For the past few months, Luca Nasciuti has been an artist in residence with RSPB Scotland through a project supported by the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities. During his time with us, Luca has been developing a two-part installation called Domestic.Green. the first part of which can been experienced at The Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow this Saturday (September 3). The second part will run at RSPB Scotland Inversnaid on September 10. This is what Luca had to say about his work. 

My work as a composer involves the use of recorded sound, often that of the sonic environment. I use those recordings to produce music, installations, soundtracks for films, theatre, and dance.

Since I started my PhD I have been researching urban and rural landscape. In this body of work I particularly looked at silence and noise and how these are understood subjectively. This is because every person hears and listens differently than others, and the whole experience of ‘being in an environment’ places the subject in its centre. While I wondered through mountainous paths in Scotland and a lava field in Iceland I came to understand that my listening was directed to different intensities of noise. Sounds are grouped in a portion of listening space and form a layer of noise that expands time and space, it oscillates between the present listening experience and the link we make with memory of sounds from the past and other geographies we have encountered.

In February this year, I visited RSPB Scotland Inversnaid, and my introductory visit allowed me to get an overview of the place and the work being carried out in the area. RSPB Scotland is engaging in many areas of conservation of wildlife and I got to know the many challenges they are facing in trying to reintroduce wildlife. This involves careful planning and consideration to change the landscape into a more balanced ecosystem.

My recording sessions in Inversnaid were heavily influenced by this awareness. I walked the paths that tourists would walk on and listened to the impact urban planning has there. All along Loch Lomond the sound of road traffic on the other shore is the most significant perceptible source, especially in winter when the wildlife is asleep. This all changes in spring with fully sprung vegetation, green canopy and bird migrations - let’s not forget midges - creating a filter that keeps the sound of traffic a bit more in the distance. The more I walked the more I noticed slight changes in the soundscape based on my position in the land, the morphology of the area, whether I was along a path or on top of a hill. I started to imagine what the area would look and sound like once the woodland will be fully grown. RSPB Scotland is designing a new space for wildlife. It is a project that ‘brings nature back’ by creating something new.

I’ve looked into many avenues to try and think of a type of work that would fit either in this area or would use elements of it. I thought of a dance piece outdoors, and interactive installation, a piece of music. But how and why would I put sound back into the soundscape? How my intervention can be relevant to an environment that already exists. Do I add sounds the sound that is there? Or I simply just go away with a recording of it? I was hesitant, for it is difficult to sustainably engage with the space without disrupting it, even if briefly, momentarily.

The sonic landscape I work with is represented by the whole range of frequency in the spectrum. When I analysed the recordings I took I found there were areas in the spectrum that offer space to fit sound in and complement the environment as opposed to disrupting it. This seemed to be a good method to encourage listening to the present while imagining the future and at the same time maintaining a distinction between what is there and what is being manufactured for the place i.e. nature and my impact on it. This is a very similar process to that of restoration. If we look at the Parthenon is Athens for instance we can clearly spot which parts of the temple are reconstructed. Similarly I imagine a sound that would coexist with the current soundscape but with a totally different nature; similar in the rhythms, some melodies perhaps but a technological product nonetheless. This is a contrast always perceptible.

 Ultimately this work will form a dialogue. It talks about our ways of listening to the environment, our way of engaging with it in a much broader sense, our way of preserving, reviving and engaging with it.

I’ve tried to tie this idea further into an urban landscape as well. With the many projects the RSPB runs in different cities this looked like an opportunity to try and investigate the link between rural and urban wildlife. While in Inversnaid we see woodlands, trails, moors, lakes and everything vast, it seems that urban environments are forests of bricks, steel and glass. Nature in the city is gardens, parks, and canals. Everything is designed and contained. Nature seems to be most at risk and in competition with anything that is not green. This of course would lead into a complex and complicated investigation of public policies, politics and economics so for the moment let’s just focus on the how we, the public, engage with the urban landscape. Maybe green spaces in cities can be seen as an extension of our domestic space. We enjoy a walk in the park, we get some fresh air, have a picnic, sit down on a bench and relax. This becomes part of our home. We make these places our own.  But where do these spaces sit in the biggest design of our brick-forest? How do we relate to this dichotomy that is so much part of our ordinary conversations; cities vs nature?

It is my intention to work with these ideas and bringing these opposites closer through my work. I’m trying to find similarities in these polarities. How different is a bird song from a car horn? How do we read signals that help us navigate through the environment we live in? I’m trying to get us to notice where we are in the present and what surrounds us in the many paths we take each day in our extended homes.

Pictures by Luca Nasciuti, Tom Marshall and Doug Shapley. 

To find out more about the habitat work taking place at Inversnaid, visit http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/seenature/reserves/guide/i/inversnaid/work.aspx

To find out more about Glasgow WIldfest visit http://www.rspb.org.uk/whatwedo/scotland/glasgow/wildlifegardenfestival/index.aspx

More information on Luca can be found here www.lucanasciuti.com

His field recordings can be heard here https://soundcloud.com/lqaz/sets/rspb-residency

And the video preview of his work is here https://vimeo.com/175928221

Luca's work Domestic.Green. will be open at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum on Saturday, September 3 from 10am - 5pm. Luca will also be leading a sound walk in Kelvingrove Park at 2pm. For more information, contact gnahg@rspb.org.uk or tweet us @RSPBGlasgow.

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