The album Miasma by the OvO duo and the Arsura choreography by gruppo nanou meet and give life to a music and dance performance inspired by Dante’s Inferno. The fruition, of course, is only possible online.

Between the Sixties and Seventies it was possible, entering an art gallery like L’Attico, in Rome, to attend performances in which musicians and dancers, in a continuous and iterative movement, embodied that desiring wave that pushed from the streets to a qualitative change in society. One could witness those bodies that were forming themselves in daily movements, in a continuous feedback between sound and gesture, between art and life, as they said in those years. Today the pandemic urgency separates our bodies, and this time music and dance have met in hell. This is how Miasma – 2020 album signed by OvO, the duo composed by Stefania Pedretti and Bruno Dorella – and Arsura – choreography in progress by another duo, Marco Valerio Amico and Rhuena Bracci, gruppo nanou meet. The occasion is that of Dante’s celebrations for the seven hundredth anniversary of the poet’s death, in collaboration with Transmissions Festival and the support of Ravenna viso-in-aria and Fèsta.

gruppo nanou + OvO | Canto Primo: Miasma + Arsura

Canto Primo: Miasma / Arsura, still video © Claudio Stanghellini

The performance of OvO and gruppo nanou

On stage we see the OvO at their positions, illuminated in red, in the general darkness. Sound splashes in crescendo, like an industrial siren with intonation lost in a distant reverberation, are immediately accompanied by the pressing rhythm of drummer Bruno Dorella, at the opening of this infernal journey. The reiteration of the sounds and the gestures of the performer Rhuena Bracci, who appears from the dark background dressed in white and with her head harnessed in a tulle, like a ghost, start the general trend of the production.
The sound abrasions by OvO materialize a thickness in which the screams and vocal curses of Stefania Pedretti with her guitar, which before releasing the wall of sound flows into an intricate path of signal processors, distortions and feedback delays, transform the grain rustling noise in a constant environment. Here there is a first impediment with respect to the final output, due to the medium in which the performance is rendered: these sounds so stratified, distorted and tending to occupy above all the low register have a great impact on the epidermis in the fruition live, which is missing on this occasion. With some forcing we could say that those proposed are tactile and simultaneously prehensile sonorities, which invest the entire body mass of those who are about to "listen" to the concert. In video, in a reception that can take place both from smartphones and computers, it is found to be amputated.

gruppo nanou + OvO | Canto Primo: Miasma + Arsura . still video Claudio Stanghellini - Rhuena Bracci, Stefania Pedretti

Canto Primo: Miasma / Arsura, still video © Claudio Stanghellini

The scene and the movements

The scene is made up of different spaces: the first we see are those of the OvO, on the left Dorella's drums, on the right Pedretti's sound paraphernalia, both are invested by almost always red (sometimes blue) lights; towards the center, moved to the left, next to the battery, a long white sheet that invades both the backdrop and the pavement of the scene. Next to the latter, to the right, there is an opening that leads into another space where Rhuena Bracci sometimes gets lost, followed by a video camera in her forced solipsism, but not sought after: Arsura, tells us gruppo nanou, is “a device that lists a series of unravelings of solitary flesh, omitting the before and after of a story”. A Dantesque pain to stand in the void, embody an absence - the void that has been separating us for a year now - with that noise that should be there, instead of the deafening silence that has invested entire nations. OvO and nanou are certainly not going to tell us about it because everything has already happened and everything is quite dark – perhaps too much at times, so as to prevent us from fully capturing Rhuena Bracci's movements. His phantom-body, in the composition, finds itself excluded, it seems to observe and sometimes escape the two musicians, at other times detach from them. In brief moments the action comes together again, such as when the performer, slightly illuminating her gestures by positioning herself on the white sheet, standing on her back, falls, tunes in with the movement of her arm to the sound of Dorella's snare drum, and then falls again . While the noise abrasions fade and resume, Bracci seems to evoke a relearning to know the world, crawling, rubbing the floor with his hands covered by the long white dress that envelops him. However, there is no room for wide-open and surprised eyes like the ones we see in the new lives grappling with what remains of this world; this is hell and, suddenly, it seems to have become a night club – we are towards the end, OvO attack with the last track, Miasma. The lilting rhythm, the piano pouring its few notes in a continuous loop. As a tide rises and settles a gust of noise – imagine an old record that broadcasts hiss.

gruppo nanou + OvO | Canto Primo: Miasma + Arsura . still video Claudio Stanghellini - Rhuena Bracci

Canto Primo: Miasma / Arsura, still video © Claudio Stanghellini

Performance and the pandemic

The thirty-five minutes rather than flowing seem to impose themselves as a block, without conditions of possibility, like a trauma that can only repeat itself. Between one emergency and another, between one story and another, in suspended spaces where there is no longer a pneumatic vacuum but redundancy. Unfortunately, the two limitations highlighted, the excessive darkness and the impossibility of the sound impact required by certain sonorities, invest the two main dimensions of the performance, the choreography and the sound, making us maintain that strange feeling, between frustration and hope, that to have the possibility in a future, as close as possible, to be hit live by that sound and guided by that body, to rediscover a common dimension. Even if it is no longer the joyful one of the years of L'Attico, it will always be worth it.

24/03/2021 - Daniele Vergini, Artribune