Streets of…7 minutes in 7 cities is a video sound installation by artist Alda Terracciano, which moves from a research into the collective memory of seven cities around the world – Naples (Italy), Shanghai (China), Mumbai (India), Tangier (Morocco), Lisbon (Portugal), Salvador de Bahia (Brazil), and London (UK) – and invites audiences to take a swim in their everyday life as it naturally unrolls in their streets, alleyways and boulevards. The aim of this journey is to uncover the ancestral memories of three intersecting migration routes – the Indo-European migrations, the Silk Road and the Transatlantic Slave Trade – as they unconsciously resurface in the way people move, talk, and act in public spaces across the globe. This blog has been created to record the progress of Alda Terracciano in this journey.
The project follows the artist’s autobiographical trajectory from Naples to London – two intercultural cities, which, in their different, peculiar ways, are crossroads of local/global cultural identities. The cities are pivots of three intersecting wheels explored in the project, whose rays reach out towards other places in the world. These places represent the incarnation of past encounters, which over centuries have progressively entered Southern and Northern Europe to become an integral part of their everyday life and culture. Resonating with the quantum physics concept of entanglement, that defines the interconnection between remote systems, the project explores the cultural DNA of the seven cities through an observation and extraction of specific memes embedded in the everyday life. Considered by some theorists as cultural analogues to genes, memes indicate units of cultural ideas, symbols or practices transmitted from one person to another through speech, gestures, rituals and other cultural phenomena. Hence, the memes observed in Naples and London are put in relation to those observed in the other cities, and organised in patterns of relationship through the dynamic interaction between the visual and the sound landscape of the video sound edits.
Streets of… 7 minutes in 7 cities is conceived as a meditation on the act of seeing and listening, a virtual walk around the world where the interaction between memory, human body and the urban environment can be re-interpreted according to people’s own personal narratives and stories. It takes people beyond the regime of the visual to awaken their critical approach to cultural stereotypes and current geopolitics.