Acqua Alta: en Clave de Sol
(2019) by Tomàs Saraceno

Multichannel sound installation

Conceived and created by
Tomàs Saraceno

Music Composition, Sound Spatialisation,  

Davide Luciani

The multichannel sound installation Acqua Alta: en Clave de Sol was developed as part of the installation Aero(s)cene: When breath becomes air, when atmospheres become the movement for a post fossil fuel era against carbon-capitalist clouds, presented by Tomás Saraceno at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.

The city of Venice developed an alarm system to warn against high water. Sixteen sirens are spread around the six sestieri to warn that acqua alta is expected to reach the city within two to four hours. The tones rise in correspondence to the 4 levels of flooding. The sound work Acqua Alta: En Clave de Sol speculates on how the floating city might sound in a hundred years, its vulnerable ecology completely submerged under the quick-flowing tides, its foundations eroded by the overexploitation of the soil and water.

The original alarm recordings become the starting point for a sound composition that amplifies the inaudible score of global warming. Six speakers distributed around the Gaggiandre acoustically expand the ebb and flow of the Arsenale’s waters over their six hour cycle. The climatic soundscape reverberates to the predictions of ocean swelling ahead in the next decades. Water is expected to cover entire territories, whilst simultaneously exposing geopolitical inequalities that will see more than two billion climate refugees by the end of 2100.

The intermittent signal resounds through the Gaggiandre at the frequency of the tidal phases, making audible the urgent voices of sea levels as they rise, its lifeforms and the anthropogenic noise pollution that affects them. Synchronously, the sun draws sound waves in light of acqua alta, reflecting a score in elemental motion, composing in clave de sol. In the blurred figure of space, nudging and bending as the waters rise, we come to understand that we rely on a reciprocal alliance between the elements and effects, the shifting winds, the exchange of heat and momentum, and the rippling pull of the lunar cycle."

Text by Studio Tomàs Saraceno  


Exhibition view: Tomas Saraceno, Acqua Alta: en Clave de Sol, 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia (2019)


Details from the Vitrine: Tomas Saraceno, Acqua Alta: en Clave de Sol, 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia (2019), photo ® Studio Tomàs Saraceno