Magazzino Brancaccio: Sound, Participatory Performance and Auditory Resistance in Confiscated Properties in Palermo, Sicily


  • Robin McGinley Stockholm University/Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm, Sweden


The paper presents and explores a series of sonic activities, maneuvers and approaches, which were co-devised and developed by the author for Magazzino Brancaccio, in Palermo, Sicily. This project, originated and presented by curator Valentina Sansone, aimed at the accessing and appropriation of properties confiscated from organized crime, and the repositioning of these as sites for the curatorial, as well as for community-based and experimental sound and music activations, and other forms of contemporary arts intervention. In 2018, the first of these initiatives took place, within a 2000 square meter confiscated warehouse, located in the Brancaccio area of the city. Through the efforts of the project, the space was opened and ultimately returned to its community. 

The paper reflects upon the central role that sound played in this process of taking possession and infiltrating the space, and the ways in which the inter-connected practices of listening, sound-making and musicking, were of central importance to encouraging members of the local community to re-discover, interact with and inhabit the space anew. It is therefore suggested that the call to creative action, through sound, and engagement with the local environment and materials to hand, contributes to the social transformations that ensue, not only conceptually, but as a dynamic, embodied and lived condition.