Voices from the Wild

Thea Hawlin explores the music of the ecosphere

Bernie Krause first recorded the sounds of the natural world by chance. In 1968, while making an album with fellow electronic-music pioneer Paul Beaver, it fell to Krause to source a natural soundscape in the park. He feels lucky that it did: “As soon as I switched on my machine and heard the breadth and detail of the habitat through my headphones, I made the decision then and there to find a way to record those sounds for the remainder of my life.”

Krause was only 30, but as a musician, and a representative for the fledgling Moog synthesisers, he’d already collaborated with many musicians and directors. Most famously he was one of the repeatedly fired and re-hired hands on the set of Apocalypse Now. Yet in 1979 he quit the world of music and film and began the “refreshing” transition to bioacoustics. “Working at sea, in the forests and plains, made me feel alive and connected to life in a way that no other activity did.”

Following a PhD in biophonics, Krause published The Great Animal Orchestra, which detailed his work recording natural environments around the world. It caught the imagination of Hervé Chandès, director of Paris’s Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art, who envisioned a large public installation based around Krause’s soundscapes. Converted into particles of light by London-based studio United Virtual Artists, the recordings became a responsive, three-dimensional electronic artwork; an immersive experience in which ribbons of light travel across the walls of the gallery, visualising the depths of the sound-worlds.

Krause’s archive includes more than 5,000 hours of recordings from 2,000 habitats; of the 15,000 species recorded, around 50 per cent come from habitats that have since been destroyed. “Everything about this installation speaks to the issue of climate change,” he says. “Every habitat represented is now either completely gone, or so seriously compromised that it is unrecognisable.”

But Krause is optimistic about the project’s impact: “Hopefully, once visitors experience the splendour of the world expressed here, they will be inspired to respond in ingenious ways… The future belongs to those who can hear it coming.” Nature, as Krause makes clear, is a universal language – one we need to listen to before it’s too late. 

This article is taken from issue 25. To buy the issue or subscribe, click here


Thea Hawlin looks back at the life and work of Marcello Mastroianni, the shape-shifting film icon

You already know the scene. ‘Marcello!’ the beautiful blond cries, the train of her black dress swimming in the waters of the Trevi fountain, ‘Marcello! Come here!” Her arms open wide. Marcello. The character and the actor. In the moment he answers the call, the two become one and the same.

This scene in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita made Marcello Mastroianni. Born in 1924 in the small town of Fontana Liri, in Mastroianni’s own words: “We accepted poverty as a natural condition of our lives. My mother said my father was a cabinetmaker, but he only repaired broken furniture in a garage. He also repaired the holes in my shoes with pieces of aluminum; when I walked, it sounded like a horse. I wore my uncle’s hand-me-down clothes – my arms hung out; they called me ‘skinny-paws.’” It feels strange to think that the boy who used to clop around wearing hand-me-downs would become famous for his fine-tailoring, a “luxury tourist” (his own words) who would fly his Roman barber Guilio out to Hollywood at a moment’s notice.

Fellini’s Marcello, his pursuit of women and stories, matched Mastroianni’s own tale. Soon Marcello personified La Dolce Vita: the suave-suited evenings, the skinny ties and double-breasted blazers, the dark glasses lifted by a single finger to glimpse the world before slipping back down onto an elegant Roman nose. Mastroianni was the glamorous Italian who wandered Rome at night, like a knight swooping in to save a damsel in distress. His heroism in the now iconic Trevi Fountain scene where he leads Anita Ekberg by the hand back to the bank, and back to reality, is legendary. As he waded through the 257 year-old fountain’s waters little did he know he was walking towards a whole new chapter of his career; his relationship with Fellini would last a lifetime.

To celebrate the life and work of Mastroianni, a collection of photographs, posters and archival materials are on show in Rome’s Museo dell’Ara Pacis. Mastronianni’s range is impressive. In 1960, the year he was officially dubbed a sex symbol, he played Mauro Bolognini’s impotent Sicilian count in Bell’Antonio. Looking around, we see him as a taxi driver, a priest, a NATO officer, a retired pimp, even a tap-dancer. Elegant one moment, scruffy the next, his hair long and bedraggled, then short and smooth, his face is continually transformed: moustached, bearded, or clean-shaven. His career is marked by international awards: three Oscar nominations for Best Actor, two Golden Globes, eight David di Donatello awards, two prizes from the Cannes Film Festival and two Volpi Cups at the Venice Film Festival. With more than a hundred films made between the forties and the end of the nineties, Mastroianni talked about his life as one lived “in brackets”, jumping from character to character from one set to the next. Mario Monicelli, director of several Mastroianni films noted his ability to tap into a true depth of emotion: ”he draws it out of a tremendous reservoir.”

”It’s like a woman getting pregnant,” was Mastroianni’s own take. ”This character, this person that I am to become, starts to grow inside me, little by little. He begins to talk to me, and I listen like a primitive naïf. If I don’t listen, he will die in me. So I’m eating a plate of spaghetti and I hear him. Then I stop somewhere, say, at a traffic light – and there he is in the car next to me. In a flash, I know all about him – his wife, his children, his mistresses, his fantasies, all of it. So when I come onto the set, I ask, ‘What happens to me today?’ They tell me, and this character inside me takes over.”

