Marco Donnarumma
“Nigredo”

Unlike light, a medium is required in order for sound to “exist.” You can’t have music in a vacuum, because the waves caused by vibrations need something to pass through in order to manifest as sound. Marco Donnarumma, an Italian performer, artist, and writer, builds upon similar ideas with his music but in conceptually complex, interactive ways, privileging the body as a site not only for the literal embodiment of sound, but also for the production of sound itself.

Donnarumma’s time-based “Nigredo” installation, made in collaboration with artist/engineer Marije Baalman, is one such example. For this installation, Donnarumma invites a visitor into a booth, in which he captures their heartbeat, blood flow, and muscle contractions through three high-powered infrasound devices making direct contact with their skull and vertebral column, as well as through Donnarumma’s Xth Sense biosensor, which is placed near their heart. The sounds produced are then digitally processed and fed right back into the visitor through the bioacoustic technology, creating resonance in the their bones and tissues through two waves traveling in opposite directions (a “standing wave”). Aided by flickering lights, a hidden sound system, and two subwoofers, the piece literally alters the visitor’s cardiovascular, respiratory, and neurological systems. Yep, just another Friday night.

The excerpt below is the kind of audio you might hear in the installation:

Obviously, this a superficial representation. Turn it up loud enough and you might begin to somewhat approximate some of the intended audio sensations, but the rest will have to be left to your imagination. If you want to experience his work in person, however, Donnarumma will be performing at a SHAPE event organized by Slovenia’s MoTA Museum. He’ll perform a piece called “Ominous,” in which muscle tissues are amplified and digitally processed, creating an oscillation between the actual sound of the muscles and its virtual manifestation. Go feel for yourself Friday, March 6, at London’s Apiary Studios.

• Marco Donnarumma: http://marcodonnarumma.com

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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