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Sound piece by Paola Catizone and Nigel wood. Vocals by Maia Loughran and Julie Landers

Thunderous Silence,

Catizone was invited to produce two works for MOE (Museum of Everyone) run by curators Richard Carr and Brendan Fox, for their Sleepertown sonic art trail in Lazio, Italy. The request was to produce a sound piece to be installed for one year in the Fossanova Abbey, in Lazio, and also to create a performance for the opening of the project which took place at the Giulianello lake, near the town of Cori, also in Lazio.

Exhibited at

Sound piece

Thunderous Silence takes its name from a Buddhist notion; the potentiality of all sounds being inherent in apparent silence. Both Thunderous silence and luminous void  refer to an "empty fullness" in Buddhist philosophy.

In this short audio piece, the artists summon nature through its sounds, layering it with human voice and everyday sounds to create a "wave", rising from gentle to culminate in a fierce, thunderous auditory cacophony....and back down to silence.

In the historical setting of Fossanova, this work proposes a dialogue between nature and culture, human and non-human, male and female.

There is a nod to the figure of Thomas Aquinas, and to his terror of thunder and lightning. The artists suggest that a fear of nature and of the feminine underly much of the western cultural canon, and present us, in this work, with the power and the awe inspiring presence of the physical, natural world.


A series of discussions with Brendan Fox in Dublin stimulated ideas — Catizone used a 14 metres long fluorescent green piece of fabric. She constructed a simple tunic, with a long train, to be used at the Giulianello lake.

Nigel Wood selected a soundtrack for the performance; 30 minutes of music primarily from the traditions of trance Italian music, such as Taranta as well as electronic music and mournful ballads. The sound track was subdivided into: Music for the forest, to be played during the procession-like walk through the beautiful forest before arriving at the lake, and then music for the lake.

Giulianello lake was the setting of a singular filming of Inferno, by Helios film company from Velletri, where a large number of local people acted as extras in an epic movie that evoked Bosh’s Garden of Earthly Delights and the Cabinet of Dr Calligari.

Catizone's childhood memories of La Commedia, which her grandmother used to read to her, were stirred by this. The performance took place in the rain, on the one and only rainy day in Lazio during July ’23. Despite this, people turned up, and followed as if in a procession.

Walking through the forest was followed by full immersion in the water. The artist engaged in movements that evoked local old trades and domestic occupation: Fishing, washing clothes in the lake.

The public's response was generous and affectionate, with many reporting that memories of grandparents at work had been evoked.

Giulianello lake was retrieved by a group of citizens a few years ago from private ownership and returned to the people and to nature. It is now a protected natural area with wild boar, birds and water snakes.

Artist's comments

The project was, in the words of Brendan Fox, an “artistic homecoming” for me. Driving around the Roman countryside and visiting places I used to frequent with my family as a child was deeply evocative and healing, allowing me to mend a partially lost and fractured relationship with my beloved country of origin, in particular with Rome, my birth city, and its countryside.

That this homecoming was mediated through my art- making and collaborations, personally resonates in many meaningful ways. The work that resulted from this convergence of past and present is documented here.

The performance was a ritual of celebration of place, memory, people and nature.

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