In Praise of Redundancy, 2018
You certainly happened to overhear a private conversation, or you had to endure some horrible song played out loud by someone on the street, or on public transports. As human beings, we are not able to control with accuracy the range of our voice, nor we can ‘hear away’ or shut our ears like we do with our eyes, unless we cover them with our hands. Any sound we intentionally produce, whether it is verbal communication or an artistic expression, exceeds its intended scope; it propagates further from its target area, potentially reaching fortuitous receivers. Whispering in somebody’s ear, or using specific devices such as headphones, are exceptions that confirm that rule.
Itinerant minstrels, preachers, Agitprop, or the Theatre of the Oppressed are examples of a wise use of this residual potentiality. By establishing suitable premises, if not a good alibi, for any attempt to infiltrate, circumvent or reformulate the limitations and regulations of a given context, this constitutive excess - or redundancy - of sound can be instrumental in disseminating information, ideas, stories and narratives.
I suppose I should give it a try, and see if this could be still relevant today (I mean, I suppose I should just try it out, without supposing anything in the first place. Aaargh! I did it again! Wait, don’t be so strict with yourself, aren’t suppositions sometimes intuitions?). Here follows a script sample for a possible Agitprop-like piece. Ideally it should be heterogeneous without being generalist, non-normative without being ostentatious, ideological without being rigid, simple and complex, and fast and slow, at the same time. Deliberately mixing information, thoughts, stories, prosaic elements and poetry.
🎼 How am I today: I am tired and busy but I am quite happy.
🎼 A poem a day: A poem per day/ keeps the doctor away/ still takes you to the grave
🎼 An anecdote: Last year I went to a party where I met by chance a former schoolmate I hadn’t seen for ten years. He happened to be in Oslo for a few days. It was nice to have a chat with him.
🎼 A book opening lines: You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, If on a winter's night a traveler. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade. Best to close the door; the TV is always on in the next room. Tell the others right away, "No, I don't want to watch TV!" Raise your voice—they won't hear you otherwise—"I'm reading! I don't want to be disturbed!" Maybe they haven't heard you, with all that racket; speak louder, yell: "I'm beginning to read Italo Calvino's new novel!" Or if you prefer, don't say anything; just hope they'll leave you alone.
Find the most comfortable position: seated, stretched out, curled up, or lying flat. Flat on your back, on your side, on your stomach. In an easy chair, on the sofa, in the rocker, the deck chair, on the hassock. In the hammock, if you have a hammock. On top of your bed, of course, or in the bed. You can even stand on your hands, head down, in the yoga position. With the book upside down, naturally. (from “If on a winter's night a traveler” by Italo Calvino, 1979)
🎼 What I ate yesterday: spaghetti with tomato and eggplant sauce, green beans and fried chicken, dark chocolate, Côtes du Rhône
🎼 It happened 100 years ago: November the 22nd, 1918. The Belgian royal family returned to Brussels after the war, with King Albert I of Belgium having commanded the Allied army group in the autumn Courtrai offensive which liberated his country. Violence against Jews in the city of Lwów, Galicia intensified as some 500 businesses, homes, and synagogues were looted, vandalized and burned. Polish commanding officer Czesław Mączyński of the Second Polish Republic ordered martial law on the city by the end of the day, although many sources alleged he intentionally delayed it for a day while the violence happened. French forces occupied the former German-held region of Alsace-Lorraine. The German National People's Party was established. The American Japan Glass Sheet Company was established in Osaka. (Source: Wikipedia)
🎼 Spot commercial: this spot is available for your company, please contact the artist
🎼 A quote: Mostly, I believe an artist doesn’t create something, but is there to sort through, to show, to point out what already exists, to put it into form and sometimes reformulate it. That’s the spirit in which I gathered all the press clippings and photos of women, their postures, their gestures - their hands stirring sauce or putting on a bandage. It’s a language in itself, which is why we don’t pay any attention to it. I didn’t invent anything, I indicated…. (from “Word for Word”, Annette Messager, 2006)
🎼 Weather report: Cold, partly cloudy
🎼 A dance move: …
🎼 A speech: Dear friend and colleagues, I am very honoured to be part of this, today. Thank you.
🎼 A question: Is it possible, as an artist, to reach out a non-specialised public, without flattening the complexity needed to maintain an intellectual and engaged dialogue with a specialised public? Or in other words: Is it possible to produce multiple levels of interpretation or multiple modes of agency while at the same time preserving a sharp, relevant and communicable position?
🎼 A grimace: …
🎼 A material: Tyvek® brand protective material is a family of tough, durable spunbonded olefin sheet products that are stronger than paper and more cost-effective and versatile than fabrics. Made from high density polyethylene fibers, Spunbonded Olefin is an extremely versatile material, offering a balance of physical characteristics that combine the best properties of paper, film and cloth.(Source: Product Handbook for DuPontTM Tyvek, www.dupont.com)
🎼 Notes on a stranger I observed today, while coming here: …
🎼 A headline or article from today’s newspaper: …
🎼 A piece of music: 🎼Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away… 🎼
🎼 Time and date: …
🎼 An invited guest: …
🎼 Coming next: …