March 22, 2013


Considering the intensity of a poem like the Four Quartets, it is not obviously easy to include its meaning inside an artwork, and it's even more difficult to describe the processes, the procedures and the researches necessary for the creation of the audio-visual project that is 4/Quarti.

After the exhausting attempt to reproduce an audio-visual message equivalent to the poem, starting from its merely literary part, it is needed to accept immediately the impossibility to find a perfectly clear correspondence of the handled elements, the recalled contexts and the typical features of a poetical text. For this reason the "homage" was based only on a few contents exposed by Eliot, trying to make a synthesis of them that would have highlighted the sensory perception of the verses and manly showed what the literary language itself was unable to express through the syntax. Many components already cleverly used in the poem are duplicated in the audio-visual work, emphasizing the symbolic clues.

“The extreme complexity of the Eliotian symbolism rotates around a fundamental quadripartition in seasons and natural elements: I – Spring, Air; II – Summer, Earth; III – Autumn, Water; IV – Winter, Fire.” (A. Tonelli)

This quadripartition, besides to be present in the project, is stressed by the addition of chromatic sensations connected to each season and natural element; basically, the relationships between the symbolic components and the visual perception of the scenes are created thanks to colours. A colour is associated to every quarter: green (I), yellow (II), blue (III) and red (IV).

Moreover the four sequences develop a cyclical structure as a metaphor of man life, starting with the representation of death and old age in the first quarter and ending with childhood and birth in the fourth part. A further symbolic bond of the Eliotian poem has a religious nature that is punctually expressed in the video through the evocative recall to sacred contexts. The religious concepts linked to the four visual sequences are: redemption (I), sacrifice (II), eucharist (III) and sin (IV).

All these parallelisms give shape to a dialogue among mystic elements of nature, man and religion in which is debated an existential and anthropological impoverishment of the human being in the presence of life. It is represented philosophically as a journey that leads to a destination of resolution and wisdom where to find stillness.

Finally, there is the last important aspect connected to the occurrence of sensory perceptions: the set-up of key-scenes that show some audio-visual elements related to the five senses has established an informative relationship with the phenomenon of the synchronized audio-visual communication, getting close as much as possible to a cross-modal stimulation. Therefore clear references to the sight (I), the touch (II), the hearing (III) and the taste (IV) have been included in the project.

In order to emphasize the perceptual emotions and the cryptic characteristics contained in Eliot poem, the verbal component has been totally excluded from the video to avoid an attention shifting towards the poetical structure. Nevertheless the human voice is present inside the communicational context and completely dominates it in different fragments.

In this sense, the video wants to perform a real communicative experience of the Eliotian imagination and create a complete perceptional interaction thanks to a peculiar style of the audio-visual expression that uses images and sounds of natural landscapes, animals and people.

Anyway, in order to ease the comprehension of the work, verses of the text of the Four Quartets are linked below because they are helpful for observing the analogies between the audio-visual project and the poem.

Four Quartets Poem
Directed by Alex Calò
Music composed by Alex Calò
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