GENTLE GENIUS is a refurbishment project in Altamura, South of Italy. The city and its various parts can be seen as a music score, the edifices acting as notes played by different instruments simultaneously. A melody is created by, what the Romans used to call Genius Loci, the spirit of the place, the conductor of the city. Historic centres usually have a clear, harmonious melody, but oftentimes the soundscapes of the outer layers of a city are disrupted, lacking a conductor able to integrate architectonic interventions throughout space and time. Notes follow each other without a scheme, unbalanced, generating feelings of abandon and indifference. Gentle Genius is born in such an environment, aiming to generate awareness of the critical current condition. It sets a new key in the urban music score, recovering a deep note lost in time, reinventing local instruments to manifest as a sound from the future, allowing the Genius Loci to compose new music again.
The Genius Loci of the area, after decades of abandon, has finally arisen from its sleep. The facade starts to vibrate and due to its structure creates an ever moving surface. The red represents the strength of the genius. Red has the longest wave length of the visible spectrum and can be associated with the longest sound-waves that, rather than touching our ears, are felt in the torso. Hence it touches the instincts of the viewer, it is not linear, it is multifaceted perception that reaches out from the walls, transforming a residential building into a sculpture. The dormant feelings in the subconscious of the viewer are awakened and stirred, augmenting the intensity of the predominant emotion, acting like a mirror.
The spirit has found a place to emerge again, he shakes and touches those that are outside and protects and shelters those that have welcomed him
Photo credits: Michael Sieber
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