From an ancient game to a contemporary performative practice
In PLAY, a creation produced by Fabbrica Europa, which originates from the ancient game of the Pallone al bracciale, the Italian artist Alessandro Sciarroni revisits in a contemporary way, through a performance/live video installation, the concepts of time and duration, bringing the performers to measure themselves with dedication, endurance, energy.
The Pallone al bracciale is a game that was practiced during the Renaissance and that is still played in Italy in special facilities called Sferisteri. The game is based on the players’ ability to control and direct a leather ball with a “bracelet” (bracciale) – a heavy wooden cylinder fitted by pyramid tips that covers the hand – and throw it with precision and vigor from one side to the other of the playing field.
At the Sferisterio delle Cascine in Florence – 80 meters long and 18 meters wide field – a man, a Pallone al bracciale player, is alone in this huge space. With the heavy wooden “bracciale”, he relentlessly throws the leather ball against the wall. The lightness and agility in the feet and legs and the strength in the arms create a dynamic movement that becomes almost a dance.
Along the wall, three cameras that capture the details of the effort, of the flow of movements, of the ability to control the mighty blows. The images projected on the high wall let the viewer enter the game, returning the subjective view of the performer. Microphones pick up and amplify the impact of the ball on the “bracciale” and on the wall, or on the ground. A hard and increasingly loud sound that intertwines with the original sound composition created by Aurora Bauzà and Pere Jou (Telemann Rec.) to accompany the action.
The Pallone al bracciale, a team game, is depicted here in a solitary dimension. A lonely man in a huge space plays his own game. The solitude of a body that challenges its limits and expands the void, filling it with powerful echoes and resonances.