On 30th of January 1938, at the height of the Spanish Civil War, Franco, with support from Mussolini’s airforce, laid siege to Barcelona. This nascent urbicide was indiscriminate. Tragedy befell the hitherto tranquil square in Barcelona’s gothic quarter. Around 30 were killed by the first bomb; mostly children. As citizens pulled survivors from the rubble, a second bomb hit, killing 12 more.
The bombing left a lasting imprint on the facade of the building in the form of the pot-marked scarring that defines this square today.
The fascist government would later fabricate an alternative history of the square. That the damage was the result of firing squad executions by the anarchists who ran the city at the time; unfortunately, this myth seems to have a lot of staying power, even amongst the citizens of Barcelona themselves.
In using the shrapnel scarring of the buildings as the material of composition and explicitly reciting the historical reality I am attempting to help alloy the two in public consciousness.
The score for the composition was generated through taking an image of the facade into photoshop and tracing out the impact wounds. The resulting image was then translated into MIDI, a communication protocol for music, that can be read by a Digital Audio Workstation. From here I was able to use the notes generated by the image to sculpt a composition using various synthesis techniques.
The visual accompaniment is a play on a “score following” video. These are digital visualisations of a manuscript that follow a recording of the composition, allowing unfamiliar listeners to easily keep pace with the notation. By scrolling across the actual image of the of the walls of the square, I am invoking quite literally the technique by which the composition is generated, and placing it in its political and historical context.
This work sits in a larger project of correcting a historical undoing. It hopes to reconcile the physical and historical reality of this tragedy.
7:02 min, HD video, 2018.
- Full video upon request *
Exhibited as part of the Mit dem Ohr in der Erinnerung project:
The Güterhallen, Alexander-Coppel-Strasse 42 42651 Solingen, Germany
22 July - 12 August 2018
Sala Aranyo, Roc Boronat, 138, 08018 Barcelona
4 December 2018
Exhibited as part of Sound Thought Festival:
Centre for Contemporary Arts, 350 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow G2 3JD
16 - 17 Febuary 2019