Lara Dâmaso & Raffaela Naldi Rossano “Undomesticated Voices” at Istituto Svizzero, Milan

ByMary E. Alvarez

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For me, the artistic functions of Lara Dâmaso and Raffaela Naldi Rossano are related to the sea. From Raffaela’s residing place in the Bay of Naples, the sea looks so close (and Mount Vesuvius looms behind it—snow-capped on my past take a look at in February) and when I consider of Lara’s work, not only does her voice ring in my ears, so do the waves of the Portuguese Atlantic.
So, we have the sea, and the water. Let us start off below and solution these undomesticated voices coming from the sea. In Lara’s online video perform Saudade, we see the sea from time to time, and we often hear the hurry and roar of the water hitting the rocks of the coast. Raffaela has captured the motion of the waves in her drawings presented in mirror frames, while the voices, themes and stories of her research are strongly educated by a journey the artist produced across the water: from Napoli, above a variety of stops, to the Castalian Spring around Delphi—by sailboat. Now we are all of a sudden surrounded by figures and voices from mythology. I am imagining of the earth goddess Gaia, at the time worshipped by the cult in Delphi, and of Pythia, the priestess and oracle of Delphi, who is place into a trance-like point out by the gases escaping from a fissure in the earth. I feel of the sirens (frequently depicted as hybrid creatures, a combination of human and bird or human and fish) who, as ancient myths would have it, dwell on cliffs and develop into rocks immediately after their dying. Lara presses herself against the dark, slippery, from the water marked stone in Saudade. In which the sea meets the mainland, the place the actions of the water condition the landscape, we occasionally discover ourselves on uncertain ground, in ambiguous terrain. The siren Parthenope (in Homer’s Odyssey, the sirens have been still anonymous) is mentioned to have washed ashore in the Bay of Napoli. It is she who gave the city its initial name. Raffaela tells me a seaside on the Sorrento coastline is associated with this (mythological) event and is now a cruising zone. It is an ambiguous room for figures (sirens, gay adult males, unruly women of all ages with loud voices?) who are often marginalized in Western, male, white narratives. An ambiguous place involving land and water, an ambiguous space the place points can be rethought. Cultural theorist Astrida Neimanis reminds us not only that we after arrived from h2o but also of the watery constitution of our bodies and all residing things: “We are all bodies of h2o. […] As watery, we knowledge ourselves less as isolated entities, and a lot more as oceanic eddies.” Permeable membranes, pleasant parasitic coexistence of dwelling beings, with and in each and every other. And the flowing collectively of occidental notions of identities and relations.
With “Undomesticated Voices”, Lara Dâmaso and Raffaela Naldi Rossano build a fluid place where tales are retold, the place voices overlap in polyphony, and where ancient and archaic rituals are reimagined and subverted in a feminist way. Diverse threads interweave their is effective, spinning strands of reference to drinking water, bodies and voices. Feminine voices, as the poet and philologist Anne Carson describes in her essay The Gender of Sound, normally have detrimental connotations in Greek and Roman mythology: gals were supposed to be silent, their mouths shut meanwhile, screaming, crying, wailing, or shrieking was some thing only girls did. The two artists trace these feminine voices, these undomesticated, unruly voices, in mythology and the current. In the performative audio function A rating for different paths to a polyphony formulated primarily for this exhibition, Lara Dâmaso explores the connections among voice, human body and actions and the choices established by the system to condition one’s voice. Her understanding of the cultural connotation of voices resonates as significantly as her teaching in classical ballet, the place properly trained postures and breathing methods just about paralyze the voice and wherever the graphic of the silent, swish dancer is dominant. At the exact time, the operate also feeds on her biography and the experience of often currently being a little bit as well noisy as a boy or girl of Portuguese immigrants in silent Switzerland. With a poetic score— “I open up my mouth and engage with the stream”— the artist offers open up recommendations for a efficiency that usually takes place 6 instances during the exhibition. The voices of the 6 diverse performers accumulate into a polyphonic choir. Raffaela Naldi Rossano’s installation of ceramic and marble objects, a report player and a dubplate, marzipan cash and other objects is informed by a journey across the drinking water, as outlined above. Jointly with two accomplices, Raffaela travelled in 2020 from Naples to the Temple of Hera (Hera was both equally sister and wife of Zeus) in Capo Colonna in Calabria to Finibus Terrae in Apulia, the place a temple to Minerva after stood to Dodona in north-western Greece, viewed as just one of the oldest Hellenistic oracle sites and was likely as soon as committed to the goddess Dione to Lefkada in the Ionian Sea, in which, in accordance to legend, the Greek poetess Sappho leaned from the white rocks into the sea to Delphi and (unexpectedly) to Tinos and the temple of Amphitrite, the queen of the seas. The journey, according to Raffaela, was a type of initiation ceremony, a momentary collective echoing that of the a few sirens, Parthenope, Ligeia and Leukosia. A journey in lookup of forgotten, concealed or silenced voices. Traces and voices of this journey were being preserved by the artist on a dubplate—a kind of a person-off history in which the audio material is lower in authentic time into the disc and consequently has a fairly small everyday living span. The soundtrack is dependent on a text improvisation with two voices mirroring each and every other, published by Raffaela in English and Italian and carried out by her and her journey companion, the performer and singer Chiara Orefice.
According to the artist, the piece is a hymn to friendship and sisterhood, to relationships of friendship, enjoy and treatment. We can listen to the dubplate on the history participant that once belonged to her grandmother (who rebelled from the German profession as a youthful female and afterwards confidently went her possess way, Raffaela says). Daylight demonstrates in the frames of the drawings, while the colored gentle reflections on the exhibition partitions. As hybrid creatures, a cross concerning owls (is not it Minerva who is constantly accompanied by an owl?) and cats, the ceramic sculptures refer to two animal figures that ended up generally companions of feminine figures and goddesses in the Archaic and Classical durations. At the same time, they remind me of the urgency of all species residing jointly, and they invoke a really personal knowledge for Raffaela, who, during the months of the lockdown, lived by yourself with her cat Hydra (from whom she discovered a large amount about existence), her Iphone (some of the omissions in the ceramic sculptures are accurately cellphone size) and the sea. 
In the 2nd exhibition area, Lara Dâmaso’s movie Saudade plays in a loop. The voice attracts me in. It is the singing, plaintive and also screaming voice of the artist. Saudade is a word that is practically untranslatable—we could get in touch with it melancholy or longing—describing a form of Portuguese nostalgia, sung in particular in fado and usually by feminine singers. Originating in the very poor neighbourhoods of Lisbon, fado took on nationalist undertones and was politically instrumentalized under Salazar’s dictatorship. In Saudade, Lara combines body and actions in an try to locate a wild, untamed voice, a voice that breaks with notions of how a lady should really speak. With Lara’s loud, lovely, unsettling voice in my ear, I consider of the sirens, the seem of the sea, my watery physique, and the reality that it is up to me, up to us, to make your mind up which voices we want to give space to, which voices we want to remember, to get rid of ourselves in the polyphonic refrain of these undomesticated voices. 

— Gioia Dal Molin 

At Istituto Svizzero, Milan
till June 6, 2022


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