Un avatar del diavolo

(2005) two actors and live electronics. Text by Antonin Artaud (“Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu” and other writings, Gallimard Pub.), with a quotation from Visage by Luciano Berio (Universal Edition and courtesy Talia Pecker Berio) [45’]

Premiered at XXLVI Festival Internazionale di Musica Contemporanea, Venezia, September 30th 2005, Arsenale, Teatro Tese delle Vergini)

Project and Music: Roberto Doati

Video: Paolo Pachini (actresses: Marta Paola Richeldi, Shila Anaraki)

Actors on stage: Giorgio Bertan and Marta Paola Richeldi

Stage and Scene Director, text assembler: Giuseppe Emiliani

Light Designer: Mauro Marri

Multimodal System and sensors: InfoMus Lab, DIST-Università di Genova

Stage objects by Charles Eames: vitra

Commissioned by La Biennale di Venezia

Realized with a Fellowship from MacDowell Colony

The term avatar (“misadventure”, but also “metamorphosis”, “incarnation”) is used by Antonin Artaud as subtitle for his last work “Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu” (To have done with the judgement of God). Nowadays avatar is also a virtual double of a human being, a digital alter ego.

So the title wants to indicate the foundations of  my work: the double (God as Lucifer alter ego? Excrements as spirit alter ego?) and digital technology language (Lucifer alter ego?).

Computer technology is my habit of mind, is my double, and I use it here to transform sounds and voices of the two characters (Giorgio Bertan and Marta Paola Richeldi), always on the borderline between logocentrism and melocentrism. I use it to project the sounds into the real space through 10 loudspeakers. «To make metaphysics of the spoken language means […] to break it up and to project it dynamically into the space». I make use of the gestures on the stage, as well as the three screens video projection, capturing them with EyesWeb (InfoMus Lab , DIST-Genova University) and mapping them to synthesis and processing data. Thanks to this technology I can easily realize a full interaction between sounds, signs and actions, combining them in order to make an effective language: the theatre. «Instead to confine these dissonances to one sense area, we will let them go through all the senses, from a colour to a sound, from a single word to a light, from some gestures trepidation to a plain surface of sounds etc. etc.».

An example is given in the 4th scene when the actor is caressing a chair and according the gesture quality, “recognized” by the chair, the actress voice will be affected, also generating different kinds of sigh: desire, pleasure, anguish. On the stage there are three objects to interact with: a chair and a screen by Charles Eames (courtesy Vitra), and a Polish radio, all from the 40s of XX Century.

The choice of such an important text by Artaud is motivated by the will to bring it back to its original context which is so close to the work of Pierre Schaeffer. Artaud was commissioned by the French Radio to create a recorded work, but its broadcasting was prohibited (as well as the later Visage by Luciano Berio, heard in the 5th scene, thanks to Universal Edition and Talia Pecker Berio). On Sept. 4th 1948, six months after Artaud’s death, the Director of Radiodiffusion Française Wladimir Porché, who was responsible for the censorship over “Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu”, open the CER, the experimental radio broadcasting center that can be considered the birthplace of the latter Groupe de recherche de musique concrète.

The scene

Two actors on stage.

Three objects: a chair and a screen by Charles Eames (courtesy Vitra), a Polish radio, all from the Forties of XX Century. The chair has 3 hidden microphones to keep track of the gestures over it, the screen has proximity sensors to keep track of the movement around it, the radio has 2 MIDI knobs, 1 MIDI switch and proximity sensors to keep track of the movement around it.

All the information coming from the object is transformed into MIDI signal and used to control the live electronics transformation of the voices.

The videos are projected over 3 screens: two up above the scene, one on the stage.

A scheme of the Venezia stage is included here.


Charles Eames plywood chair, 1946 (Courtesy vitra.)
Charles Eames plywood screen, 1946 (Courtesy vitra.)
Polish radio from the Forties.

Allegoria dell’opinione verbale

(2000) one actress, electronics and EyesWeb interactive system.

Text by Gianni Revello [10’]

Premiered at Stagione Gran Teatro La Fenice, Teatro Malibran, Venezia, September 26th 2001

Actress: Francesca Faiella

Sound projection and EyesWeb: Roberto Doati

The collection of texts by Gianni Revello from which I have drawn those for this work, provides a free choice, both in number and in order, for its reading / execution. The execution can consist of plain reading, not emphatic, or as you wish, or even assume, with any modality, musical form, or even assume any form: visual, scenic, any other communication code. In making this choice, I made a journey through names, places, themes of my life that I have often shared with Revello. I certainly haven’t built a story with characters immersed in a dramaturgy. My goal was to make evident the occult non-sense of a life without betraying its incongruity.

