Radio Papesse was born in 2006 within the Palazzo delle Papesse Contemporary Art Center, Siena, Italy.
It was meant to serve as a platform wherein get in touch with contemporary art and those production at the crossroad between music, sound art, visual art and new ways of storytelling. They aimed to associate a discourse on contemporary art and the sonic dimension of contemporary culture together with music and listenings you wouldn’t find on other radios. It is now member of Radia and WRA.
Every cyclist has been invited to bring his/her own radio and to tune in to Rai Radio 3 (the third channel of the Italian national radio) airing the live concert at the Maggio Fiorentino Theatre, Beethoven and Liszt interpreted by Daniel Baremboim, Zubin Mehta and the Maggio Fiorentino Orchestra.
The concert’s sounds was diffused by almost 300 people riding their ‘sounding bicycles’ across the crowded center of the city: the event was intentionally organized during the Nuit Blanche, when thousands of people literally invade the streets.
The path to be followed was chosen from the specific acoustic responses of the streets. The aim was to bring the concert out of its more typical venue, to approach classical music in an unusual way so to open up a breach in such a grand institution. As Ilaria Gadenz and Carola Haupt (the two Radio Papesse curators) pointed out to me, their intention was to create a participatory project with an anti-elitist soul (not just for the art public), where everybody could have fun but at the same time reflecting about both the idea of energy – released by art and culture – and sustainability of the cultural consumption and of the environmental habits. People of every sort, age and social backgrounds joined the event, as in the best critical mass tradition.
Alessio Ballerini has been invited to record the sound of Radio on Wheels and to work on it realizing a sound portrait, a radio work and more to follow in the future. Listen to the track composed by Alessio and broadcasted by Radio Papesse. You can find his sound portrait of the night here.