Cecilia Arditto Delsoglio

Anthropology of trash (2020)

for alto flute and objects as found in the containers (ca 22’)
I.Textiles  II.Glass III. Plastic IV. Paper  V.Metal
dedicated to Alu Montorfano

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Anthropology of trash explores the sound quality of discarded objects. This title is inspired by Thing Theory, a branch of modern Anthropology that studies the dynamics between human subjects and inanimate artifacts.
Anthropology of trash rescues objects from the trash and makes music with them. Its orchestration replicates the compartments of the recycling containers: textiles, paper, glass, plastic and metal which form the different sections of this work. Each section finds unexpected angles when using these common things, that become refined musical artifacts when played together with the flute.
Our simple objects, thanks to the music, are empowered on stage, gaining an abstract and poetic condition. Furthermore, these simple means, which were at death’s door, are granted eternal life by being immortalized in a music score.


Anthropology of trash transforms simple materials into refined sounds. Rescued objects from the trash, which were at death’s door, are granted eternal life by being immortalized in a music score.

In Anthropology of trash, the flute is an extension of the human body, making sounds with the lips, tongue, fingernails and glottis; it also creates subtle modulation of timbre by exploring the vocal tract and the usage of specific phonemes through the body of the flute.
The quasi electronics of Anthropology of trash consist of iterated buzzing frequencies, internal turbulences from multiphonic sounds, and a broad range of colored noises, reminiscent of old analog synthesizers but in an “unplugged” way.
Minimal amplification emphasizes the subtle sonorities of this piece. It is not only a matter of volume as the music coming from the speakers reinforces the illusion that Anthropology of trash is electronic music.

In Anthropology of trash, the flute is an extension of the human body

The Attic
Anthropology of trash turned into The Attic when it was performed in Neue Musik in St. Ruprecht, Vienna, in October 2021 under the theme “The collection”. By replacing a couple of props such as bottle caps by a plastic pearl-necklace and napkins by old handwritten letters, a whole new scenario emerged. In The Attic, the idea of recycled materials is displaced by the remains of a woman found in an attic.
Interestingly, the sounds and performing actions remain the same in both versions. However the connotation of the employed objects brings a very different context to the piece. While the recycled junk found in the bins proposes ideas of activism and environmental commentary, the objects found in the attic, suggest a nostalgic, somehow decadent Stimmung.
This unexpected experience raises a fascinating new question of how visual and theatrical actions bring different meanings to the abstract nature of music. Returning to the Thing Theory, it is intriguing to observe how objects have their own spirit that transcend the realm of sound, adding new expressions and meaning to the music.
Anthropology of trash should be amplified.

Anthropology of trash stage design




– Minimal amplification for flute and percussion table (see diagram)
– Two music stands with lights
– Percussion table (or any table)
2 microphone stands without the mics (only the stands) for props


Related works:

• Anatomy of a jar (2020)
• Música invisible for flute (2003)
• Musique Concrète
• The dearest dream (2018)