Kirsten Stromberg

Syracuse University Florence

La Riva: Along The 𝄐

Kirsten Stromberg, artist and educator, will discuss her project La Riva: Along The 𝄐 which was developed and exhibited at the Murate Art District in Florence from 2020-2021.  Inspired by the relational ecology of plants that live and die along the banks of the Arno River in Florence, the project included a series of graphic scores, an installation, a research residency, performances, and studio recordings. La Riva: Along The 𝄐 reflected on a series of questions such as: What is the plant “voice”, or the “plant music”, of The Arno?  How can we reposition, rethink, and extend sense-relations with the plants that live there and what would the music of this interplay be?  Can we pause to listen to these plants as fellow-beings, fellow-beings that are frequently neglected in the city of Florence that is so dedicated to “the human”, and highlight our co-existence with them? And lastly, how does one translate a drawing into sound?  Drawing from the spaces and movements left by the Common Reed, the Ribwort Plantain, and the Pondweed plants found along the Arno’s banks, Stromberg transposed the empty spaces resulting from their growth structures, how they swayed in the wind, or their movements in water onto musical forms. This led to a series of graphic scores performed by Renato Grieco (double bass), Francesco Pellegrino (saxophone and clarinet), and Francesco Toninelli (percussion and vibraphone). Neither entirely classical structured composition, nor entirely improvised, this project serves as a homage to the ephemeral and changing nature of plant relationships along the Arno as well as the human/plant interplay as musical potential.

This project formed part of a larger research platform at Murate Art District (MAD) called Progetto Riva. You can hear the recordings and performances on Stromberg’s website or on the MAD ARCHIVE.