this narrative is your cup of tea.
FINN AND THE BELL
Erica Heilman planted in her listeners a question we might all want to avoid: what will people remember of us when we die? The heartbreaking and introspective question arose from the narrated experience of the people who knew Finn. A quiet, average 17-year-old who committed suicide. This tragedy shocked the small, hippie-redneck town of Hardwick, Vermont. Such a variety of backgrounds may seem impossible to blend; however, grieve and lament, but most importantly, love can do it all. Be ready to bring your tissues because tears might slip your eyes with such an emotional narrative.
ENRICHING THE SENSES
After three incredible days, the Lucia festival ended by announcing the best audio winner. However, all participants collaborated in the making of such richness. As listeners, we have managed to experience the emotion and the message so delicately placed by the authors. Finally, the audio narratives had the same impact as any other artistic heading. Being active witnesses to the power of sound will improve our surroundings and sensibility towards our lives, making us more susceptible to art. The festival has concluded with its primary objectives, to spread the joy of listening and encourage artists to express themselves through sound effects, but mainly to demonstrate the paramount importance of sound podcasts and radio in our contemporary society.
Camila Heredia Oranday & Isabella Trew Pichado are undergraduate students in Arts Curating at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.