The original idea of the piece sparked when artist Christoph Büchel brought to the Venice Biennale 2019 the controversial “Barca Nostra (our boat)” the ship in which 700 – 1,000 migrants died. Before even making it to the Biennale, it was wrapped in a lengthy geopolitical debate over who it belonged to until it was eventually declared an Italian object. With never a moment of silence, it was docked besides a cafe, perfect placement for selfies with individuals gossiping and slurping expensive drinks.
This total disconnect to the appalling conditions in which migrants lost their lives and the artists’ claim to the so called ‘object’ and his decision to call it Art or at least present it as a form of sculpture, drew me to look further into Venice’s own history of being formed by refugees, its damaging connection with cruise ships and the reality of its slow drowning.
The piece uses spatial panning to explore clouds of sounds, and movement based on hive mentality and particles attracting and repelling one another, sometimes forming clusters blurring the tone of individual instruments. The titles given to each of the 5 chapters hint to the physical arrangement of the musicians and the overall texture of a particular section. While the three notes of the piece were derived from analysing cruise ship horns, and chosen specifically for their dissonant qualities and their ability to evoke tension, as harmonics emerge from the sound waves crashing into each other.
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