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Online Premiere: Riverbero

A "Border Film" suspended between video art and science that shows us how to capture a sound.

10 – 15 | 2013 | Documentary | Experimental | Italy | Technology

An armchair, some electrical appliances, a few glimpses of a deserted Turin… Solemn camera movements lead us through different environments, to finally dwell on the geometrical patters of a  concrete building. We are at the National Institute of Metrological Research in Turin, that hosts a  “reverberation chamber”. Within this white and aseptic space , we find a group of musicians and singers that are playing an hypnotic, almost rarefied symphony. It’s like watching an experimental video that wouldn’t look out of place in a museum. Suddenly, though, everything changes. We meet  Professor Andrea Pavoni Belli, the “sacred guardian” of this place, who explains us how it works and what are the different uses that can be made of it.

The focal point of the short lies in the clash between the artistic, emotional aspect of symphony inside the chamber and the consequent rationalization of that environment. On one hand we have a compelling, almost mesmerizing, lyrical moment that resembles experimental video art. Then we’re abruptly drawn into the real world of science, which rationalizes the aforementioned wonder through precise mathematical calculations. This register change might doesn’t damage the mood of the film at all, it actually contextualizes it and gives meaning to the first scenes. We discover that the chamber is placed on springs because it must not be subjected to any vibration from the outside, and that its walls never form right angles so that the ‘sound beam’ doesn’t travel from one wall to another in the same time, but has to make longer routes. This particular acoustic phenomenon makes it possible to measure the sound absorption of items such as theater chairs, movie theater curtains and the sound power of many household appliances – and this explains the first enigmatic images of the short.

Art and everyday life come together virtually in this room, aesthetics and everyday life become one: the mysticism that evokes the look of casual audiences is nothing more than a mere tool of measurement for those who dedicate their lives to science.

The genuine enthusiasm of the scientist while showing procedures and equipment is just one of the many elements of  ‘Riverbero‘ that capture the viewer’s attention. From the desaturated cinematography and the clean and elegant immersive camera movements that draw us into the shown spaces, the short film is technically impeccable. The music, ethereal and disturbing, becomes one with the images, turning the vision into a multi-sensory experience – it almost seems to be in that room, surrounded by the various sounds that propagate in space. The music suite for pipe organ, bells, walls beatings and human voices was written specifically for short, and was published within the  ‘Interference‘ album by PLUS (Minus&Plus).

Riverbero was written, produced and directed by MYBOSSWAS, a collective of filmmakers, photographers, musicians, graphic designers and artists united by a single “Boss”: the idea behind the project they’re working on. This work opens the  ‘Film di Confine’ (border films) series, a group of short films in which the collective aims to represent unpublished, underground life experiences that are suspended between conflicting pressures, combining these differences in a single design can turn the conflict into a story. And that’s exactly what they managed to do with this short film which shies away from specific genre definitions: documentary and video art, aesthetics and science, music and mathematical analysis collide and combine into a solid union.

Following the preview at the Rome International Film Festival in 2013, the film was selected by important international festivals such as the Glasgow Short Film Festival and the Brooklyn Film Festival. For further information,  the ‘Film di Confine’ website features many extras, including a backstage of the movie and the soundtrack.

Flavia Ferrucci

Read our interview with MYBOSSWAS.
by Tommaso Fagioli

Flavia Ferrucci

Flavia Ferrucci

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