Daniele GRASSO | IT |




I suoni che (ci) mancano / The sounds (we are) missing


On April 3rd, 2020, in Italy, the strict lockdown measures to contain the epidemic have been in force for a month. Immediately after listening to the radio news, I go out and head to the nearby Valentino park in Turin. Almost immediately I am stopped by law enforcement and informed that access to the park is forbidden: you cannot circulate freely; you cannot go further than 200 meters from your home. From this moment the walk turns into a visit to places that are difficult to enjoy at the moment, accompanied by sound memories. The sounds (we) are missing or the sounds that are missing? The title intends to express how we humans miss certain sounds that are not necessarily missed by other forms of life. How ready are we to recompose the sound spaces when daily life restarts? A busy road perhaps induces some form of amazement and nostalgia seeing it empty but how do we envisage it should sound in the future? Do we like, or miss, what we usually hear? Would we like many of the sounds or noises present to be attenuated or eliminated to allow others to emerge? The initial intention of the work was to document the sound environment during a health emergency. On completing a first field recording I realized that there were technical and communicative challenges in this, to be achieved in a short time. Although it is true that a reduction in signal interference such as traffic allows for clearer listening of the surrounding environment, it is also true that there is an absence, a lack of a multitude of other sound sources. On crossing places, right in the city center, I felt a profound sense of disquiet from the absence of sound spaces. An alternative title to the video might have been “fill the void”. On a second outing with the intention of taking photos in the Valentino Park in Turin, a well-known park in the city, I reflected on the possibility of presenting the public, in these difficult times, a small contribution of images and sound memory of places that are dear to us that couldn’t be seen or heard, where the sound could express the everyday life and sociality that could be rediscovered when respecting the balance with nature. The video intends to emphasize the communicative and expressive capacity of the world of sound and through dissociation between sight and sound underline the high potential offered by listening to the surrounding environment in part dormant, asleep, inactive. The images, taken in April 2020, are accompanied by some sounds recorded in 2012 during a specific project on Soundscapes in an initiative by the Metropolitan City of Turin in collaboration with Arpa Piemonte (Regional Agency for Environmental Protection). The sounds are part of the ICBSA archive – Central Institute of sound and audiovisuals heritage (Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Touristic Activities).


Daniele Grasso graduated in physics at the University of Turin and since 2002 works as a qualified technician in environmental acoustics at Arpa Piemonte (Regional Agency for Environmental Protection). He has co-authored over twenty technical-scientific articles on environmental acoustics and is a member of AIA (Italian Association of Acoustics). In 2012 he takes part in the project entitled “Paesaggi sonori della Provincia di Torino” (Soundscapes in the Province of Turin) gathering, archiving, and communicating the sound of the territory. Thanks to this project he extended his competency on sound-related topics to the broader concept of soundscape. He has promoted projects supported by Arpa, aimed at bringing greater awareness to the act of listening, in particular those regarding environmental education in schools of every category. He organizes and conducts sound walks for the public within environmental initiatives. A passionate photographer and field recorder, in 2020 during the lockdown he conceived the clip, “The sounds (we) are missing”.