Genius Loci: soundscape and globalization

An audio-visual project on the city soundscape

Mario D’Andreta: concept and audio

Luca Criscuolo: Video

In Roman mythology a genius loci was the protective spirit of a place. It was often depicted as a snake. In contemporary usage, “genius loci” usually refers to a location’s distinctive atmosphere, or a “spirit of place“, rather than necessarily a guardian spirit (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

génìus, m. genio (=generator of life;, protective spirit of every man who watched over him from birth to death, taking part to his joys and sorrows, and disappeared together with him. As every person, so every place, every city, every state, everything had its own patron genius.)

The project “Genius Loci” was conceived in 2006 with the aim of exploring the interaction between man and his environment within the contemporary patterns of life in a globalized world.

This work can be placed within the perspective of human ecology, with artistic, as well as social and political intent of drawing attention to the effects of this interaction, in terms of quality of life and environmental sustainability.

Genius Loci” offers an experience of perception somewhat whispered, in an oneiric and evocative atmosphere: an attempt of spiritual solicitation of sensibility dulled under the burden of the cultural dominion of technology.

In front of the hectic rhythm of the citizens’ and tourists’ movements and gestures, the history and the spirit of the place (genious loci), symbolized by the figures of ghosts, gain life and shape. The movements of the marble, thus, represent the act of creation: the self-transcending tendency of the art that shapes the sonic matter in the final search of silence, conceivable as the moment of self-awareness.

For this purpose, we made use of audio and video field recordings, properly manipulated in order to explore, through an effect of estrangement, symbolic dimensions of everyday-life experience, beyond the “apparently evident”.

Storyboard: a journey in seven steps

  1. Searching for the genius: the silence of the veiled statues and animated fountains
  2. technology and perception of reality: cameras in the crowded square of the ancient metropolis
  3. Urban siege: a walk through the city
  4. Fall of myths: crumbling of matter
  5. Mirror of consciousness: reflections on the water
  6. Research of new forms: geometrical pulsations
  7. Silent look: views on city traffic

Watch the video:


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