joão orecchia

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João Orecchia creates artworks and installations that deal with different ways of hearing, manipulating and physically representing sound. He also regularly collaborates with visual artists to create soundscapes fitting a conceptual framework in their own pieces.
 
     
    • RITUALS OF THE LIVING // CONSTITUTION HILL // JOHANNESBURG

   
The Constitution Hill precinct is located at 11 Kotze Street in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, near the western end of the suburb of Hillbrow. The original prison was built to house white male prisoners in 1892. The Old Fort was built around this prison by Paul Kruger 1896–1899.

Built into the northern wall of the fort are a series of rooms, concrete on all sides. The doors, no longer on their hinges, are stacked in the furthest room. They are thick steel doors with small sliding openings. Hooks hang from bars close to the ceiling in each room.

A long corridor leads to isolated rooms, mirrored below by identical rooms accessed via heavy wooden trap doors in the floor. There is a tunnel that leads from these rooms to the city morgue and the Hillbrow Police Station. The official story is that these rooms were used for file storage during apartheid.

Storage comprises recordings of these empty rooms; resonant frequencies are amplifed in an attempt to call out from the dark empty spaces a felt presence. Eight separate recordings were played through speaker objects made of material found (stored) in the space and hung from hooks at different heights in one room. Installation in collaboration with Noluthando Lobese.
 
       
    • BACKSPACE // ITHUBA ARTS GALLERY // JOHANNESBURG

   
"How Many Sine Waves Does it Take to Unscrew a Lightbulb?" is the result of a week long exploration into sound’s capacity to move air. An immersive installation that asks visitors to reflect on the relationships between what you hear, what you feel and what forces are moving around you.
 
       
    • SHARP SHARP JOHANNESBURG // LA GAÎTÉ LYRIQUE // PARIS, FRANCE

   
Taxi Sound System, a collaboration between João Orecchia and MJ Turpin, was an audio visual interpretation of a ride on Johannesburg's most common form of public transportation: the minibus taxi. The visual by Turpin and the sound by Orecchia were designed for the "chambre sonore", a programmable 9.1 surround pod at La Gaîté Lyrique, a multimedia arts centre in Paris. This formed part of a month long programme on Johannesburg.

Listen to a stereo version here
 
       
    • !KAURU : AFRICAN CONTEMPORARY ART EXHIBITION // PRETORIA ART MUSEUM

   
Contemporary African Art To Flourish (CAATF) is a sound-based artwork loosely based on the game Broken Telephone. In the game, messages are whispered from one person to the next, down a long list, and often change radically from the original because of what is lost in the whispers. With CAATF, I send a message around the African continent via ‘Google Translate,’ having a computer program translate from one language to the next. Here technology, language, and the spaces between them are highlighted as always playing a role in where and how we find meaning.

The message I send is the first paragraph of the preface of the book, Contemporary African Art Since 1980, by Okwui Enwezor and Chika Okeke-Agulu, which begins “Contemporary African art is flourishing.” The authors write about the position of contemporary African art in a global context, and the shift away from a system where only a few institutions determine and shape the discourse around African art.

CAATF is a kind of experimental study of some of the non-institutional forces that shape art and discourse. It is a telling and re-telling of a "story" that implicitly asks, “What is changed, and what remains, in translation?” How do our stories and ideas shift and change when they move through groups and individuals, techniques and technologies? What are the implications of that change? Interestingly, Enwezor and Okeke-Agulu’s text is largely transformed, but its tone of authority remains intact.

Listen here
 
       
    • INFORMAL STUDIO // MARLBORO SOUTH

   
The traveling exhibition Informal Studio: Marlboro South documents a university course on in-situ upgrading developed by 26’10 south Architects with the University of Johannesburg in 2012. During a seven week period, fifty architecture students worked with community planners (residents) from the informally settled warehouses and open plots in the industrial area of Marlboro South bordering Alexandra.

The exhibition consists of four mini documentary films as well as text, maps, drawings and a comic. It documents the complexity of the negotiated relationship between students and community architects, as well as the opportunities opened up through participative planning.

I created a soundscape/collage for the exhibition using primarily the music recorded in the background of the documentation videos and some of the interviews. You can listen to it here.

And read about the project here.
 
     
    • SOUNDING OUT // BAG FACTORY, JOHANNESBURG

   
Small Worlds, 2012. Objects, mp3 players, transformers, piezo discs.

Short piano pieces performed by Jill Richards were barely audible via three speaker objects placed in a room. Ordinary objects converted into transmitters of aural meaning, is as common as the sound of the ocean in a seashell. And yet every time we listen for the ocean in a seashell we are struck by momentary disbelief.

This magic - if you will - is inherent in Joao Orecchia’s sound installation: Small Worlds where banal everyday objects by virtue of their acoustic properties (or lack thereof) transmit evocative alternate worlds, where the performer is tiny and the viewer is huge.

Read about the exhibition here.
 
       
    • SOUND INSTALLATION AT INVISIBLE CITIES 3/12

   
Loops of tape playng cut up sounds of trumpet music were fed through dismembered machines were nailed to a wall in a stairwell. Above this web of wires and tape played a stop motion video of a trumpet being crushed. The result was a "living composition", trumpet tones constantly shifting and interacting in new ways, each with a different tonal quality dependent on the speaker and amplification method.

Video of the installation here.

Trumpet video here.
 
       
    • JOÃO ORECCHIA AND JOSEPH SUCHY AT DAVID KRUT GALLERY, JOHANNESBURG

   
Intermittent was a site-specific installation with intermittent performances by João Orecchia and Joseph Suchy. From Monday 18 July, 2011 to Saturday 23 July, 2011 João Orecchia and Joseph Suchy experimented with spatial relationships of sound at David Krut Projects in Johannesburg. By exploring potential combinations of sound making objects from musical instruments to self-built circuits and methods of sound manipulation, the two worked to find the point where an auditory environment and a physical landscape and a new form of dynamic, living musical composition cease to be separate constructs and form a holistic experience to mirror the artists' views on sound.

Each day Orecchia and Suchy adjusted and rearranged objects and speakers in the space, searching for sonic relationships. They performed twice a day for one hour at a time. At the end of each performance they had created a sonic and visual landscape that stood until the next performance.
 
       
    • STATE - PROJECT COLLABORATION BETWEEN STEPHEN HOBBS, JOAO ORECCHIA, DAVID OLIVIER AND 2610 SOUTH ARCHITECTS

   
This soundtrack was made entirely of sounds recorded at a construction site and mixed in surround sound to create an immersive spacial experience. The video was originally produced as a finalist entry into the Sasol Wax Art Awards.

Watch the video here.

More about the project here.
 
       
    • MEMENTO // GALLERY MOMO

   
This event was held at the Momo Gallery in Johannesburg on youth day in 2006. Johan Thom, Nathaniel Stern, Dinkies Sithole, Shane de Lange and myself performed simultaneously in different rooms of the gallery. I took the sound from each of the other artists and again looped and manipulated it, forming a narrative representative of my experience of adjusting to this new culture and trying to make sense of it through piecing together quite opposing fragments and ideas.


Watch the video here.