Learning to Listen: Pasquale Totaro
Over the past year we worked with a group of students and staff at the world-renowned Royal College of Art in London to develop a series of sonic design experiments, pushing the envelope of sound design and communication. Listen and find out more below. Check out the full collection here.
|Photos: Clayton Cavender|
Can you tell us something about your background?
I am from a small and sunny city in the south of Italy, Manfredonia. I spent my youth between music, math and polite rebelliousness. Regardless of the good weather, I couldn’t resist from escaping that flat social environment. Forged by my mom’s good hearth and my dad’s geekiness, I moved to Milan to study engineering at eighteen. After almost dropping out to be a “musician”, I moved to the United States. There, thanks to many incredible people I met, I became more involved in art and design and that’s how I got to the RCA.
What inspires you to work with sound?
Sound is first and foremost an energy for me. I think that in general making sound, regardless of how proficiently or carelessly you do it, is a way to release your energy into the world and really express what you are made of. Sound is also the most powerful way to communicate. It is a language that speaks directly to our emotions, to our memories. It is so abstract that it can be understood by everybody, you can have your own understanding of it, your own kind of pleasure from it, which makes it very universal and fair.
What is the concept behind your project and how did you make it?
During the past years I lived in a couple of metropolitan cities and I got obsessed by the sort of “web” that people with different point of views, stories and aspirations weave together in such dense and fast paced environments. In this piece I wanted to give a snapshot of web living in the city of New York, which is for me is one of the most interesting places I lived so far. Very simply, with a voice recorder on the side of my backpack, I recorded everything happening around, and then stitched the pieces together. The name of the piece is inspired by a middle-aged man who you can find on the A-line train on weekends selling fruit punch from an old black suit case.
What have you learnt from listening to the world more closely?
By listening to what was happening around me, I become more aware of the human potential of my commute and started to understand how the energy of the city relates to the way people feel, interact and react. The fact that when you move through such a big city, all of a sudden for some strange reason, your path crosses somebody else’s path, and you get the chance to see and hear people’s faces and words, to empathise with them or even imagine what their story is.