»Language is the first creative act«

Isabella Bordoni in Conversation with Sabine Breitsameter

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“My first language is my body. Body is a language into temporal and spatial coordinates. I always felt and feel the need to enlarge my body’s borders and explore the experience of sharing. A digital network is an enlarged body, exploring a new concept of border and territory. Its geographical references move to the community of ideas, and this community of ideas is the main interest for me in art and net.”Sabine Breitsameter:

Isabella, in your multimedia works, in your network-based works, language and poetry play the important roles – predominantly sonic roles. Why is language so important to your art?

Isabella Bordoni:

My first passion is language. I think, language is the first creative act. Language connects us with our space, with our internal and external world.

There is a language made out of silence, there is a language made out of gesture, there is a language made out of pulse, there is a language already printed in our genetic map. Language means to me space of informational data in a rhythmical organization. Poetry is the place where word and sound make a common space.

In the common space of word and sound, there is where I feel my primary nature and my biological time.

Sabine Breitsameter:

Where did your artistic biography start?

Isabella Bordoni:

When I was eighteen years old I became a teacher in a primary school for deaf-and-dumb people. I learnt deaf-and-dumb alphabet and they learnt how to decode my labial language. That was the beginning of my professional life. Now, which is more then twenty years later, I like to include that experience in my artistic background, because those five years of job were able to give a shape to the entire attitude of my future artwork. That was my first conscious experience with »language«, in my adult age.

Sabine Breitsameter:

In the mid-eighties you co-founded and co-directed the media art group Giardini Pensili, which became quite renown for their radiophonic productions, and today you are working as an individual, using multimedia and digital networks, to articulate your predominantly sonic artistic position. What has changed in your art comparing 1985 with the year 2002?

Isabella Bordoni:

Then and now, I was and I am focused on investigation of acoustical and visual perception, language and communication systems, new technologies and their relationships with memory. My fields of work were and still are, radio, theatre, performing art, media. My materials were and still are, space, time, nature.

My feeling and instruments are, both and at the same time, poetry and sound.

Time, space, nature appears to me with them as a multiplicity of meaning and possibilities, leading into a new vision of art. – In September 2000 I was invited by the Ars Electronica Festival for the Klangpark project. They invited me as a »composer«.

This simple word »composer« was able to open to me an entire inner landscape and makes me able to take the entire responsibility of my art project.

Sabine Breitsameter:

Why did you become interested in using digital networks and new media for your sonic poetry work?

Isabella Bordoni:

My first language is my body. Body is a language into temporal and spatial coordinates. I always felt and feel the need to enlarge my body’s borders and explore the experience of sharing. A digital network is an enlarged body. In my entire work micro- and macrocosmos are engrafting one into the other, making thicker and thicker the grid of different glances. Everything appears, in its own nature, as being »point« and »place«. Then, whatever creative act means: art for me is to create a place.

To write, to walk, to follow a rhythm with words or music, whatever: the existence looks for a place to stay. A digital network is the enlarged body that explores a new concept of border and territory. Its geographical references move to the community of ideas, and this community of ideas is the main interest for me in art and net.

Sabine Breitsameter:

This idea of community and of sharing is not new to you. You have been involved in network audio and new media projects since the early nineties. What was your first project?

Isabella Bordoni:

The first piece using Internet data transmissions where I was involved, was the collaborative work called Realtime (1993), an ORF-Kunstradio-Radiokunst performance. Many artists were involved. For Realtime I took care of the text and its dramaturgy. The entire group of artists involved in Realtime were both authors and performers; together they developed a shared telematic stage for actors and the public in three Austrian radio and television stations. As images, sounds and Internet data transmissions fed into the network, robots and sound generators enabled artists in multiple locations to modify and reciprocally control the development of events in real time. That was my first experience in using networks.

Sabine Breitsameter:

In which respects are technical structures or computer processes important to your Internet works?

Isabella Bordoni:

My Internet work is, until now, more based on feeling then on logical process. I think that my work experience with network media brings out my passion for »stage« and tries to develop it into a mathematical mechanism. But whatever I call »mathematical« or »mechanism« or »system« is again related with emotion and not so much related with its internal coherence. I think what I am really interested in is, to create a place and a space, to create a new system of geographical and temporal coordinates.

Sabine Breitsameter:

What do you think: How do networks change the concept of poetry? What becomes of word, language, text in the networks?

Isabella Bordoni:

I think that poetry by itself, both written on page and orally expressed, does not change its nature through the net. Nevertheless, I suppose that the net helps imagination. I think that making information data more accessible, it helps the possibility to perceive a large range of meanings. Language can become a common texture for reciprocal interferences. I think, the net is a common platform to share our intimate and public space in a community.

Sabine Breitsameter:

Isabella, thank you very much.

Biography

Isabella Bordoni, *1962, media artist, author, composer and performer lives in Rimini/Italy. Together with Roberto Paci Dalò, she was co-founder and co-director, of the media art group Giardini Pensili, which became involved soon in early experiments with new media and digital networks. Since 2000 Isabella is working individually, creating installations, live performances and network based audio and multimedia works. Her work had been presented in Europe, USA and the Middle East and broadcast by numerous European radio stations; she had been artist in residence at the Ars Electronica Future-Lab, Linz/Austria, and at the Carl-Djerassi-Foundation, San Francisco.

Projects

  • 2003 CIRCONFERENZE BOOK out on march 16
  • 2003 FIORITURE [archivio sensibile delle parole] a piece for the web starting on march 21st
  • 2003 STANZE D’ASCOLTO, Live and radio on march 21st , Haus der Berliner Festspiele/Deutschlandradio, BERLIN
  • 2002 INNESTI_Dialoghi sulla Natura e sul Tempo Teatro Petrella Longiano
  • 2002 RADIOTOPIA Soirée, Klangpark, on-site/on-line/on-air at Ars Electronica Festival
  • 2002 POETRYBOXMACHINE/INSTALLATION, Galleria dell’immagine, Rimini
  • 2002 POETRY BOX: Discorsi e Frammenti SFB Berlin
  • 2001 POETRY BOX: Recita dell’ombra ORF Kunstradio Vienna
  • 2001 CIRCONFERENZE/Kreislinien Deutschland Radio Berlin
  • 2001 WHERE IS RUDY?_table of possibilities, Halle D
  • 2001 LUME LUME (cd: Alexander Balanescu, Isabella Bordoni, Rupert Huber, Sergio Messina, Siegfried Ganhör, to rococo rot – Staubgold Records, Köln
  • 2000 Ars Electronica, Linz – Klangpark 2000

published March 2003 in The Interview

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