ARCA KERCIS / Patagonia Chile

ARCA KERCIS / Patagonia Chile

Maison de l’Architecture in Geneva 

is a video-sound art project, developed during an artistic residence in Patagonia (2020)

Presented by the Maison de l’Architecture in Geneva at the Temple de Plainpalais

A 3 day trip along the Strait of Magellan in Patagonia, on board on a boat among the glaciers in the south of the world, becomes an opportunity for a new sound research and for its formalization in a project. 

The boat is equipped with strings and springs. The maritime vessel  becomes a sound device sailing the sea and resounding in the air. It is led by the artist and unpredictable in its comparison and dialogue with nature. The device, designed and tuned by the artist, establishes a dialogue with a place without the permanent presence of man. A suspended natural landscape.

The artist acts directly on the strings placed on the bow of the boat. Performer and improviser faces an unusual instrument; a wind (an aeolian) harp sailing on the sea. It does not only suffer wind action but meets it.

He pinches the strings, as usual with another traditional musical instrument, the violin, also equipped with strings that produces sound through the vibration of them.

He moves on the bow of the boat looking for subtle and deep sonorities, new and hidden, activating a dialogue with nature and its forces.

The human being overwhelmed by intellect performs sound together with the wind, also a performer, devoid of intellect but dominating the existence of man.

Librio seeks a man’s original condition, conscious of nature’s dominion over man, and disposed to the loss of intellect, in an attempt to accord himself to nature.

The springs, another resonant element to the wind and pinched by the artist, soft and flexible, they sway and contract. Looks like an extension of the wind, boneless arms. 

The sound returns to the strings placed on the bow of the boat, and then return to them, determining a circularity of sound, which even if answered to a question would propose a new one, and so endless, as the gaze on the horizon of man alludes.

The result is a visual and sound composition that refers to a temporal suspension, where an imaginative suggestion crosses the time of the place. 

The resonance of the strings leads back to an echo of past presences of indigenous men, as voices of a past so far but so present at the same time. 

The springs generate a violent and shrill sound, carrying the suggestions of the past into a future already present; the impression of the drama of a man who, even though does not directly contaminate the place, is able to influence the results of its change.

Arca Kercis was a good spirit of the nomadic tribe of the Kawésqar, Natives of South America. According to their tradition, their God gave support to the shipwrecked through food, water and timber in case of shipwreck. The Kawésqar had a sensitive relationship with the natural world they lived in. It was an animist tribe devoted to navigation as a medium to get in touch themselves with their ancestors.  

Ennio Pellicanó

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