“Aqua Alta”

Aqua Alta

Aqua Alta Installation at San Servolo, Venice, Italy

In 2008 I was the US Representative with “Aqua Alta“ at OPEN XI International Exhibition of Sculpture and Installations held in conjunction with the Architecture Biennale at Isola di San Servolo, Venice, Italy. This work was curated by Edward Rubin a New York based writer and critic.

The sound of Venice is water. Every minute of every day and every night the sound of water is splashing on the stairs, lapping at the doorways and rises in waves as gondolas breeze across it. From the founding of Venice, to the present day, water is the source of transportation, a symbol of romance and the element that made Venice a major maritime power and a significant trading port. Water is also its problem. Global-warming has induced changes to the aquatic environment causing the waters to swell filling the piazzas and buildings and threatening the daily life and culture of Venice.

Aqua Alta

Listen to the sound piece here.

Aqua Alta is an immersive 5.1 sound experience created using specialized audio equipment to capture the unique sounds of the waters of Venice via the gondolas that glide through them. This work was inspired by the effects global warming have on the environment, both underwater and above.

Types of Recordings used: binaural recordings of the gondolier singing and the ambient sounds, vibrations from the floor of the gondola, sounds in the water recorded with hydrophones, snapping shrimp, dolphin’s whistle, ship noise.

The sound piece was placed in this colonnade that surrounds the 8th century Benedictine monastery on San Servolo.

The sound installation Aqua Alta is a study of Venice’s dependence on and the threat of water. Aqua Alta submerges the listener in the sounds and the effect of the water on Venice. What is heard are the sounds from the water’s edge and underwater recordings, the structural creaks of the gondolas and sounds of water flowing around and under them as they float through the lagoon. Splashes and deep wave sounds of water lapping on the buildings and stairways at the water’s edge, and the sounds of the sea life are also heard. The sound tracks of both above and below the water line were post-processed to create the sense of rising and falling of the sound field, thus mimicking both the natural effects of the tides and, overall, the slow envelopment of the sounds in air by the aquatic acoustics as the waters rise to represent the dangers to Venice of global-warming induced changes to the aquatic environment.

Aqua Alta

Aqua Alta Installation at AC Direct, Chelsea, NY

Simultaneously Aqua Alta was exhibited in Chelsea, New York at AC Direct

In 2009 it was again shown in the Mobile Art Project, a touring exhibition that traveled through out Rhode Island.