Caterina Barbieri shares transcendent visual for “Broken Melody”


A co-commission from 180 Studios and Fact.

‘Broken Melody’, the second single from Caterina Barbieri’s new album, Spirit Exit, comes with a stunning visual from the director Iacopo Carapelli and artist Ruben Spini, which features stunning slow-motion sequences of levitating bodies against the equally transcendent synths and haunting Barbieri vocals. Picking up the thread of ‘Spirit Knot’a collaboration with futuristic folk musician Lyra Pramuk and the first release on Barbieri’s recently launched label platform, Light years“Broken Melody” features the composer’s custom modular synthesizer, which she developed while creating Spirit Exit in her home studio in Milan.

Spirit Exit marks the first album Barbieri has written entirely in this studio and was recorded during Milan’s two-month pandemic lockdown in 2020. The follow-up to 2019’s Ecstatic Computation and 2017’s Patterns Of Consciousness sees Barbieri exploring the inner worlds , drawing influence from St. Teresa D’Avila’s seminal 16th-century mystical text, The Interior Castle, the posthuman theories of philosopher Rosi Braidotti, and the metaphysical poetry of Emily Dickinson.

“I composed Broken Melody and most of Spirit Exit during Milan’s first lockdown of 2020, when Milan was one of the darkest hotspots of the pandemic,” Barbieri explains. “During this period of extreme isolation, music became for me like a portal to transcend a state of confinement and sensory deprivation. It was the only way to travel through time and space when movement in the outside world was not possible. During this time, I thought a lot about the spatial dimension of confinement as a strong archetype of womanhood in the past and how it shaped the visionary and mystical vein of the female thought. Women poets, artists, mystics often lived separate lives – observing the world from a window, a door, a filter. Since they could not move freely in the outside world, they often redirected their own energy to the inner world, thus cultivating a cosmogonic way of thinking.The friction between the constriction of their physical life and the cosmic freedom of the inner world and the power of the spirit is at the very root of the p visionary feminine nun. It is pioneering and feminist science fiction. It is the “inner castle” of Santa Teresa D’Avila. It’s “The Brain – is wider than the Sky (…) The Brain – is deeper than the Sea” by Emily Dickinson.

Photography: Carlo Banfi

Elements of footage taken for the ‘Broken Melody’ visual feature as part of ‘Vigil’, a multimedia installation by Caterina Barbieri and her frequent collaborator Ruben Spini, recently commissioned by 180 studioswhich is now presented as part of Future Shock, a major exhibition of 14 leading international artists and collectives working at the cutting edge of audiovisual technology.

“The video of broken melody explores some of the song’s themes: love, loss, empathy and melancholy on a ghost planet. There’s a dystopian vibe, but there’s also a weird sense of romance attached to it, like a love song at the end of the world,” Barbieri explains. “The video is inspired by the iconography of female subjects depicted in ambiguous sensory states, suspended between contemplation and death, ecstasy and annihilation. Slow-motion imagery of lonely figures in eerie, desolate landscapes depicts a series of living pictures imbued with magical realism and melancholy.

“Unlike anything else, music can channel the complex and beautiful spectrum of feelings that natural landscapes evoke in humans. In our audiovisual collaborations, Ruben and I have often used sound and vision to explore this spiritual and ecstatic connection. with nature – a type of experience becoming increasingly rare in late capitalism.

Photography: Carlo Banfi

“In our previous collaborations, Caterina has always been presented as a central subject, acting as the gravitational pole around which her melodies, my images and, ultimately, the audience’s attention orbit together,” says Spini. “It’s a delicate balance capable of creating a rather unique connection between its own performance and our perception: once that channel is opened, we experience the same vibrant feelings that drive its practice, through rapture and catharsis.”

“With the ‘Broken Melody’ video, we wanted to explore similar depths of emotion, but this time evoking them through multiple topics and viewpoints. The natural setting again acts as a counterpoint to the feelings of the characters, and even if the circumstances of their stories are barely outlined, one identifies with their fierce universality. In a sense, they represent our collective memories, our desires for escape and love, our experiences of loss, the ghosts of our past and our future.