Fellini echoed the same sentiment: ”Marcello is less an actor than a person who gets inside a role and turns it into temporary reality.” He loved Marcello because on set he had “already digested the part and reconstructed it.” Digestion feels like a fitting term for the actor who declared: “You can work on your character while you’re eating spaghetti in a crowded restaurant”. What Monicelli saw as a reservoir, Mastroianni might instead have called a stomach. “I’m a good actor” he said, “because I’ve lived a full life.” Reaching into the depths of one’s own experience was never going to be a clear dive into still water for the Italian star; it was a dive into a full belly, into one’s own organs, a space filled with experience, with flavour; a melting pot that fed his work and life completely.

Yet you are what you eat. Mastroianni’s wife Flora Carabella saw the ways this ‘digestion’ changed her husband with each role; she declared he was a man “made of modeling clay”. For Mastroianni it was less a moulding, more a complete transference: “I only exist when I am working on a film.” Looking around at the images that plaster these Roman walls, one feels the truth of curator Gian Luca Farinelli’s assertion that Mastroianni’s filmography should be treated as “a mirror of his own life”; Mastroianni may be gone, but as this collection attests, his characters live on.

Port takes a look at The Best of Spring Tailoring

Fanatic Feelings: Fashion plays Football

Thea Hawlin uncovers the intimate connection between fashion and football

Oscar Wilde famously declared that football was the sport of gentlemen played by barbarians. Barbarians or not, players and supporters have always had a keen sense of style, influencing trends on and off the pitch. In Florence earlier this year, Pitti Uomo saw the opening of an exhibition, curated by critic Francesco Bonami and Markus Ebner, the founding editor of German magazines Achtung Mode and Sepp, that explores the links between the beautiful game and the clothing that makes it possible.

Under ancient vaulted ceilings, Fanatic Feelings greets its audience with the triumphant roar of stadium crowds, blasted from speakers to ricochet off the cool stone walls. Colours dance in projected super-sized video footage around the main hall – deep red, bright white, vivid blue, neon yellow. It’s a captivating spectacle, the strange movements of the crowds: the swaying arms, coordinated clapping, open chanting mouths, each team demarcated by their own signs, colours and traditions.

There is a sense of unity in these scenes, not merely in the teams but among the crowds that support them. To watch these fans move so seamlessly together is to see the power of fashion in action. We witness the symbolism of colour in all its fragmented forms: hats, jerseys, scarves and shoes coalesce in a vortex of cheers and cries; a literal tie, binding players and supporters.

“Playing with no fans is like dancing without music,” said Eduardo Galeano, football’s ‘pre-eminent man of letters’; it matters how this music plays itself out, how it presents itself. The football jersey has a history of great cultural significance and a beautiful subsection of the exhibition, entitled Azzurra and curated by the Italian magazine Undici, looks at the changing design of the national Italian team’s iconic blue jersey. In a country where one of the most popular newspapers is the Gazzetta dello Sport (which in Italy is practically shorthand for Football), the fact that a magazine such as Undici can survive (along with Tuttosport, Corriere dello Sport, to name a few) at a time when print media is famously struggling, speaks volumes for the significance of the game in Italy.

Azzurra reveals there’s power in the smallest of details. Take the way that in 1936, when Italy won the Olympic Football Tournament in Berlin, the team wore jerseys emblazoned with the Fascist logo, alongside the Savoy coat of arms. After the defeat of Fascism and the end of WWII, the jersey instead bore a tricolour badge – the country’s identity stripped back and renewed, representing much more than simple unstitching of fabric.

Emilia Cavanna, the mother of legendary striker Silvio Piola, embroidered her son’s jersey to commemorate Italy’s match against Austria in 1935, which saw Piola score both goals against Italy’s rivals in Vienna. Thanks to his mother, Piola carried that memory from his debut match as part of the national team with him throughout his career, clothing himself not merely in a piece of apparel, but in his own history. 

Details like this make clear how fashion and football share an “immediacy” and an “emotional element”, as Bonami says, that deserves rigorous interrogation. One only has to think of Annibale Frossi, a player made famous not only for his skill on the pitch, but for his penchant for wearing glasses while playing – an aesthetic decision, that, though charged with necessity, also provided him with a sartorial identity.

In the age of athleisure, with sportswear a prominent part of how we dress, and athletes heralded as style icons, it’s little wonder that designers now create team uniforms and present collections inspired by the game. Today footballers habitually take front row seats at fashion shows and star as models in advertising campaigns.

The exhibition traces these icons, from George Best in his striped shirt to Beckham in a burgundy beanie. Paparazzi snapshots sit next to editorials and advertisements – an embellished Neymar at a Balmain show in Paris next to Keisuke Honda in Tokyo, decked out in a yellow blazer, floral trousers and tasseled moccasins (a uniform that presents a marked distance from the simplicity of shorts and jersey) – exemplifying, again and again, how fashion attempts, successfully and unsuccessfully, to harness football’s energy from all corners: sport, players, fandom.  

“The deeper affinity between football and fashion is this,” declares Luke Leitch, the fashion writer, his words loudly printed in bold red type on the wall: “Both are entirely artificial constructs: games into which their respective supporters pour their emotional and financial investment every season, before that season ends and we start all over again.” 

These cycles reveal the enduring appeal that such spectacles and rituals share. It’s hard to forget the impact of a great game, just as it’s hard to forget the impact of great fashion; despite the impermanence and disposability of each season’s designs, the legacy endures. Fanatic feelings, as this exhibition demonstrates, are not easily forgotten. 

FANATIC FEELINGS – Fashion Plays Football was held at Complesso di Santa Maria Novella, Florence from 13th June to 22nd July 2018.