Martina Raponi – Amsterdam Alternative Interview
At 15.10 on Wednesdays- Miss Martina and I share cigarettes, a series of random YouTube videos, and a passion for the same perfumes. Half-Italian and half a part of every city she’s lived in since leaving her hometown, she writes and talks about Noiserr, an art I had never hear of. Self-made, raw and authentic, this woman is a hurricane. If you are as curious about her as I am at this point, you can go look for her Butcher’s Tears where she curates the Noiserr events on a monthly basis.
1. First thing first - what is Noiserr?
Noiserr stands for Noise Reading and Research. It is a monthly event which aims at gathering people who are interested in discovering theories and practices which revolve around Noise, or that have to do with it even indirectly.
2. Tell me how you got into it and what fascinates you about it!
Noiserr was born thanks to an email I received by its co-founder, Max Hampshire, in September 2016. He had heard that I wanted to start a reading group about noise, and contacted me. We had a beer exchanged our experiences, thoughts, and passion about noise, sound and experimental music. After that, we started meeting regularly, bringing our favourite books about noise and our favourite noise practitioners, and thinking about how to set up a noise project, without flattening it into a “typical” reading group. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading groups even when they are a bit stiff and slow, but with Noiserr we wanted to design a format which would allow us to navigate theories and practices of noise in a way that could fully reflect the nature of the subject.
What we ended up doing was selecting fragments and excerpts from our personal book collections, and we designed a constellation of keywords around which we agglomerated groups of texts. Some keywords refer to different texts and thus a multitude of investigative directions is potentially present. We usually start from one text, to then navigate the Noiserr Readerr in a cybernetic way according to the connections between texts and to what the participants suggest in synergy or in contrast with each other. The reading group doesn’t focus on written text only, we also “read” sound, still and moving images, works of art, performances. I always try to avoid directing the reading group, even if sometimes it is unavoidable.
Noiserr is a way for me to continue researching a topic I wrote a book about (“Strategie del Rumore. Interferenze tra Arte Filosofia e Underground”, Auditorium Edizioni, Milano, 2015) and open up to group-thinking, which is something I needed in order to avoid replicating my own ways of conceptualizing the topic and creating references to it, calling into question what I wrote in the past in order to bring my understanding of noise to another level.
Noise is a fascinating, elusive, mutating topic. There are many, often are mutually exclusive understandings of noise. I became aware of this after a finishing my book, because I ended up having more questions than answers. Noise is a topic that raises many issues and causes debates. I am not a fundamentalist nor a fetishist of noise, and despite being desperately in love with some of the harshest noise practices, I also acknowledge how, nowadays, they manage to challenge a system, instead of replicating their own niches. This is a very uncomfortable thought and position, but it shouldn’t be misunderstood, since I still believe that independent practices (and noise/noisicians fall into that category most of the times, which is also something that can be debated, to be honest) need to be supported and protected at all costs. And again, here it’s clear how some practices manage to be labelled “noise” in terms of music genre, while others can be labelled as such mainly because of the disruptive potential they have: more to discuss! #noiserr
3. How receptive do you feel Amsterdam is to the Noiserr scene?
Noiserr has been received quite positively. Since its public debut in April 2017 it has been hosted by Butcher’s Tears Side Room/Side Real. BT is one of my favourite spots in Amsterdam, and I have a great respect for the place, its mission, and the people that run it. I am also very grateful for the work Janneke Absil has done in order to create a consistent image for our communication, which means that Noiserr can be advertised physically on printed paper in alternative places in Amsterdam.
Our participants are made up of returning readers who have been there from the beginning, people who joined only for a few times and those joining only for one session. Everybody is welcome to participate, since the reading group doesn’t evolve in a progressive way. Each session is different and tries to be as open as possible, so we can all be on the same page in terms of understanding what is being watched/read/listened to.
4. If you could share a drink with anyone dead or alive – who would that be?
I would share a glass - or rather a bottle - of red wine with my grandfather. He died when I had written only 12 pages of my book, and I wish he could see my endeavour accomplished. Jacob Bannon from Converge can join this drinking session too, order whatever you want from the menu, I’m paying.
5. What are your plans for the near future?
At the end of April 2018, Noiserr is finishing a series of three co-hosted sessions, and between May and September all sessions will be rebranded as “Regenerative Feedback + Noiserr”. This is part of a collaboration with the Regenerative Feedback project. I co-curated the New York reading groups that prepare the festival, and will I facilitate the reading groups in Amsterdam, at Butcher’s Tears, and in Rotterdam, at WORM’s Pirate Bay.
For the aftermath of Regenerative Feedback I am sure Noiserr will have to take an extra step, and I am currently working on it.