Allora & Calzadilla
Breaking into Trunks, 2017
The stump of a tree is like an open book. A book in which the tree tells its story. Everything that happened.
They record everything and keep it engraved as the lines of a hand.
We just observe them and they speak to us through this secret language: the language of shapes. The wood is the second life of the tree. Stradivarius said that ‘the violin was born in the woods and that it sounds like a tree’.
-Marcello Mazzocchi, December 14, 2016
“Breaking into Trunks” takes the form of a meditation on the interior orders of the universe. Inspired by visits to the Gstaad-Saanenland it draws inspiration from the mysteries of music, physics and economics. From the hunt for the resonant ‘Stradivarious Violin’ trees that found their way into the hands of famed violinist and conductor Yehudi Menuhin, to the search for the mysterious Higgs Boson particle in nearby Cern and the tally stick system used by local farmers, it traces a path of order and disorder, beauty and chaos as it might be staged within the humble confines of a local barn.
The film shows the process of a 250-year-old tone-wood tree being cut down (breaking into its trunk) on the last autumn full moon of 2016, the moment when the sap-level is at its lowest, the wood the driest, and the acoustic properties the best. The straight lines of the wood’s grain, themselves tallies of time, are what make the sound resonate so perfectly. The music for film is composed entirely with a violin. The voiceover recounts parts of a short story attributed to the late 4th century BC Daoist philosopher, Zhuangzi, titled "Breaking into Trunks" which contemplates the nature of wisdom and its effects on the ordering of the world. The text’s strong resonance with today's political climate, paired with the image and sound, lends the whole film an allegorical character.
Special Thanks – Marcello Mazzocchi, Parco Naturale di Panavegio, Val di Fiemme Province of Trento. Regione Autonoma Trentino Alto Adige.
Allora & Calzadilla live and work in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA in 1974, Jennifer Allora received a BA from the University of Richmond in Virginia, USA (1996) and an MS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA (2003). Guillermo Calzadilla was born in 1971 in Havana, Cuba and received a BFA from Escuela de Artes Plásticas, San Juan, Puerto Rico (1996) and an MFA from Bard College, USA (2001). Collaborating since 1995, Allora & Calzadilla represented the USA in the 54th Venice Biennale, Italy (2011). Solo exhibitions include Art Gallery of Alberta, Canada (2015), Philadelphia Museum of Art, USA (2014), Indianapolis Museum of Art, USA (2012), Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2008), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2008), Kunsthalle Zurich, Switzerland (2007) and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA (2004). Among numerous group exhibitions, they participated in the 10th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, South Korea, documenta 13, Kassel, Germany (2012), Performance 9 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (2011) and the 29th São Paulo Biennial, Brazil (2010).
Allora & Calzadilla
Breaking into Trunks
Shot on 35mm film
Screening format UHD (3840x2160), colour, stereo sound
Duration: 13:20 minutes (24fps, 16:9)
Courtesy of Allora & Calzadilla; Luma Foundation; Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels; Lisson Gallery, London and New York
Director -- Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla
Director of Photography (DOP) or Cinematographer -- Sebastian Krügler
1st Assistant Camera -- Enno Grabenhorst
Sound Engineer -- Frank Bubenzer
Sound, Design, Mixing and Mastering--Fabián Wilkins
Additional Sound Score--
Additional Sound Score by Fabián Wilkins
Composer and Violin Recording Sessions’ Director-- Guarionex Morales-Matos
Props & wood preparation -- Franziska Paul
Translator & on-location production-- Andrea Soffientino
Editing -- Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla
Post Production -- 89mm_minimum.movies, Berlin
Colour Grading -- ARRI Media, Berlin
Special Thanks-- Marcello Mazzocchi, Parco Naturale di Panavegio, Val di Fiemme Province of Trento. Regione Autonoma Trentino Alto Adige