Philip Samartzis & Eric La Casa’s “Captured Space” reviewed by Neural

Even in Kruger National Park (South Africa), a huge subtropical area, crossed by many rivers and by the Tropic of Capricorn, hosting the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga, it is possible to identify a sharp division between natural and constructed landscapes. The latter are definitely smaller and made almost exclusively to allow the tourists to visit these locations and enjoy a unique landscape. In contrast to the European landscape, where this difference is softer and the countryside is largely the result of an anthropic adaptation, here indigenous nature, inhospitable for human beings, is preserved as it actually is. Tourists are confined within some highly delimited areas, often with high fences and high-tension electric enclosures. As it also usual in any park, there are souvenir shops, restaurants and shelters for the tourists, and several rest areas. Philip Samartzis and Eric La Casa recorded the sounds of Captured Space over ten days. Because of the strict regulations of the park, which the two artists initially ignored, every audio recording concerning the open spaces was made on a vehicle, or inside the environments they lodged in during the night. Most of the time the sound was “far” from the field recorders, but eventually for the project this turned out to be a great creative possibility, rather than a limitation. The duo could physically report the reality of an uncontaminated yet claustrophobic space, where human beings are just passing by, while animals paradoxically are more free than the exotic mix of people who are constrained by their environment. The work by Sarartzis and La Casa might look controversial, due to the way it was made, but it depicts a “non-ordinary reality”, by showing a quite regulated context. The final result is some brilliant and rich recordings, cleverly spatialized and full of unconventional sounds. Aurelio Cianciotta

via Neural