1km of iron, 12 tons of weight, 64 metres of length, 4 metres of height, over 320 tubular bells, 900 meters of stainless steel strings - East End Studios, Milan, 21 June 2017

“Open Fence, 12 tons of sound: taking inspiration from the futurist concerts, inaugurates the biggest sound sculpture ever realized in Italy, opera by the artist Yuval Avital, in which the public will be able to play next to professional musicians.” 

(Rolling Stone magazine, June 2017, Italy)

 

“The Israeli composer aims to transform a closing barrier into a welcome opening, that goes beyond the physical fence thanks to a unique combination of art, architecture and sound.”

(Design Calendar.Com, June 2017, Italy)

 

“1km of iron, 12 tons of weight, 64 metres of length, 4 metres of height, over 320 tubular bells, 900 meters of stainless steel strings: the new artistic adventure of Yuval Avital bears the name of Open Fence, one of the biggest sound sculptures ever realized” 

(Interni magazine, June 2017, Italy)

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1km of iron, 12 tons of weight, 64 metres of length, 4 metres of height, over 320 tubular bells, 900 meters of stainless steel strings: the new artistic adventure of Yuval Avital bears the name of Open Fence, one of the biggest sound sculptures ever realized in Italy. Starting from an iron fence realized by designer Mario Milana, the multimedia artist and composer Yuval Avital has transformed this architectural object in an instrument playable by everybody, musicians and non-musicians alike, inviting the public to become performer of a collective sound ritual on the day of the solstice of summer, 21 June, in the heart of the exhibition spaces of the East End Studios.

 

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In 1914 the Teatro dal Verme in Milan opened the series of “great futurist concerts” by Luigi Russolo, during which the internationally acclaimed composer directed 18 “intonarumori” - machines he himself realized to recreate gurgles, howls, buzzes, hisses, etc. - with the intention of “conquering that infinite variety of "sounds-noises” and thus amplifying the artistic and sensorial reach of modern music. Shortly after a century from this great musical event, the East End Studios inaugurate the transformation made by Avital of an iron fence into an imposing sonic instrument. The collaboration between the Israeli composer and the Milanese architectural complex started in 2014, when Avital was working on Reka, his icon-sonic opera for vocal crowds set up in the East End Studios, and continued in 2015 with Alma Mater, the biggest visual installation ever realized in Italian history, of which the Studios prepared the staging. Open Fence marks the beginning of a new a chapter of this fruitful collaboration, a chapter started when Avital, struck by the artistic and musical potential of the iron fence, proposed to the East End Studios to turn it into a massive sound sculpture.

 

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In Open Fence, a project born out of the meeting between architecture, art, ethic and aesthetic, Avital used sound to transform the ontology of the “fence” from a closing barrier to a welcoming opening. Sound thus becomes the bridge and resource to produce art accessible to everybody, independently of the cultural background, musical knowledge or age of the public, giving therefore life to a multisensorial and immersive interdisciplinary continuum.

The sound event offered the public the possibility to take part into a collective ritual during which everybody simultaneously played Open Fence at the two sides of the railing, with professional musicians relying on complex musical scores and the general public following easy guidelines. The performance therefore included both an ensemble of percussionists and a Crowd Music Ensemble (the term “crowd music”, coined by Avital in 2011, refers to the ‘crowd’ as a massive anti-choir and is based on the active involvement of a big heterogeneous public that includes musicians and non-musicians alike, guided by graphic and verbal scores of easy understanding): the first performeds a complex score of 15 patterns of 5 notes; the second ensemble, made of a group of volunteers that took an active participation at the performance, played the iron tubes of the fence through a complex mechanism of handles and weights, following guidelines so easy that even a child could read them.

 

The duration of the performance of this imposing sound sculpture may vary from a minimum of 25 minutes to a maximum of 24 hours: in the case of 21 June, it started at 7pm and ended at 9pm.