The young generation of Italy are challenged if they want to step out of the overshadowing media story about the country’s current situation; that of economical difficulties, political stagnation and a migrant situation which is always sure to make international headlines over almost anything else that is going on in the country. 

Many young Italians give up hope that conditions and prospects will change for them in their home country and decide to move to Central or Northern Europe in the search of better job opportunities. Perhaps leaving the impression that the chances to construct new movements in Italy are close to non existing. 

So it’s all the more exciting to find examples of the opposite being the case.

Naples is a city where private initiatives in the cultural world are thriving even if there is little public funding to find for artistic projects outside of the established institutions. 

The two musicians Renato Grieco and Guilio Nocera are committed to putting Italy, and Naples in particular, on the map in the context of modern art. 

In collaboration with Fondazione Morra and the Museo Hermmann Nitsch they have started the musical festival “La Digestion” presenting international names such as Trevor Wishart og David Toop.

The artistic characteristic of their project could be placed somewhere between underground, avantgarde or elitist art, but instead of isolating their project to such a frame, they consciously get involved on a broader level.

– We have arranged these concerts to tell the city, what we think music is today, Renato explains in an interview I did with him and Guilio in April. 

– Our festival could not have been started in any other city, Guilio continues. It’s so closely linked to the idea about investigating new and hidden places in the city. Every concert takes place in a different location, that we choose particularly for each musician we invite to play at the festival. They arrive at least a week ahead of the concert in order to create a relationship with the place and they compose or arrange their pieces based on that. 

– If you listen to the streetlife here, you will quickly realize that the way the sounds are organized are closely linked to the music we create, says Renato. Chaos is a part of the city. We express ourselves through noise. Just like the people of Naples adapt spontaneously to the chaos we live in. 

The title of the festival “La Digestion” refers to a sound poem from 1972 by one of the pioneers of experimental music, Henri Chopin. 

– He decided to swallow a microphone in order to record the sound of the inner parts of the body. It sounds like a joke maybe, but it was a really strong gesture. He stopped writing poetry and burned all his papers. His focus was the sound, rather than the meaning of words, says Guilio. 

The boundary pushing music has reached a broader audience than expected. 

– One could think that people would feel weird about the kind of music we produce. But often we discover that it’s a prejudice. People just don’t know what it is. We have found that many are open and curious about it. This is only the 2nd edition of the festival and already there’s been 300-400 people at each concert. 

– Throughout the year we also do unannounced concerts, says Renato: at Metro stations or post offices for instances. Places where people come to do practical things. Many enjoyed listening to sounds they didn’t expect to find in these places. 

-There are also people who tell us to fuck off, says Guilio. But that kind of reaction is part of the energy of this city. We enjoy that things are not so easy. We want a dialogue with people, and it’s not all verbal. 

Apart from listening to the music our festival is an invitation for people to take a look at the city, he concludes.  To take an inner look. 


Video reportage of the concert “Improvvisazione”:



To read about the festival:

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