Rock Monody, 2016

Audio Installation. In collaboration with opera singer Martin Reisbacher
Special thanks to Marco Jurien and Paul Devens
Venues: Gallery Ron Mandos, Amsterdam (NL), Cacaofabriek Helmond (NL), Academy of Fine Arts Maastricht (NL)

A hike through the Italian Majella mountains in the region of Abruzzo was the starting point of this work. While whistling an Italian lamento, which is a song of grief traditionally sung during funerals in this specific region and written by an unknown composer from Abruzzo in the 19th century, I noticed the stones lying across the area. These were full of little holes which reminded me of mouths, and suddenly I imagined that the lamento was sung by them instead of me. After this moment I decided to go back to Italy to collect one of these stones out of the mountains and bring it to the Netherlands, in order to let it ‘sing’ its own folk song. In order to do so, I worked together with German opera singer Martin Reisbacher.

The lamento has a long tradition in the south of Europe, used to describe the grief someone feels after the death of a loved one. So do stones, since they have been used for centuries to honour the deceased after they have been buried. Standing in a room painted in a shade mimicking the colour of the moss growing on the stone, the singing stone is weeping about his brutal abduction from the Abruzzian mountains, a place where he stood undisturbed for millions of years. In a broader sense, the work formulates a subtile critique on the (colonial) tradition of taking natural objects with oneself to other countries.