Piet-Jan van Rossum

[photo: Petra van der Schoot]

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alle terre assenti, 2002

Violin, piano, 4-channel audio, 4 loudspeakers, film, 33m 0s

NFS

"The unknown boy who is dredged up from the Venetian canals 
wears a blissful smile on his lips. Apparently he didn't mind drowning, and from the bottom of the canal listened to the bells of San Marco and the footsteps of the living, filtered...

Who wants to die in bed, when one can die on Incurable Quay?"

The acoustic material consists of a group of 4 chords in all kinds of transpositions, mutations, successions, and a lullaby, mainly played with natural harmonics on violin.

For the electric material I decided to use an amateur recording from 1954, with concrete sounds from the city of Venice, of which I have distilled fragments of ± 3 seconds:

1. a whistling worker on his way to work, early in the morning; the recording starts with the tape slipping, which causes the melody to begin with a huge swerve...

2. a stroke of San Marco's clock followed by 3 short footsteps...

This material, after going through 11 modulations, is brought into play as an 11-tone sequence. To state the obvious: not as an atmospheric component, but as a full-blown theme.

Last of all, I use white noise accumulations, blown up with the static noise from a 1950's mono tape recorder, deliberately aged with snaps and clicks, in other words: small sound icons...

I chose to work with a combination of passacaille, lullaby and procession (slow march).. These three are welded together into a hallucinating, rolling process of treading and going – maybe in a straight line, but with wobbly steps all the same — causing a slight feeling of drunkenness; an unpleasant feeling, but presented so voluptuously, there's no escape... The mix of sweetness and malice is compressed in every beat; the work is a Lorelei...

This work was meant to be cerebral and procession-like. 'Alle terre assenti' starts in Venice with the procession of the relic of the Holy Cross on San Marco square, but ends with a small salute to the unknown, drowned worker, or as you wish, with the gondola carrying Donald Sutherland's corpse away (Roeg).

At times, the composition is accompanied by video images, made with footage from 1954, filmed in Venice with a handheld amateur camera.
The video work was made by visual artist Petra van der Schoot, in close collaboration. The film is exactly synchronized with the sound; both should complement each other.

Artworks by Piet-Jan van Rossum

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