Sínia in catalan, is the given name for a noria, a wheel-like machine used for lifting water into a small aqueduct or for the purpose of irrigation. It consist on a vertical iron wheel with a chain of buckets attached to it. Norias used to be driven by animals, turning another wheel to make the vertical one to spin, and therefore lifting the water. On the outskirts of Tarragona (Spain) there is a substantial concentration of those water machines, probably due to a underground aquifer that supplied water for the agriculture fields around. Those machines that were used on the past, now a days are out of order and even abandoned, allowing the iron to rust as time goes by.

This installation inserted the rusted sound of this abandoned and derelict rural hydraulic engine into the Casa de Registo. The idea was to bring into the hall the resulting soundscape of a long-gone technology that has lost its usage: bring water up from a well. The iron, metallic sweeps and intricate rusted sounds are the voice of antique water culture long forgotten. All sounds have been recorded in various sessions since 2012, through the years, but the sound of the noria is always changing and evolving, depending on humidity, climate and annual seasons. The outcome is a generative and ever-changing soundscape composition that resonated into the Casa de Registo as a litany or a requiem. Sound was placed in the space through two big speakers suspended in mid-air hanging from a metal structure drawing in the space a complicity through materials, sounds and media.


Photos Vera Marmelo. Sound recording Mestre André.