Sound, Space, Body

Attila Faravelli, Enrico Malatesta
Nicola Ratti
11 Jul / 15 Jul, 2016
Cittadellarte, Biella
TOPICS/TAGS: Sound, space, body, research, aural awareness, participation, field recording, walking, ecological perception, affordances, experiential design, appropriation, media cultural history, traditional music, sonic unconscious, rhythm, idiophones, alteration.

The module revolves around sound and its modes of perception and production, with a focus on its fundamental relationship with body and space.

The week will be evenly divided between theoretical sessions and practical exercises, seeking to offer the participants a series of both conceptual and experiential tools for questioning common but too simplistic opposites like action vs. perception (active performer vs. passive listener), intentional music vs. unintentional noise, composition vs. improvisation, musical instrument vs. performer's body, clean signal vs. effect.

In the theoretical part of the laboratory achievements will be discussed from fields as disparate as the Sound and Media Cultural Studies, the New Materialism philosophy, some heterodox branches of anthropology, non-western musical ethnography, paleo-acoustics, ecological perception and experiential design, experimental music; what emerges amidst such diverse approaches is the exclusive role played by sound in showing the fundamental interrelations between humans, animals and the just apparently inert materials and forces present in the environment. If considered well beyond the simplifications offered both by dominant musicology and the common discourse (or the absence of any discourse about it) in art critiques, sound can push toward an ethical incitement to explore and experience such complex and creative connections.

The practical part of the laboratory will take place in the greatly diversified spaces of Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto and in the foundation's neighbourhood; the proposed exercises will consist in both site-specific sonic actions and field recording sessions.

Each participant will be provided with a series of very easy to use proto-instruments and guided through their use; these simple objects, unlike a musical instrument, are not so much intended for producing sound per se, instead they are conceived either as tools to enact the aural potentialities of a site or to display the specific responsiveness of the material itself they are built from. The aim of the proposed actions is to produce sound out of a negotiation between hearing-listening by a specific body to the site’s affordances, wherein the participants are asked to listen to themselves while in the act of producing sound in a specific space and time, realizing an embodied awareness of the complex aural capacities of body and space.

The field recording sessions confront the soundscape of the environment in its rougher, unmediated form, as an apparent collection of unrelated and unintentional sonic phenomena, forcing the listener to seek for different kinds of organizational structures and forms.

No specific musical skills are needed to participate.


July 11th
Guided tour to Cittadellarte (Curated by Elena Rosina), including the Pistoletto, Arte Povera collections and temporary exhibitions.
Introduction to the Theorem of Trinamics, the symbol of the Third Paradise and the concept of Demopraxy.  
Workshop and group presentation.
Field Recordings: listening sessions and investigation of the relation between sound, body and materials' capacities.
Short performances.
Participants presentations.

July 12th
Gathering. Aural Tools presentation-showcase.
Video screenings.
Walking. Exploration of interior spaces: sound-actions with Aural Tools objects.
Observation of the spaces' conditions and listening sessions. Exercises to improve the awareness of a specific space’s potentialities and aural character. Short Performances.

July 13th
Nicola Ratti: guest presentation and short performance.
Aural Architecture and Sound-Space relationship introduced by Nicola's sound work and research. A-dimensionality of an audio-signal and its spatialisation through playback devices. Sound-Signal and effects. Modular analog synthesizers' introduction. Effects and space. Electric-electronic sound sources vs digital DSP.
Practical session: sound-interventions, actions and performative interactions between the group and “Tilde” (Attila Faravelli, Nicola Ratti and Enrico Malatesta).

July 14th
Laboratory about active listening and rhythmicity. Readings. Brainstorming and discussion.
Field Recording session. Various locations.

July 15th
Workshop about active listening, sound-space relation, material's vitality and rhythmicity. Readings. Brainstorming and discussion.
Field Recording session. Various locations (indoor and outdoor).
Listening sessions of 'non western' traditional musics and video screenings.


The mentor will prepare a reader for participants with key texts, some of which will be discussed during the week.

