Marco Donnarumma pushes boundaries. The performer uses his body to express thoughts, sentiments and fears.
What your body can do? It can breathe, sweat, pulsate, bleed, cry, jump, walk and run, stay still, wait, think, feel and perceive, see, touch, smell, read, write and learn, communicate, surprise, seduce, entertain, love, die and become ashes. Action, sensation, self-perception, cognition, awareness, and dream states, all bodies have the same potential yet each realizes it in a unique way, and in doing so it brings forth the world. The way we understand our body changes the way the world unfolds before us. So what is human nature?
I am a performer. I work with bodies. Often times it is my own body, other times I use multiple bodies. I perform them, write about and tinker with them. I use flesh, movement, metaphors and circuits. The context can be intense physical performance, dance, media theatre, or installation. The media are natural and technological. Machines, sound, video, light and biological matter. I create on-body interactive systems that use bioacoustic visceral sounds, electric neuronal pulses, muscle contractions and palpitations of the blood vessels. The project is to investigate the dimensions of the body in real, virtual and cultural spaces. The method is to disrupt the flesh in ways that uncover unknown traits of human nature. Sometimes I am asked what kind of answers am I looking for. But it is only the questions that interest me.
“The flesh is the surface of the unknown” -Victor Hugo
Hypo Chrysos. The body vexed. Take a very thin body, some ropes, two concrete blocks of about 50kg. Make that body pull the blocks for twenty minutes in a circle. Use wearable microphone sensors to capture the sound of blood flow pulsations, muscle vibrations and bones crackling. Diffuse those visceral sounds through 8 subwoofers and 8 loudspeakers. Make a computer record all those sounds and play them back on top of each other. By the time the action is ended the vexed body has exploded in a wall of acoustic vibrations that breach into the real world in the form of diffused sound. The strain becomes a vector of affect. The architectural space, the bodies of the audience members it contains, and the vexed body all resonate in unison.
Nigredo. Altered self-perception. You are sitting on a chair in a completely darkened room. You are wired to some sensors on your naked chest. Your head is tightly strapped to a chair with an elastic band. You are submerged in a very loud and deep sound. It is your bodily rhythm, namely, your heartbeat and the sound of your veins bloated with blood. Every time you breath flickering lights lit up the space. The only thing you can see is a mirror in front of you. You can almost see yourself, or at least you think so. The chair now diffuses high power mechanical vibrations through your rib cage. It is the same sound produced by your body, but this time is processed by a computer and fed back to your body as an induced mechanical vibration of the bones. Your vision becomes blurred, your organs rhythm is altered by the induced skeletal vibrations. Breathe.
Ominous. The incarnated sound sculpture. A body on stage. It is holding something. The body is holding an invisile object. It is made of malleable unstable matter. You cannot see it, but you can listen to it. As the body gestures deform and compress the object in its hands, the sound of the muscle contractions is played back through a sound system surrounding you. It is a low pulsating sound, a powerful rumble emerging from that invisible object. As the body struggles to hold the object, this becomes too large and heavy. The bodily sounds have now mutated into metallic distortions. The body cannot contain the object anymore, its instability becomes critical and so the body suddenly release it. A sweeping high pitch sound cuts through the space.
[radical]. Networked and cogent bodies. Five bodies dance behind transparent screens. Artificial cellular organisms are brought to life on the screens by the motion of the bodies. They live in a mutual field of force with the natural bodies. The bodies dance. They do not follow a predefined choreography, but rather create a new one step by step obeying to rules that are recorded in their minds, like in a game. They are a self-organized system. They move across the space, meet each other and leave, rapidly turning, moving in unison, and then shifting away again. As they move different sounds emerge from twelve loudspeakers and subwoofers. Each body sounds as if it was a musical instrument. It is not a digital sound, you are listening to the displacement of their muscles as they move. The acoustic corporeal sounds mark their movements, mark their memory and their choices.
Moving forest. The durational body and its remorse. A half naked body crawling in a space for over two hours. At the beginning it is slowly crossing the space. It moves heavily, it seems it wants to speak but all you can hear is its scattered breathing through the sound system that fills the room. As the body moves more vigorously more sounds emerge, distortions and organic sounds, you can hear the body’s heart, contracting and extending. The valves of the heart are clearly opening and closing. A voice reads the notes of a murderer. You stay, then go away. When you come back again, the body is still there. You can recognize the same visceral sound of the body, you start following its heartbeat. It is faster now, the breathing is increasingly irregular, the motion is frantic. The body is obsessed with its hands. It is washing them, but it does not have any water. There is something on them that must be cleaned, erased from the skin. Remorse.
Featured video by Marco Donnarumma, produced with the support of Inspace, Edinburgh, UK
All images © of the artist