Go to a rough part of town that builders and profiteers have been eyeing for decades for its breathtakingly beautiful sea views and start listening.
Augmented audio reality
When Riverrun’s Lorenzo Mori approached me last year commissioning a series of podcasts to accompany twelve food recipes to be published in a travel guide, I was intrigued. My creations are usually born in the solitude of a room as ghosts of my soul, personal reflections, intimate thoughts.
I had in the past created the occasional commissioned podcast, but that too had been the result of me and my recorder, alone, writing at my desk and recording inside my wardrobe. Lorenzo asked for the full power of my wildest imagination – “You have complete freedom, just interpret it however you want”- and at the same time, my stories had to fit within the multilayered construction created by a diverse group of talented creatives.
The project I am talking about is Nonturismo Sant’Elia: deviazioni inedite raccontate dagli abitanti (NonTourism Sant’Elia: original detours told by its people). Let me take a step back, this is how it works:
- go to a rough part of town that builders and profiteers have been eyeing for decades for its breathtakingly beautiful sea views;
- take a group of fierce women and transform them into community editorial stuff;
- accompany the fierce women with artists in residence: a writer, a designer, a graphic artist, a chef and a podcaster;
- ask the writer to polish the rough diamonds waiving them into an intriguing journey, imbuing them with poetry, imagination and narrative cohesion;
- let the graphic artist create vintage-pop imagery that is as disquieting as it is fascinating;
- allow the designer give it a form that wraps and reinforces the content;
- charge the chef with the oxymoron of working with the women to invent a traditional recipe;
- unleash the podcaster to create stories that talk about the people and the recipes, without mimicking the book content while actually talking about the people and the places;
- use an app that magically starts playing the audio stories by themselves once you find yourself on the corresponding physical landmark along one of the suggested routes of the guide.
The result is a book that enthralls with stories of genuine people, twelve chapters for as many suggested strolls within a remarkable landscape, to meet a variety of characters, some real, others mythological, eleven recipes brimming with tradition and one unique traditional creation born from the collaboration of Sant’Elia’s women with chef Daniele De Michele, Donpasta for the connoisseurs, and one of the most influential chefs for the New York Times.
My tracks of audio augmented reality fit within the big picture by creating
a parallel level of narration that doesn’t want to explain or describe, but just to engage, enough to have listeners longing for more.
One of the challenges consisted in fashioning podcasts that were somehow coherent within themselves but not repetitive, capable of surprise the listener off guard. Each time. For this reason,
you’ll find narrative pieces together with soundscapes and stream of consciousness, each track containing secrets (Easter eggs that the attentive listener will be easily detect), modulations of the corresponding chapter and reflections of the landscape they fit in.
And the landscape becomes an active player thanks to the partnership with Loquis, an app that allows the listener to have the audio track start by itself once you find yourself physically in one of the twelve landmarks that are the starting point for the routes suggested to the reader.
Use your mobile to read the QRcode on the book and follow the channel Nonturismo to have my stories pop up automatically (and somehow magically) inside your earphones, without you having to do anything but enjoy the ride.
I certainly enjoyed my ride in crafting what I consider being my best audio creations ever. I don’t want to spoil them for you by telling what they talk about. And I will be looking forward to hearing from you, also to accompany you through the routes of Sant’Elia, should you happen to come to this part of the world.
The book Nonturismo Sant’Elia: deviazioni inedite raccontate dagli abitanti is edited by Ediciclo Editore.
Writer Mauro Tetti
Illustrations Officine Arc laRue / Erik Chevalier, Laura Farneti
Photos Gisella Congia
Graphic design StudioDeposito/Alberto Marci
Podcasts Cristina Marras
Community editorial staff the women of Sant’Elia and the organisation Sant’Elia Viva