Friday, April 17, 2009

Francesco Giannico: Folkanization

Boing Boing recently featured the seamstress Althea Crome that knits miniature clothing (her work was used in the perfectly marvelous film Coraline), and it started me thinking again about how miniatures offer such a vast emotional palette. A recent and fairly popular photography technique called tilt-shift has been cropping up all over the intertubes. Tilt-shift photographs take real world environments and create the illusion of scale-models. Some fine examples are here and here and even a video version here:

[actually looks better with the sound off]

There is some pretty great ambient music that can draw your attention towards the smaller, more detailed areas of consciousness, but it wasn't until I heard Folkanization by Francesco Giannico that I began to imagine that there could be a musical version of tilt-shift. Giannico layers miniature sounds into vast landscapes, but your attention never wanders from those micro-details that imbue it all with so much life. His colors are more muted than those that are found in tilt-shift, but his vision of life in small scale has even more quiet emotional resonance than those photos made to look like a town from a Z-gauge train setup.

So what it about miniaturization that moves us so? Part of it, I think, has to do with the way we project a kind of magician's skill on the artist. As Crome describes in the feature about her, there is as much a fascination with the final product as there is with the tools that are used: tiny needles, paintbrushes made from a single horsehair, tweezers that can pinch together microscopic threads. Miniaturists seem akin to alchemists, whether working with paint or carvings,they are creating something that is not only made precious by their size, but magical by the their very possibility. There is also a mythic quality, as we unconsciously recall the little worlds that make up our childhoods, that as children we create, but that we are also told about, like Peter Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland, and the Lilliputians.

Giannico weaves on a tiny loom, but the resulting soundscapes stretch on into infinity. The mix of electronics and acoustics are not haphazard, but feel as deliberate as a tiny brush against a tiny canvas.

--Francesco Giannico: Kami Akan Biasa

--And you can buy it here

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