During the harvest I usually work in a winery close to my town. I work along with some fellows from the village where I grew up; it is a very well paid job because of the incredible amount of hours of daily work, six days per week. I get in around 09 am and I get out between 11pm and midnight. It is a grueling job, with old-style methods and obsolete machines.
The winery itself is a building from the late 50’s, currently left alone. In the recent past it was bought by a real estate company but the investment projects of re-building the lot failed because of legal troubles.The land trust within I work is allowed to use the courtyard for the grape withdrawal and a small indoor area for the pressing process of white grapes.
My task is to manage the pressing-machines, I usually work alone in the winery; the building is huge, mainly empty, run-down, left at itself. The winery-work area’s occupies at most the 10% of the entire space. The machines are incredibly noisy and louder, they never stop; the grape must obtained is transferred, through pumps and long tubes, into tanks.
The sound of the pressing machines and of the grape must transfer process is complex and it is magnified by the emptiness of the building (and the absence of other human activities beside mine).The winery contains 120 empty tanks; each tank has two hatches as two thresholds leading into the internal volume and to internal activity in the tanks; they are incredibly responsive to sounds, they are actually rooms in which the sound’s energy collected is then enhanced and played back to the outside.
I have never heard anything like that before.
I have never realized how much a space can react to a simple impulse and how much it can contain sounds while accumulating power.
The entire sound of the space is something with which I have to fight in order to sustain my body.
I discovered during those days That being really tired can offer many possibilities to the improving of perception because, on one hand, to work for such a long duration loosens the rational critical control and places the experience in a position of greater opening to the flow of the events and, on the other hand, the entire body is kept in an effort of attention. To work is to accomplish a task. It needs many efforts so that tasks can be accomplished. By and large, it implies first an effort of attention, for avoiding to hurt yourself; it is a kind of attention that slightly deals with the idea of surviving.
In this “surviving” attention, suddenly, I found this space as a companion, as an enemy, as an amplifier, as something extra-ordinary and multiple in its power of being; due to the incredibly amount of place’s affordances I started to listen to how this place continuously creates strong emphasis for each acoustic basic phenomenon (such as echo, reverb, absorption, filtering, decay…) giving me the chance to
approach all of them unintentionally: it was just not possible to avoid that acoustical exposition.
Vasche Vuote | Vasche Piene | Pressatura Uva | Rulli e Coclea Esterna | Eco “Ragazzini” | Frigor
Listening journal of harvests 2015 and 2016 will be available soon.