Marco Scarassatti
Foto: ©Nuno Martins
Tzim tzum ©marcoscarassatti

Marco Scarassatti



My instruments

My artistic direction and research has focused on the poetic-political construction of sound spaces miniaturized, environmental, territorial, performative or simulated. My main interest in music have been always what is not strictly music, in other words, what is on the other side, obliging me to cross borders. The relationship with the physical space, the visual form and the concept, my main interest have been using unwanted sounds in order to produce desired sounds – the moment of time anticipating the music, which marks the agreement between the separation of the ordinary and the extraordinary. The sound as generator of the form and the form as generator of the sound. I think that when an artist creates something, he/she creates not only that something, but also a way to do it. Inventing is a way of doing and inventing is a way of being and acting in the world. Therefore, artistic practices are political forms, ways of organizing actions, perceptions, a continuous process of exchange, of sharing and confrontation. I started inventing instruments and sound sculptures influenced by the work of the composer Walter Smetak, in the early 1990s. Getting to know his work changed my conception of music and brought me closer to issues such as craftsmanship, to other arts, improvisation and the relationship between sound and visuality. Representing a sonority through a visual form and at the same time, giving that form the possibility of a musical sound that completes it as a structure is certainly an influence from Walter Smetak in my work.

Building music materially, with my own hands. Inventing a musical instrument composed of pieces of other instruments, broken and/or rejected, joining with conceptual fragments from other cultures and shaping this emotion with practices that goes from sound exploration until directed improvisation. I wouldn't say free because the format of the new object is proposed at the exploratory level of interaction. In this way, it’s as if each fragment of a found object, contains in itself a sound memory of their original context and borrow this sound memory to a new object. Thus, a sound sculpture built from many fragments of objects would have the junction of these multiple memories. I am currently developing a work that relates sound sculpture with the orixás of the Yoruba culture and tradition. According to Yorubá metaphysics, everything that exists in the spiritual world (Orum) also exists in the physical world (Aiyê), in this sense, what an Orixá represents in the physical world is its Igba, a receptacle for the concentration of energy, with a ritualistic function, the receiver of votive offerings for the circulation, transformation and replacement of the Asé, as well as a spiritual connection between each of these Orixás. In this way, the Exu sculpture, for example, is an Igba that connects and converts the materiality of the object itself to the immateriality of each of the sounds that are converted into music in this piece of work.


Harpa Paleolitica ©Graça Leão

Harpa Paleolítica

Harpa paleolítica (2013) String instrument made of bamboo, gourd, threaded iron and strings.

Tzim tzum ©marcoscarassatti

Tzim tzum (2005)

Inspired by my Kabbalah studies, particularly about the creation myth of the universe, it depicts the cosmic drama "tzim tzum" in which the creator must perform a retreating movement in order to create space and thus life. This drama plays out in concentric circles. In this way I created a sound emblem that represented the drama and used these wheels to give shape to my thoughts. I placed it on top of a yellow styrofoam box that had construction irons in it and crossed it outside-in. It is an instrument that can be amplified by contact, it can be percussed, or it can simply be twisted.

Passaro do Cocho ©KassiaKarakaRareHunikuin

Passaro Cocho (2018)

Dieses Instrument wurde in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Luthier Vergílio Lima auf der Grundlage einer traditionellen Viola de Cocho, einem Saiteninstrument aus der Mittlerer Westen Region Brasiliens entworfen. Im Resonanzkasten des Instruments befinden sich hinter dem Hals zwei Löcher, durch die eine sympathisierende Resonanzsaite das Instrument kreuzt.

Kirk Roland ©Alexandre Amaral

Kirk Roland (2018)

This instrument is a combination of Walter Smetak's Cretins family, inspired by American saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Two 3 meter long garden hoses were connected to a series of PVC hydraulic fittings which are also connected to a marching band bugle bell that make the instrument sound. Trumpet and horn mouthpieces are attached to the ends of the hoses.

Esú ©MarcoScarassatti


Èṣù (2018), from the series "Orixás sonoros". This work consists of an Ogó and an Ebó for Èṣù. This Orixá is responsible for the connection between humans and the world of the Orixás. Ogó is the instrument of Èṣù, a phallic symbol representing the power of creation and continuity of the world and the fertility of the Orixá. This work is a wooden sculpture resting on two springs that allow the movement that evokes the beating sounds of the gourds, a symbol of fertility. There is also a taut and taut piano string and an iron ring as an easel, representing the orisha's circular shape and movement. This string is amplified and resonates in a metal satellite dish, which also vibrates the loudspeakers that accompany the sculpture.

Oya ©marcoscarassatti

Oya (2018)

From the Orixás Sonoros series of instruments. A kinetic sculpture depicting the female Oya Orisha. Composed of an Aeolian extractor hood, industrial lights, a feather and a gourd. It's played by the wind.

Ogum Lakaayé ©LuisPretti

Ògún Lákáayé

Close-up of percussion playing.


