The Artist’s Violoncello (2016) is an innovative sonification project of a sculpture by Enrico Benetta, created by Prof. Giorgio Klauer, a lecturer in new musical languages, in collaboration with Sebastiano Aleo, Mattia Bernardi, Francesco Dani, Eric Guizzo and Nicola Sanguin.
Cellist Fernando Sartor’s idea to sonify a sculpture commissioned from Enrico Benetta led to the realization of a project shared with other artists, all students at the Padova Conservatory at the time. The project was developed as part of the Sonic Interaction Design teaching.
The sonification is therefore artistic in nature and was designed based on the attributes of the sculpture, such as the size, colour, symbolic significance and the environmental and cultural characteristics of the site – the valley of an historic settlement among the Asolan hills.
The sculpture acts at the same time as a clock and a weather station: the environmental climatic information is recorded on a computer in a control centre located nearby. The data captured is used continuously by the sound synthesis devices used for sonification, performed regularly at different time intervals, in such a way as to mark the progress of time throughout the day, thereby indicating the climatic changes. Other sonification consists of the real time mixing of pre-recorded cello sounds and musical compositions for the same instrument – rather like a carillon. This sonification is also triggered by the visitors’ haptic interactions (sound or manual actions) with the sculpture. Loudspeakers and sensors are invisible and located inside the sculpture.
This extraordinary combination of arts not only makes the Artist’s Violoncello a beautiful object to look at, but also something very pleasant to listen to.