Live Sonification of 'Aelita' by Gamers In Exile | Palazzo Delle Esposizioni | 29 November 2009

Guido Zen and Valerio Camporini Faggioni aka Gamers in Exile, the critically acclaimed Italian electronic soundscapers, were in Rome on Sunday at the Palazzo Delle Esposizioni for a very special event – the Live Sonification of the 1924 Russian silent film Aelita: Queen of Mars.

The duo are no strangers to film soundtracks - last year they scored Biùtiful cauntri, an Italian documentary about illegal toxic waste dumping in Southern Italy, which against all odds, enjoyed both critical success and even a brief run in cinemas both home and abroad – but here, in creating the only sounds for a silent movie, they had constructed an entirely new sonic world for Yakov Protazanov's socialist science-fiction block buster!

The music - at times a hypnotically mechanical mash-up of found sounds, at others a haunting and lyrical expression of a character's mood - was always beautifully sympathetic to the images on screen. And what a film! Its incredible Martian sets are perfect example of Russian Constructivism and its impact on later Sci-Fi films of the 1930s and beyond was clear. Whilst its influence on Flash Gordon and Metropolis is often cited, the Martian soldiers didn't look so very different from Star Wars storm troopers to me!

The film was shown as part of a short season of films about space travel – Spaziale! - which coincides with the exhibition Stars and Particles. The Voice of the Universe