Restare (with Francesco Fonassi)



The site-specific sound installation by Francesco Fonassi and Fabio Perletta was born from a reflection on the space hosting it: the dormitory of the workers inside the old oil mill of Palazzo Casamarte, in the heart of Loreto Aprutino. 

The space, characterised by a visible architectural partition, differs from the rest of the building because of its strong domestic identity around which the two artists have together built a sound artwork based on the study of frequencies inherent to the place. The two tracks meld to become a sole body and to overcome the structural confines, imposing themselves on the space as an immaterial presence.

In the lower half, a group of everyday objects act as a frame for the sounds of Fabio Perletta who is interested in small, almost imperceptible frequencies, inspired by Japanese culture and Zen aesthetics which invites us to return to the essential elements of existence. His reflection is based on the recovery of a (biological) rhythm long since lost to the current generations; he uses symbolic objects to convey the message, such as an old grindstone associated to the shape of a Tsukubai washbasin (from tsukubau, “to bend” in English, as an act of humility), a basin placed at the entrance of sacred places in Japan, used also in the tea ceremony for the ritual washing of the hands and the rinsing of the mouth. For the occasion, the artist proposes ‘primitive’ sounds recalling a rhythm, a pulsation, something ancestral manifested repeatedly.

In the upper area, Francesco Fonassi steps in, in close contact with the surface upon which the workers would lay down to sleep after long hours of labour. With a sound source emerging from the dark background, the room becomes the emanation of peasant memory; the artist uses a fragment of Cujë la livë, a traditional song about olive harvesting, registered by the ethnomusicologist Carlo Di Silvestre in 1995 and performed by singers from the Gran Sasso. The sound samples, processed by Fonassi, superimposed and stratified, traverse a ‘hyper-vocal’ situation until reaching darker and more filtered crepuscular sonorities.

Fatigue, work, an inseparable bond with nature, frugality and the simple life that our grandfathers led belong to a remote past that today seems even further away, manifesting itself in the form of these distant echoes.

Text by NOW (New Operation Wave)


I placed the speaker exactly where the Japanese tsukubai shows the kanji 唯, which means only, ordinary, common, usual​, referring to the simplicity of the mill workers’ life.

“In Japan, a tsukubai (蹲踞) is a washbasin provided at the entrance to holy places for visitors to purify themselves by the ritual washing of hands and rinsing of the mouth. This type of ritual cleansing is the custom for guests attending a tea ceremony or visiting the grounds of a Buddhist temple. The name originates from the verb tsukubau meaning ‘to bow down’, an act of humility. Tsukubai are usually of stone, and are often provided with a small scoop, laid across the top, ready for use. A supply of water is provided via a bamboo pipe called a kakei. The kanji written on the surface of the stone are without significance when read alone. If each is read in combination with 口 (kuchi) – the shape of the central bowl – then the characters become 吾, 唯, 足, 知 which translates literally as “I only know plenty” (吾 = ware = I, 唯 = tada = only, 足 = taru = plenty, 知 = shiru = know). The underlying meaning, variously translated as “what one has is all one needs”, or “learn only to be content” reflects the basic anti-materialistic teachings of Buddhism”. – Wikipedia


2 speakers
Audio player

Duration: 6’25’’, loop

Exhibition History

Group Exhibition

Palazzo Casamarte, Loreto Aprutino (IT)

8 July — 8 September 2017
Curated by NOW (New Operation Wave)


The event is held in conjunction with a permanent site-specific installation by Alvin Curran titled Pian de Pian Piano, curated by Zerynthia at No Man’s Land, and the exhibition of the English landscape photographer Michael Kenna, promoted and organized by the Loreto Aprutino Civic Museum Foundation, curated by Vincenzo de Pompeis.

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