Photography: Carlo Banfi

“As for the interpretation of the sound and the lyrics of the lyrics, I anchored myself precisely in the feeling of the concept, trying to emphasize the contrast between stasis and inner movement, between abandonment and ecstasy”, explains director Iacopo Carapelli. “With the director of photography (Giuseppe Favale), we tried to use super slow motion. Although it is not easy to create rhythm with this technique, we were sure that it was the right interpretation for the nature of sounds.

“Shooting with this type of equipment is not easy, you need a massive amount of lights to just give a smooth light overview on the subject. We shot all the tableaux vivants in a dark theater with a few scenographic elements, sometimes extended thanks to post-production The piece has many musical layers and it was not easy to interpret one in particular.

“The piece has many musical layers and it was not easy to interpret one in particular. Sometimes, like in the flying boy scene, the editing slows down a lot but the scene stays in tune with the synth input. In other cases, on the other hand, like the girl who is reborn from her ashes, the editing breaks the clip in rhythm with the bass notes.

Photography: Carlo Banfi

Barbieri and Spini’s installation at Future Shock, titled Vigil, features the video Broken Melody played on one side of the space, with another video work present behind a slowly melting ice sculpture. “Within the exhibition is a landscape scene, represented by the circular LED wall as if seen through a telescope lens,” explains Spini. “The sun is depicted low on the horizon, but it never changes position – so it’s a matter of interpretation whether to consider it a sunset or a sunrise. In this dimly lit room where the passage of time is used as a narrative device, I wanted to leave open the two possibilities: a coming day, a falling night, with the deeper feeling that until we leave this place of withdrawal, the stasis will not be broken.

“A similar loss of landmarks occurs on a spatial level, in the ogival landscape which continually transforms under the paralyzed sun. As is often the case with my video works, the concept is close to what 18th century painters defined as “capriccio”: a believable scene with no single reference to real life, created by the juxtaposition and layering of different decorations. It is a portrait of the outside world, but without a specific subject. Again, it primarily acts as a representation of a possibility.

Photography: Carlo Banfi

Future Shock, which runs until August 28, 2022, transforms the underground spaces of 180 studios through fascinating and pioneering digital technology – from generative and interactive algorithms, AI and 3D digital mapping, to laser work bewitching, holographic projections and revolutionary electronic music. Tickets are on sale now through 180 Strand website.

“Broken Melody” is out now and is taken from the album Spirit Exit by Caterina Barbieri, which is available now. You can find Caterina Barbieri on instagram.

Photography: Carlo Banfi

“Broken Melody” credits:

Artist – Caterina Barbieri
Label – light years
Concept & Art Direction – Caterina Barbieri & Ruben Spini
Director – Iacopo Carapelli
Director of photography – Giuseppe Favale
Editor – Iacopo Carapelli & Elena Petitti di Roreto
Colorist – Orash Rahnema
Post-production – DEEPICE, Mauro Moretti, Roberto D’Ippolito
Titles – Nicola Tirabasso
Produced by C41
Executive Producer – Barbara Guieu
Production Manager – Maria Borgognoni
Assistant Producer – Lorenzo Poloni
Co-Product – Blackball
Co-commissioned by 180 Studios and Fact Magazine
Scenography – Fabrizio D’arpino
Scenography Assistant – Elena Strafella
Prop Master – Gianfranco Parmigiani
Movement Director – Elisa Zuppini
MUA – Greta Giannone
Characters: Inga Lavarini, Federica Nicastro, Omar Jaimes, Costanza Candeloro, Filippo Beccati, Joselin Solange Morales, Giulia Fossati, Gabriele Gangi, Elisa Zuppini
Phantom Operator – Claudio Fusini
1st CA – Paolo Gobbi
2nd CA – Davide Bongiorni
Internship AC – Riccardo Lorenzi
Blunderer – Francesco Galli
Elettricista – Fabio Proserpio, Marco Marangoni n
Key taking – Riccardo Villella
Grip – Alessio Zecchinello, Fabio Macchi
Rigger – Luca Fachini, Enrico Comeo
Drone – Turbostudio
Drone Operator – Rocco Diddio

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