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3 PLACES WHERE I CAN SING: SONGS FOR VALPARAÍSO

Performance in the public space, 2016

Presented at Tsonami Festival de Arte Sonoro 2016, Valparaíso (Chile)
in frame of the Artistic Residency Tsonami Festival, 10 November-10 December 2016





"The project investigates the sonic memory of the inhabitants of Valparaíso who are interviewed about songs related to the city. From the recording of this process, Eramo creates a sound composition and intervenes in various places of the city specifically selected for their symbolic connotation, also using her voice. The performance aims to generate a new and bizarre oral history of the present, connecting the sound memory of the inhabitants and Eramo to the public space of the city."

Kindly supported by the Goethe Institut Munich
Special thanks to Peter Cusack and Wendelin Büchler







The songs I've collected during the artistic residency were clearly two: La Joya del Pacífico and Valparaíso. All the inhabitants of Valparaíso know these two songs. And it is rare to find a city in the world which completely identifies itself with one or two songs: like a real and petulant anthem containing a strong sense of belonging, folklore, and love for the city. An alive sonic memory: in these two gentle melodies, and in these lyrics is contained not an individual but a collective sonic memory. So I created a sound composition with all the recorded voices of Valparaíso's inhabitants who were singing to me the same two songs. At the end, the composition sounded to me like a new "Frankenstein" creature. Shy voices, out of tune, pleasant, strident, drunk, girly, sensual voices. Multiple voices, diverse voices, singing in a broken and disorganized choir, wild but sweet, like Valparaíso.

I was lucky enough to live during the residency at Cerro Cárcel on a very quiet hill with a spectacular view over the city. Somehow afar from the urban bustle, from Cerro Cárcel I could hear a rooster, the birds, and many stray dogs howling from one hill to the other, communicating with each other, and creating an incredible animal symphony. I recorded the howling dogs - in fact they belong to the colorful soundscape of Valparaíso, too - and I decided to use this recording for the performance in the public space. I liked the idea to connect the "songs" of the stray dogs with the sonic texture of the city center.

So I selected three places where to sing, places that for me represent the Power in different forms:
Plaza Sotomayor / Palace de Justicia (Sotomayor Square/Palace of Justice), impressive and frank, such a majestic non-place, where once the sea reached, but now it is a huge square where the palace of "Armada de Chile" ("Chilean Navy") is located.
Galeria Beye "Caracol", a commercial center in a typical 80's Chilean architecture, built during the Pinochet era, now in decline - a melancholic place.
Congreso Nacional (National Parliament), a disproportionate building, it reminds me of a fascist building in my hometown Taranto, which has the shape of "M", such as for Mussolini. Congreso Nacional is a huge building located between an earthquake hit church, now in disuse, and a big shopping mall under construction.

With a microphone, a loudspeaker and the tape of Valparaíso's voices in my hand, I performed in the three places. My ears were filled with sonic memory, just as if my ears - and I would say my whole body - were a real tape recorder. I played the tape, I read the poems I wrote dedicating to those three places, and I sung surrounded by the warmth of the voices of Valparaíso's inhabitants. During my sound interventions something extraordinary happened: my singing and the Valparaíso's songs melted with the reality around, as if by magic.


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Photo Credits: Nelson Campos, Jeymer Gamboa, Wendelin Büchler