• J.-F. Augoyard, H. Torgue, Repertorio degli effetti sonori, LIM, 2010, trad. it. a cura di Sabrina Doria
• J. Blacking, How Musical Is Man, University of Washington Press, 1974
• B. Blesser, L. Ruth Salter, Spaces speak, are you listening? Experiencing Aural Architecture, The MIT Press, 2006
• B. Buxton, Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design, Focal Press, 2007
• C. Cox, “Sound Art and the Sonic Unconscious”, in Organised Sound, Vol. 14, 2009, pp. 19-26
• C. Cox, “Beyond Representation and Signification: Toward a Sonic Materialism, in Journal of Visual Culture [],‚Ä®SAGE Publications, 201
• A. Dix, “Designing for Appropriation”, talk given at University of Technology Berlin, 12 February 2008 (unpublished)
• S. Feld, Sound and Sentiment: Birds, Weeping, Poetics, and Song in Kaluli Expression, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982
• W. Gaver, “What in the World Do We Hear?: An Ecological Approach to Auditory Perception”, in Ecological Psychology, Vol. 5(1), Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc, 1993, pp. 1-29
• W. Gaver, “How Do We Hear in the World, Explorations”, in Ecological Acoustics, Ecological Psychology, Vol. 5(4), Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc, 1993, pp. 285-313
• T. Ingold, The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill, Psychology Press, 2000
• D. B. Massey, For Space, Sage, 2005
• G. Ryle, The Concept of Mind, Hutchin Son's University Library, 1949
• J. Sterne, The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction, Duke University Press, 2003
• E. Thompson, “The Soundscape of Modernity Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening”, in America, 1900–1933, The MIT Press, 2002, pp. 281-4



Attila Faravelli (Milano, Italy, 1976) and Enrico Malatesta (Cesena, 1985) are sound artists and long term collaborators. They first met in 2012 to compose and perform music for a contemporary dance play (Teatro Valdoca). This initiated a series of diverse collaborations ranging from electro-acoustic music releases ( to research projects about the perception of a surfaces' irregularities ( and the use of an everyday-life-use object to produce sound ( In their collaborative works they explore the relationships between sound, space and gesture, with a focus on producing complex sonic information through simple actions and tools in contrast to the conception of music as a fully intentional human output.

In 2013, together with Nicola Ratti, they founded Tilde, a collaborative project created with the aim to explore, through sound actions, the possibilities of listening and practice of the space.

Attila Faravelli and Enrico Malatesta have presented their work in festivals and leading art institutions and universities throughout Europe, North America, Japan and South Korea. Among the institutions with which they have collaborated: Brown University (US), Non Event (US), MoMA PS1 (US), AIR Krems (AT), Qo2 (BE), 12th International Biennial of Architecture in Venice, Sounds of Europe  project, Seoul Foundation for Art and Culture-Mullae Art Space / South Korea, Academy of fine Arts-Brera, Academy of fine Arts-Bologna, Sapienza Università di Roma, Politecnico di Milano.

Enrico Malatesta, as a solo artist, plays percussions and addresses the multi-material affordances of his instruments. He has been playing and recording with musicians like Giuseppe Ielasi, Renato Rinaldi, Adam Asnan, Alessandro Bosetti, Christian Wolfarth, Ingar Zach, Burkhard Beins, Michael Vorfeld, Seijiro Murayama. Since 2010 he leads educational workshops concerning active listening and body movement. He is currently teaching sonic space design at the Academy of fine Arts in Bologna.

Attila Faravelli's solo music is released by Die Schachtel and Senufo Editions, in duo w/ Andrea Belfi (Tumble) he released on Die Schachtel, on Boring Machines with Nicola Ratti , on Presto!? with the artist Nicola Martini and on Mikroton with Angélica Castelló, Mario de Vega and Burkhard Stangl. He is co-founder of Neither Sound and founder/curator for the Aural Tools project, a series of simple objects to document the material and conceptual processes of specific musicians’ sound production practice; Aural Tools are acoustic devices for relating sound to space, the listener, and the body in ways unavailable through traditional recorded media such as CDs or LPs. 

Nicola Ratti was born in Milano in 1978. Polyhedric musician and sound designer active since years in the field of experimental music. He's been extensively presenting his music in Europe, North America and Russia. His albums have been released by Anticipate, Preservation, Die Schachtel, Entr’acte, Where To Now?, Senufo Editions, Boomkat Editions, Holidays Records, Megaplomb, Musica Moderna, Boring Machines, Coriolis Sounds, Zymogen. He is currently collaborating with Giuseppe Ielasi (with whom he formed the Bellows project and Tilde (w. Attila Faravelli and Enrico Malatesta). He's been playing guitar (2007 to 2013) in the soundtrack-band Ronin.

He collaborates with visual artists such as Nicola Martini, Alessandro Roma, Riccardo Arena, Ferruccio Ascari and Blisterzine/NastyNasty. He’s been curating “The Variable Series” (2013-2014), a series of events hosted by O’ in Milano concerning sound and performance.

He’s one of the promoters/ artists of the italian electro-acoustic music collective Auna. Since 2015 he curates experimental music and sound art related events at Standards in Milano.

The residency fee includes accomodation and half-board.

Participation fee
570.00 €