Stramare Sound Machines

Stramare Sound Machines

Large scale metallic interactive sound installations created by Italian arts collective

In this post we present a series of interactive sound installations created by the Italian arts collective D20 ArtLab. Two interactive sculptures were created by the collective using Bela Mini and Trill Craft.

Sonic heritage and sound machines

At the end of 2020 La Giusta Distanza Festival directed by Mirko Artuso invited D20 ArtLab to conceive a multifaceted series of sonics work on a wide area in the hill-top Municipality of Segusino (Treviso – Veneto – Italia). The result was a varied series of sonic experiences and experiments called Stramare Sound Machines.

The work includes large-scale interactive sculptures and site-specific sound installations which manipulate the local sonic heritage. The work brings together many different materials, both electronic (Bela, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Teensy) and physical (metallic sculptures, acoustic instruments, live performance) and was embedded in the area of Stramare and Milies, two small villages whose houses are built in stone. The community of the villages took part in the project by collecting audio documents which were used as part of the works.

Stramare seen through one of the sculptures created by the collective.

For the duration of the event (four weeks in July 2021) the sonic environment of the area was disrupted by the presence of a new texture, a reformulation of the local sonic landscape itself. Each of the works produce sound in response to actions of the audience and to variations in the environment (light, temperature, movement, wind). They speak back to the landscape in which they are installed, and it is also the landscape which gives the works their raw sonic materials.

Sound Organs

Two elements of the work were fully developed on Bela Mini using a Trill Craft sensor. L’Organo della Chiesa and Il Grande Organo are two works which share a common structure and mechanism but differ greatly in scale and material. The first is a small interactive metallic sculpture which plays like a church organ and was installed in a small local church.

L’Organo della Chiesa

Il Grande Organo

The second is a much larger version of the same concept, to be placed outdoors, at the beginning of a woodland trail. Their sound is generated from a synth created with the FAUST DSP environment which runs on the Bela Mini. 

This work was inspired by Helen Leigh’s Sonic Sculptures which was previously featured on this blog.

The Lunatic Tambour

For D20 ArtLab the Stramare Sounds Machines project was a challenging and inspiring experience and they are continuing to develop new ideas with Bela.

An embryonic work which is taking form is Tamburo Lunatico. It’s a Bela Mini powered, Trill Craft equipped and Pure Data coded instrument, to be played in a theatrical rendition of Il segreto del bosco vecchio by Dino Buzzati.

More on that in the future!

About the creators

D20 ArtLab is an artist collective consisting of Sergio Marchesini, Francesco Ganassin, Vilson Luari and began as a spin-out from Ca’Foscari University, Venice. Its research involves mixing contemporary art with new technologies. D20 develops sound sculptures, data-art, sonifications, augmented soundscapes, video installations for public spaces, private companies and institutions.

Sergio Marchesini, Francesco Ganassin and Vilson Luari.

Sergio Marchesini plays piano and accordion as a studio and concert musician. In the last 15 years has been working as a soundtrack composer for cinema, video and theatre. He holds a certificate in Creative Coding from University of London International Programmes and one in Machine Learning For Musicians and Artists from Goldsmith University. He likes to develop software that ends up contradicting his intentions and produces better ideas than he would on his own. More info:

Francesco Ganassin is a bass clarinet player, composer and teacher. His research is focused on interaction between sound and other expressions: theatre, video, japanese calligraphy, architecture, jewellery, fairy tales, glass blowing, poetry. He has given concerts all over Europe and grabbed tens of CDs with contemporary, improvised and mediterranean traditional music ensembles, such as New Landscapes, Rituali, Ottomani, Trio Adriatica, Calicanto. More info:

Vilson Luari has been living in Italy for more than twenty years and was born in Albania. His polyhedric activity blends iron artistry, sculpture, music, music therapy with projects conceived for mental illness, disability, music in prison. For Stramare Sound Machines, both as a musician and an iron artist, he has worked on the design and construction of the big invented instruments, made out of iron and wood, blended with electronic elements.