Roberto Pugliese: I have been following the development of your research during the years, but it is always fascinating and mysterious to discover, especially in the type of works that we create, how the relationship between sound and image is created, in other words where the artist’s subjective modus operandi comes from. Can you tell me more about your associations between sound and vision? How much emphasis do you give to sound compared to the visual part? How do you believe they should interact with one another?
Pier Alfeo: My primary interest derives from the abstract origin of sound itself, and from my fascination with its transformation into something visually tangible and vice versa. So I am interested in the two-way exchange that a sign, an event, can have in relation to its representation through sound. Although I am a lover of acousmatic practices, where the pure perception of sound is appreciated by concealing it from view, thereby hiding the causality of the sources of sound, I recognise a compelling evocative power in observing a digital event being translated into a physical event; almost a need to value the process which is the reverse of today’s attitude, to raise awareness rather than for preservation purposes.
My path was necessarily been linked to the use of mathematical and physical concepts, as sound is a physical and acoustic event, and its processing is subject to signal processing theory. So for me, sound is key, a starting point, a midway point, or possibly a destination: in short, sound is the active protagonist of my artistic process which aims to interact harmoniously with the visual aspect, thereby amplifying and highlighting it.
Your research on sound has obviously changed in recent years, but it has maintained a recognisable source: where does that recognisable element of your works take its shape from? In other words, what are the sonic characteristics that you feel to be closest to the research that you have undertaken, and where do they come from?
The past few years have been a time of great growth and awareness, especially in the expansion of language: I have always sought to acquire a greater mastery of expression so as to be able to conquer greater freedom to tell a story in the widest possible range of forms. It is like the desire to arrive at one’s own personal language, a unique timbre of voice – like wanting to discover one’s own true essence to preserve the visions of it.
The underlying theme of my work probably comes from the attraction that I have always had for organic-leaning sounds, those sounds which result from behaviours that can be linked to living activities, and definitely also the strong bond that ties me to nature, the inclination to listen to soundscapes tied to the practice of field recordings in recent years, which taught me to recognise their internal and global movements. Really, I like to think of my compositions as dialogues between distant alien organisms, which do not really exist, or even which have never been discovered.
The aspect which intrigues me the most is the hypnotic, therapeutic, meditative and liberating action that the organisation of sounds can take on, managing to reach a place outside of time, recreating vast spaces outside of human knowledge and perception, and thereby exploring new possibilities, new spaces, new earthly and unearthly worlds.