the Voice of the Night and other installations

La Voce della Notte (Voice in the Night)

Wood, sound system

La Voce della Notte is the title of an installation that was positioned at the center of the piazza of Gallarate, inside which it was possible to listen to the dreams of local residents recorded by an answering machine, thanks to a toll-free number, and transmitted in La Voce della Notte through invisible speakers set into the wood. Every morning the inhabitants could listen to the dreams of the previous night, dreamt by their fellow citizens. To reconstruct a nocturnal, invisible social situation that would still resonate in the morning, between meaningful coincidences and unusual images, in which the relationships between people were the viaticum for a poetic approach. A shift of horizon that implies a constant relationship with the archetype, a practice that refreshes our intuitive qualities.

The rational character of this architecture stands out, as if to contrast the immaterial nature of dreams. The choice is intentional because, once again, my research is based not on the fantastic evoking of dreams, but on their restitution on the plane of logical reality.


Incontri Interiori (Inner Encounters)

The inflatable structure is very handy, because it permits transport inside and outside, in different places, of a dark and mysterious space in which to recreate the ritual of collective dream telling. The people, wrapped in darkness, position themselves in a circle and start to tell their dreams. The voices come from different directions, without making it possible to associate a voice with a corresponding face. To be deprived of visual perception, in this situation, means recreating the condition of dreaming, stimulating the generation of inner images. The tone and timbre of the voice trigger imagination and memory. This encourages association with other dreams. The space that is created helps to sense the others, to intuit their presence.



The first input for my research on dreams was supplied in 1995 when a group of German artists spent several nights in Bologna. On that occasion, they stayed in a historic building that prompted me, due to its particular atmosphere, to ask the artists to write down the dreams they had during their stay. After some time, I received an offer to take part in the exhibition Presente/Gegenwart at the Künstlerwerkstatt Lothringerstrasse 13 in Munich. After having recorded the dreams read by actors, I presented them in an installation. The project called for a fake wall containing small speakers that emitted the voices narrating the dreams.



The installation Rêves (1999), at Magasin Centre d’Art Contemporain in Grenoble, was a second work on dreams, this time with French dreamers. Again, behind a false wall CD players and cables were hidden, connected to small speakers inserted in the wall itself. With respect to the Künstlerwerkstatt there was another aspect: the dreams were dreamt by all the dreamers during a period I had suggested, so there would be at least a temporal relationship amongst them. There was also something more regarding the idea of the group: the recordings were made only by people who worked in the museum. This implied greater adherence to reality in the dream-community relationship. The dreamers were forced to accept, in the narration of the dream, that the image they had created for themselves to respond to the rules imposed by the work environment (their work outfit) could be disintegrated by a sly dream.



The installation at Museo delle Papesse in Siena (2000) was an empty room, not completely darkened. A slight buzz emerged from the walls. Pressing an ear to the wall, visitors could hear dreams about the Palio*. The project called for me to spend several days in Siena, to record the dreams of people belonging to the various contrade of the city. Certain coincidences and overlaps of single facts in different dreams were quite surprising. It is easy to understand how these correspondences could give rise to an immaterial space, a sort of dream forum, a common space of dreams. In two different recordings, it was possible to listen to two descriptions of dreams where both dreamers (who were not acquainted) were positioned in the same place, i.e. the same curve, the same stands, but on different steps. A dream space, realer than real.


*The Palio di Siena is a horse race that is held twice each year, on 2 July and 16 August, in Siena, Italy. Ten horses and riders, bareback and dressed in the appropriate colours, represent ten of the seventeen contrade, or city wards. This is a Wikipedia note. Please just modify it a bit



L”a Voce della Notte” digital elaboration  Studio Dellatorre


Video Emilio Fantin

Dreamer Jimmie Durham