Marco Scarassatti (1971), sound artist, improviser and composer, develops research and construction of sculptures and sound installations, in addition to field recordings. From 2001 to 2023 he was a professor at the Faculty of Education at UFMG and since 2023 he is assistant professor of composition at the UFMG School of Music. Scarassatti is author of the book “Walter Smetak, o alchemista dos sons”, (Editora Perspectiva / SESC, 2008). He was the coordinator of the Intercultural training of Indigenous educators, at the FIEI FaE UFMG. In 2013, he made a sound installation RIO, together with the visual artist Fernando Ancil for the exhibition “Escavar o Futuro” in Belo Horizonte.
In 2015 he was commissioned by the Kunstradio in Vienna, to compose the work “Memória do Fogo”. In the same year he was commissioned to create a sound installation “Orixás Sonoros” for the Tonlagen Festival at the Hellerau Center of Arts in Dresden, Germany. In 2017 he took part of the Festival Maerz Musik as a curatorial consultant. End of 2016, Scarassati was an artist in residence in Chile, invited by CEMLA and

the Ibermúsica program, having composed, in 2017, “Cuatro Cronicas acerca de la ciudad y la ancestralidad” (Belo Horizonte, San Pedro de Atacama, Valparaíso). Along with Julia Gerlach, Marco Scarassati wrote the texts for the book / catalog “Inventions of Smetak - The interfused kingdoms of the inventor, sound artist and musician Walter Smetak” (1913-1984). In 2021 he received a commission from the festival Memories in Music, Academy of Arts, Berlin, to realise a film-score “Anestesia” (2021), inspired by the homonymous graphic composition by Walter Smetak. From August to October 2021 he was commissioned by the Festival CULTURE ESCAPES, together with Livio Tragtenberg, to create the installation Mata Bio which was exhibitedat the Theater Chur and at the Tinguely Museum in Basel. Marco Scarassati curated several exhibitions and festivals like “Paisagens Plásticas Sonoras”, at Sesc Pinheiros-SP (2005) the 1st Meeting of improvised music, at the UNICAMP, (2007). He is also the co-founder and curator of the Improfest (2008 - 2023). He is currently one of the curators of the project “Quartas de Improviso”.


Recordings - Audio

  • Sonax, mit Marcelo Bomfim und Nelson Pinton (Creative Sources Recordings, 2008)
  • Novelo Elétrico (Creative Sources Recordings, 2014)
  • Rios Enclausuros (Seminal Records, 2015)
  • RUMOR, mit Abdul Moimeme, Eduardo Chagas und Gloria Damijan (CSR, 2015)
  • Amoa hi, mit Ernesto Rodrigues, Guilherme Rodrigues und Nuno Torres (CSR, 2016)
  • Casa Acústica, fragmentos de uma improvisação diária (CSR, 2017)
  • Novelo Elétrico 6 (Antena, 2017)
  • Hackearragacocho (QTV, 2018)
  • Psychogeographie, mit Otomo Yoshihide, Antonio
  • Panda Gianfratti und Paulo Hartmann (Nottwo, 2019)
  • Construtores de Sons, mit Livio Tragtenberg (Sesc 2019)
  • „Cuatro Cronicas acerca de la ciudad y la ancestralidade“ (Buh Records, 2019)
  • Crônicas Sonoras de Cabo Verde (La Petite Chambre / Autogenenis, 2019)
  • Aglomerado dos seres verticais, mit Marcos Campello (PMC, 2019)
  • Jaguatirica (Homeless Low-fi, 2020) Èlà (Rata Sorda Rec, 2020)
  • Mojubá Exu (Sirr-ecords, 2020) Caraguatá / Moxotó, mit Thelmo Cristovam (fitas tsss, 2020) Diário de Gravação (Seminal Records, 2022)
  • A lenda da Pianista Enterrada Viva, mit Nelson Pinton (Brava, 2022)
  • Diário de Gravação (Seminal Records, 2023)
  • Ni yuxibū xinã rewe, com Ibã Huni Kuin (Sirr-ecords, 2023)
  • Drosera, Sammlung mit Sleve Pelers e Slavek Kwi (Sirr-ecords, 2023)

Music for film and TV

  • Terra do Silêncio, 7’- super 8 (2003)
  • Brincando de ser guerreiro, 90’- super VHS (2004)
  • Um ano em alguns minutos, 15’- super VHS (2006)
  • Anestesia, Zusammenarbeit mit Luiz Pretti, 22’- digital (2021)
  • Vira a volta e faz o nó, Zusammenarbeit mit Luiz Pretti, Ricardo Aleixo and Ewerton Belico , 27’- digital (2021)
  • Homem peixe, de Clarisse Alvarenga, 70’- digital (2017)
  • Praia Formosa, Julia de Simone, 80”- digital (2023) TV series, Resíduo, Marília Rocha (4 episodes de 25’) – Canal Brasil (2023)

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