A sound-poem on national, cultural, linguistic, and psychological crossing and dislocation, first installed at the American Academy in Rome for the collaborative installation X Locus on April 27-28, 2011. Surrounded by a virtual "moat"--a soundtrack of fountains and fowl by composer Paul Rudy, and projections by AGENCY Architecture that rendered the vaults of courtyard arcades liquid--this site-specific sound poem by Jennifer Scappettone invited community members to enter the core of the cortile to listen for the intertwinings and disintertwinings in a narrative loop.
"X Locus: Cortile" reconstructs the cacophonous history and presence of this courtyard, shaped by Columbian Exposition architects McKim, Mead, & White in 1913 as a convening space for the Academy--itself a nation-building and nation-expanding project on Rome's Janiculum Hill. In this ephemeral neighborhood, or borgo, of transit defined by the Aurelian Walls of imperial Rome and a sequence of raucous gates, the designations "American" and "Italian" are both sheltered and continually recast as a looping sequence of never-quite arrived-at aspirations, disappointments, researches, and desires. Meanwhile, the rising plants and pastiched funerary inscriptions that line the courtyard remind those who dine in and pass through this space of the anxious and fructifying lives underground.
Thanks to the members of the 2010-11 Academy community: chefs, architects and designers, composers, poets, classicists, medievalists, an early modernist, a Serbian linguist, a Tibetan-American singer, an English sculptor and a stone carver, Russian, Cuban, Albanian, and Italian-Dutch installation artists, a bharatnatyam dancer, a painter, a Russian bookmaker, an American and an Italian filmmaker, an Israeli-American doctor, Romanian and Italian baristas, protesters from the streets of the Italian capital, and other comrades eluding categorization, for the sought and found material of their cherished voices. Special thanks to Huck Hodge for tracts from his development of "Pools of Shadow from an Older Sky."
First published on textsound here: http://textsound.org/index.php?ISSUE=12