“Launched in February 2015 at The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester (UK) in partnership with Future Everything Festival, Quintessence is a project that is undergoing continuous evolution. It invites publics to focus on sound present in their environment and to commit itself to a process of active listening, consciously placing visual elements at a secondary level.” Renzo Spiteri, 2017

Quintessence is a series of immersive and innovative sound-based events, created and curated by Maltese sound artist, composer and musician Renzo Spiteri, that experiment with awareness through sound, inviting publics to engage with sound/space experiences.

During Explore the North 2017, Renzo will present Quintessence_2, an immersive solo sound performance that wraps the audience in an alluring world of sound, created through the use of sampling and live electronic manipulation. The sound textures created during this performance are experienced in the now, with most of the work being created ‘on the fly’ through a process of improvisation. Nothing much is left of the original sound sources, which instead go through a process of metamorphosis. During his stay in Leeuwarden, Renzo will also capture sounds that are peculiar to the city and re-interpret them as part of Quintessence_2, giving the performance a unique identity marked by sounds, words and phrases that are specific to the location in which it is performed.

He will also be exploring collaborative possibilities with dancers and movement artists present at the festival to create SoundingDance, an artistic encounter in which participants are invited to select and engage with a public space, moving to and interacting with the intrinsic sound, be it the frantic noise of a busy city or the stillness of a forest. These sound/movement interactions are captured through audio and video recordings, which are subsequently curated and exhibited to the general public in selected public spaces as a sound/video installation, and made available online for worldwide accessibility.

Quintessence traces its roots to an artistic collaboration with the Royal Conservatoire of Music of The Hague (The Netherlands) in September 2012, when Renzo was invited to co-lead workshops. Part of the output of these creative sessions resulted in the vocal phrases, featured in Quintessence, by Leah Uijterlinde and Egle Petrošiūtė, former students at the Conservatoire. The collaboration with the Conservatoire was one of the events brought about by invitation of the city of The Hague, former Dutch candidate competing for the title of Cultural Capital of Europe in 2018.