The protagonist is alone on the stage and she pronounces these names, places, themes, as if she sees them inside herself, as if she remembers them, remembers having known them, lived them. But with the awareness of the inevitability of these images disappearing with every word, every name pronounced. She can’t help but describe them, but she knows that while she does it about her the inner world of her disappears, for this reason she observes herself as she speaks, observes the emptiness that is in her, and that she herself is creating while speak out. This is why she struggles with her split voice: with the movement of her lips she tries to stop her, slows it down, accelerates it, overturns it, deforms it so that reality through the meaning of the word does not come out of her. He knows that reality is an excrement of the spirit (Antonin Artaud), and that describing it is as if she were evacuating. But eventually we realize that herself has meanwhile been filled with the “fat seeds” of our credulity (i grassi semi della credulità). In a sort of cannibalism, she therefore feeds on the listener’s spirituality, on her disappointment: it is enough to continue living (È sufficiente.).

During the performance the actress is seated in front of a TV monitor, looking at herself, but also the audience is looking to her on the stage and what she is looking at as her face is projected on a big screen.

I realized the work using EyesWeb, a software realized by DIST (Laboratory of Musical Informatics-University of Genova). With the help of DIST engineers I prepared a patch that follow the lips (blue coloured) of the actress, sending through MIDI interface to a Csound orchestra informations concerning the height, the width and the area of mouth openness. The small movements are controlling some parameters during the live re-synthesis of the same actress voice to obtain a double of her (the Phase Vocoder analysis files are stored on a computer). So sometimes you hear the “second” voice speaking backwards words, while the actress is just moving the lips. The lips movements can control the speed and the pitch of the “second” voice and as well as 50 bandpass filters and 50 delay applied to the frequency component of the voice.

Allegoria dell’opinione verbale, preliminary studies. Actress: Francesca Faiella.


The text is taken from the anthology ”Il titolo a piacere segue le note” by Gianni Revello

The bold letters indicate the happening of a more or less extraneous event

Se s’immagina che racconto la mia vita
solo per far passare il tempo a qualcuno.
Ancora quattro settimane prima ero una creatura.
Polvere di marmo, calore, fatica,
fulmini, tuoni. Scuotono gli orecchi-ni-chelati.
E corse a casa con la testa in fiamme. Questo è il Lavoro!
Pace. Si guarda il polsino,
che cosa sta facendo quell’ape che indugia attorno alla mia scarpa?

Biologia e computer.
Immaginiamo una città enorme,
in cui ogni casa abbia diecimila linee telefoniche,
che la connettono con diecimila altre case,
che se ne stanno a loro volta su banchi di corallo inestesi
non fuori del comune.
Come emerge dalle pubblicazioni popolari
“A proposito, come stai a denaro?”
il divario tra ciò che una cosa è
e cosa non è
tromba divien l’oggetto ov’ei risoffia.
se gioca un bluff, posso giocarlo anch’io,
in che consiste la differenza?

Io, UUUUU, dico per esempio:
ora, appoggiato a un pilastro,
emetterò da più fonti ottantotto grida altissime
e un bisbiglio
al centro della sala
lascia cadere giù i due sacchi.
Urla, fischi, trombette.
Non mi sembra che vi sia un nesso.

Venezia ciclopica immobile
scimmia dalla fisionomia sua mimetica
forata da poche finestre le gambe deformi
s’impone, puttanangola, a esempio edificante
l’uomo che ha sognato l’Atlantide
l’ha fatta anche scomparire

Il privilegio della coincidenza in Heisenberg,
trasmesso per calli e tempeste,
compare nelle lezioni di scienza divulgativa.

La fisica ha un’affinità
con l’inutile chiamata in una bizzarra commedia notturna.
Nulla scassinato all’alba.

Il fascino del vecchio attore, lo zoccolo.
La gioventù, lente le spalle,
che esige la palude del sapere.

che comporre un titolo segreto
per voci, tromba fitta, frutti cavi
dà da

L’intellettuale ha una resistenza alla scelta del bagno
parallela a quella per la conversazione.
Sicuro inverno, bagno modesto.

Il silenzio, per TTT, è aberrante.
Comporre a misura d’ape,
lo strepito della fantascienza
– odori seducenti.

In mezzo agli strumenti,
la musica,
partecipa da lontano, media,
per un pezzo bendato, non sospesa.

M gira,
vagamente nervoso,
alla riva
contempla l’infinito,
allegoria dell’opinione

Circa nove mesi dopo
cadde in un sonno profondo, sulfureo.
L’inattività delle infiorescenze,
la linea squisita del mento e del collo,
brezza, etere, deriva.
Rapidamente diminuì il suo vocabolario.
Tra angeli di marmo,
fece un cenno al figlio, si turbò.
In breve tempo le buone leggi lo snervarono.
Dal microfono
a strattoni,
un eccentrico motivo
color rosso scuro.

Il respiro della vallata, a ponente,
bianchi rosicchiando anni, ordini,
sospeso, interrogativo, d’impermeabile.
VV riavvolto
chiama la musica del possibile
il genere pagato.
Lo diverte.
La tela di profilo.

Basta lacrime.
Il monte inginocchiato alla vallata.
Le feste lunari hanno il sapore sbattuto delle musiche moderne.
RR non ne capiva il canto, il respiro.

Un momento.
Ritmo a balzi.
Lo spazio del classico.
Comprensione infantile, favolosa. PP.

Da un pezzo
il lettore sperpera i grassi semi della credulità
mentre brucia di delusione.
È sufficiente.