The audio programme played is ‘experimental, ambient and abstract’
Italy - Located in the heart of ancient Rome, within the historic Palazzo Roccagiovine, FOROF is an exhibition space which combines the archaeology of the ancient city with contemporary art. The venue is right in front of Trajan’s Column and is a two-level space which features subterranean rooms that allow visual access to coloured marbles and the flooring of the Basilica Ulpia, in addition to the remains of the eastern apse.
It was created by, and is managed by, Giovanna Caruso Fendi and its inaugural exhibition (Lovotic) took place in the first half of 2022. Lovotic illustrates the blending of human and machine, with narrative voices intersecting and being reprocessed by an algorithm, resulting in a composite and unprecedented language somewhere between human and robotic. The event relied on an immersive sound installation created by New York based Soundwalk Collective who used a range of Outline products throughout the various spaces.
Founded by Stephan Crasneanscki and based in New York City, Soundwalk Collective is an experimental sound collective which operates in a constantly rotating constellation of sound artists and musicians. Its approach to composition combines anthropology, ethnography, nonlinear storytelling, psychogeography, observation of nature and exploration of recording and synthesis techniques. The source material for its works is always related to specific places, natural or man-made, and requires long periods of study and fieldwork.
“The audio programme played is quite peculiar: experimental, ambient, abstract and minimal electronic music alternating with whispers and rants referring to the theme of the exhibition” explains Pierfrancesco d’Aloisio, Outline’s system engineer who oversaw the entire project. “The whole underground area has been equipped as an immersive sound field in order to capture the visitor and guide them through the path.”
Pierfrancesco continues, “The macro area was divided into small zones with a corridor connecting rooms or alcoves, each of them with works of a different nature (sculptures, paintings), and then ending in the large underground hall of the archaeological excavation. The sound designers’ idea was to have an immersive experience with a multi-track program so almost all the speakers had their own exclusive signal.”
There were 12 processing signals in total, feeding six Outline L3000 power amplifiers, driving a total of six Ai41 column loudspeakers, nine Charlie 4 miniature cube speakers and 10 proprietary acoustic prediction software, OpenArray 3D.
“Before defining the final speaker locations, we discussed what were the requirements and the effect we wanted to achieve and then convey to the public,” continues Pierfrancesco. “The first version of the project envisioned a ‘mixed’ use, with a combination of Ai and Charlie 4 columns. After various developments of the project we decided to use nine Charlie 4’s in the archaeological excavation while six Ai41’s were used in the antecedent area.”
The sound design required the archaeological area to achieve a higher SPL than the other sections. It was not possible to wall-mount loudspeakers there so Charlie 4 units were mounted on rods fixed to ceiling cubes and placed at different heights, oriented towards the walkway in order to achieve proper coverage. Their unusual conical directivity also allowed the sound within that space to be focused with perfect definition and clarity.
FOROF’s creator Giovanna Caruso Fendi comments, “The installation of Outline’s technical products could not disregard the absolute respect for the archaeological area of the Basilica Ulpia on the underground floor of the FOROF spaces. The archaeological remains of absolute historic-artistic importance were enhanced by the presence of a high-performance sound system that enabled the creation of a dialogue between archaeology and contemporary art, embracing FOROF’s mission.”

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