Elisa Ferrari, In Increments of 13 (production stills), 2020. Courtesy the artist.

Elisa Ferrari: In Increments of 13

Presented as part of The Pandemic is a Portal

In Increments of 13 (2020) combines aural research about popular medicine, healing devotions and extracanonical rituals practised and transmitted orally until the 1980s in Val Trompia, Italy. According to Italian anthropologist Franca Romano, in her book Guaritrici, veggenti, esorcisti (1987), the pandemic of bubonic plague in 1630 in northern Italy, alongside the Counter-Reformation, created a socio-political rupture that led to the assimilation and progressive erasure of forms of magic and rural rites of the popular classes. In Increments of 13 is a sound library that engages with Romano’s text through sound interventions, field recordings, sound synthesis, and glossolalia to consider how voice, intonations, accents, and spells have been used to create vibratory models of solidarity and collective care.

The sound library of In Increments of 13 can be accessed online here or downloaded below. Please note: most of the recordings in the sound library are binaural, and therefore, listening with headphones is recommended.

Elisa Ferrari works with text, images and sound. To consider acts and implications of retrieval, she produces projects that manifest as installations, workshops, artist books, and performances. Recently, her work has been presented at the Oscillation Festival (Brussels), Kamias Triennial (Quezon City), Nanaimo Art Gallery and the Western Front (Vancouver). She is one of the hosts of Soundscape on Co-op Radio in Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish Territories.

[Image description: Ferrari_01 and Ferrari_02 are two photographs taken outdoors at night. In both, a single spotlight shines down onto the centre of the frame, creating a dramatic vignette with the light tapering out until the edges of the photographs are in full blackness.

[01: In a field of tall grass, three sheets of white paper with black text, as if tumbling through and floating in the grass. One has come to rest on its back, in focus, text visible: a photocopy of page 524 from a book in Italian. At the top of the page, a piece of orange tape. The other two sheets are caught vertically, text present but not legible. The spotlight focuses on the papers at the centre and catches several stalks of grass in the foreground, their seeds pale atop the green blades.

[02: A bush of stinging nettles, leaves lush green with serrated edges. Lying at the center, brightly lit, a photocopy of page 532 from a book in Italian by Franca Romano. The photocopy has a piece of orange tape at the top. Toward the middle, colored pencils highlight lines of text in yellow, light blue, and green, and occasional lines throughout the page are underlined. “Ciuffi di lana o piume” is one of the phrases highlighted in blue. In the margin by it, a handwritten note in all capital letters repeats, “ciuffi di lana o piume,” which translates to “tufts of wool or feathers.”]

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