Luigi Nono, Contrappunto dialettico alla mente (1968) Courtesy Fondazione Archivio Luigi Nono
24 Nov 2022 6.30 PM

“Luigi Nono, Contrappunto dialettico alla mente” will take place at Fondazione Prada’s Venice as part of the fifth edition of the Festival Luigi Nono alla Giudecca titled “Contemporanei e allievi”.

The event is composed of three different moments. It starts with the acousmatic listening experience of Contrappunto dialettico alla mente realized by Luigi Nono in 1968, which includes Celia Sánchez and Nanni Balestrini’s texts and the manifesto of the Enraged Women of Progressive Labor Party in Harlem. It continues with a conversation between philosopher Massimo Cacciari, neurologist Daniela Perani and sound director Alvise Vidolin and a video screening featuring Nanni Balestrini reading the text from the same composition.

“Luigi Nono, Contrappunto dialettico alla mente” establishes an ideal dialogue with “Human Brains: It Begins with an Idea”, the exhibition on view until 27 November 2022 at Fondazione Prada’s Venice venue, Ca’ Corner della Regina. The show results from a long and intensive research process undertaken by Fondazione Prada and the scientific board of “Human Brains” chaired by Giancarlo Comi. The exhibition, curated by Udo Kittelmann in collaboration with Taryn Simon, navigates a history of neuroscientific knowledge-making marked by rigor, breakthrough, and discovery, as well as error and uncertainty.

Contrappunto dialettico alla mente is the result of a commission from the Prix Italia, an international contest by RAI, that, in February 1968, invited Luigi Nono to compose a piece for radio broadcasting. The work was excluded from the competition due to its explicitly political contents. Performed in public for the first time on 27 December 1968 in Palermo, it was used for Giuseppe Urbani’s choreography Intolleranza in 1972. Contrappunto dialettico alla mente is a passionate accusation against the politics of the United States government charged by Nono with racial discrimination and repression of dissent. The composition starts by evoking the murderer of Malcolm X and closes with a statement by an Afro-American women’s organization against the war in Vietnam. The piece includes a poetic text written by experimental author Nanni Balestrini, which demonstrates a specific affinity with the poetics of the Italian neo-avant-garde also due to its parody-like nature towards compositions of the past. The political manifesto’s harshness and irreducibility combine with the nonsense of play on words, the lyricism with everyday life, and the individual interiority with the vitalism of the masses, as it often happens in Luigi Nono’s works.