Vibractions, a sound installation and performance by Ferruccio Ascari, was conceived and created in 1978 within a program of sound installations organized by the center for visual arts Sixto/Notes (hich included site-specific works by Giuseppe Chiari, John Duncan, Walter Marchetti, Gianni Emilio Simonetti, along with contributions by representatives of the most radical researches of those years: Ant Farm, BDR Ensemble, Chris Burden, Paul Mc Carthy, Fredrick Nilsen, Barbara Smith, and Demetrio Stratos).
Vibractions was an emblematic example of a research common at that time in which visual and sound elements were considered as indissolubly bound together, in an analysis which started from a deep reflection upon the categories of time and space in art.
The paradoxical purpose of Vibractions was to measure the architectural space by the use of sound, or even better, to find a sound equivalent of the architectural space; to walk through it in order to catch its specific volumetric, dimensional, visual, and acoustic qualities; to find the law by which it was governed and to establish a relation with the subject walking through it; and finally, to find a way of making the space respond to sound impulses until its own Sound was discovered, “the uniqueness and unrepeatability of its resounding in relation to what occurs within it” – as Ferruccio Ascari wrote in a presentation text of this work.
The sound equipment – designed and realized following mathematical proportions deduced by the environment’s volumetric ratios – became the instrument used to investigate the acoustic specificity of each space, to seize its innermost identity, or, in Ascari’s words, to “find out its own sound” and therefore to disclose its essence.
In the installation, the harmonic strings running throughout the walls were conceptually determined as “visible” sounds even before they were put in vibration. In the performance, the action exercised on the strings was an act of “dis-in-canto,” an Italian word which etymologically means exactly “something producing vibrations”: by resounding and lowering, the vibrations originated kind of an immaterial motion in the space and turned into “acoustic images,” while the environment became an instrument entirely run through by harmonic strings.
In conjunction with the recent exhibition held at O' artspace (Milan) Die Schachtel released a deluxe artist edition box, including a 7" E.P. - in 25 copies only, handnumbered and signed - containing the original 1978 recordings of the sound material connected with Vibractions, accompanied by a reproduction of Mano Armonica (Harmonic Hand), a work from the same period composed of 25 snapshots of the hand of the artist (each different), in which the fingers, bent in different positions, are the surface of a musical score that was then utilized as a score during the performance.