“The Garden of Forking Paths”.
A live performance where music, acting and 5G technology create a symbiosis for a new spectacular language.
“The Garden of Forking Paths” project was born – both in terms of dramaturgical conception and technological part – from a fundamental intuition: the place of an event is an integral part of the content of the event itself; as I love to say, the context is part of the text.
Remaining in the musical field, it is clear how Saint Matthew Passion by Bach performed in a cathedral is a completely different experience from the same piece played in a concert hall. Perhaps the most effective example is Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony conducted years ago by Simon Rattle in the former concentration camp of Mauthausen; we cannot fail to notice how the place has a fundamental influence on the narration of the event. For various reasons I find it even necessary to recognize that Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony performed in Mauthausen is another work than Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony played in a normal concert hall; not to mention Beethoven’s Ninth performed in Berlin in 1942 in front of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, during the Führer’s birthday celebrations.
The title of the project is taken from a famous short story by Jorge Luis Borges; it intends to represent both the route map that the musicians will perform physically during its execution and the network of ideal and real connections and interactions that led to its realization. The narrative contribution of a place to a performative event can be articulated on different levels: architectural, urban, social and cultural for example. In this case it will be the historic center of Torino, the heart of the city, to tell this story.
The Fiarì Ensemble conducted by Marilena Solavagione will interact live from the Grand Hall of Receptions of Palazzo Madama, featuring a musically compatible synchronization (with a margin of error of less than 3 hundredths of a second), with the four saxophonists of the “Saxemble” and with four young actors, just graduated from the School of Theatre of the Teatro Stabile in Torino. At first, always followed each by a 5G live mobile camera, they will move freely and independently in the spaces of Piazza Castello, to then meet in front of the entrance of the Palace and, following different paths, enter the Palace and gradually reach the Grand Hall of Receptions to finish the performance together with the others, thus highlighting not only the accuracy of the remote coordination, but also the artistic and technological compatibility between the two situations.
Here comes into play the most important element of this project, which is an integral part of the 5G-TOURS project, supported by the EU’s Horizon2020 technological program: the use of the most advanced communication technologies towards a new idea of live performance. In this case, technology is not only “at the service” of the artistic idea, but actively and integrally contributes to the definition of a real new artistic language, making possible a new way of conceiving a live event. The technological configuration developed in this project not only allows the solution of fundamental technical problems, as the live synchronization of performers that are located in very distant place from each other and the need for an extremely precise communication between them and the central control room, but, as a result, it provides new and not yet investigated situations and possibilities capable of opening a new and unexplored world in the artistic field.
All this is possible thanks to the collaboration of a selected group of institutions, organizations and companies, such as the City of Torino, the Torino Museums Foundation, the Italian Radio and Television Rai (with two Torino entities such as CRITS and the RAI Production Centre in Torino), TIM and Ericsson; this type of operational synergy is, at least in my experience, completely new in the artistic field and is perfectly functional – and crucial – for the achievement of the described objectives”.
Paris, October 2021