Vibractions, a sound installation and performance by Ferruccio Ascari, was conceived and created within a program of sound installations organized by the center for visual arts Sixto/Notes opened in Milan in february 1978, which included site-specific works by Lanfranco Baldi, Cioni Carpi, Giuseppe Chiari, John Duncan, Walter Marchetti, Gianni Emilio Simonetti, and Roberto Taroni, along with contributions by representatives of the most radical researches of those years: Ant Farm, BDR Ensemble, Nancy Bu- chanan, Chris Burden, Dal Bosco-Varesco, Guy de Contet, Douglas Hue- bler, Layurel Klick, Laymen Stifled, Paul Mc Carthy, Fredrick Nilsen, Barbara Smith, and Demetrio Stratos.
Vibractions was an emblematic example of a research common at that time in which visual and sound elements were considered as indissolubly bound together, in an analysis which started from a deep reflection upon the categories of time and space in art.
The paradoxical purpose of Vibractions was to measure the architectural space by the use of sound, or even better, to find a sound equivalent of the architectural space; to walk through it in order to catch its specific volumetric, dimensional, visual, and acoustic qualities; to find the law by which it was governed and to establish a relation with the subject walking through it; and finally, to find a way of making the space respond to sound impulses until its own Sound was discovered, “the uniqueness and unrepeatability of its resounding in relation to what occurs within it” – as Ferruccio Ascari wrote in a presentation text of this work.
Vibractions was subsequently reproposed in different sites; the spatial qualities of each place (dimensions, volumes, architectural typology) were reproduced by a network of harmonic strings running through the floor, the walls, and the ceiling of the room: the strings were anchored at their ends to metal frustums of cones which served as resonance boxes.
The sound equipment – designed and realized following mathematical proportions deduced by the environment’s volumetric ratios – became the instrument used to investigate the acous- tic specificity of each space, to seize its innermost identity, or, in Ascari’s words, to “find out its own sound” and therefore to disclose its essence.
Thirty years later Ferruccio Ascari has re-created that work from 1978 in the occasion of cycle of exhibition between june and fall 2012, dedicated to his past and recent works at O’ (Milano), Museo d’Arte Moderna of Ascona (CH) and Monte Verità (CH). Within this appointments Die Schachtel releases a vinyl LP artist edition containing the recordings of the sound material connected with Vibractions. The recording is accompanied by a reproduction of Mano armonica (Harmonic Hand), a work from the same period composed of 25 snapshots of the hand of the artist, in which the fingers, bent in different positions, are the surface of a musical score that was then utilized as a score during the performance.