cerchi e domande
Maybe, with the advent of the new ‘dark ages’, we may indeed disappear or, in George Steiner’s words, “be confined to small islands of archaic conservation.” Yes, artistically, that is what I am already doing. (John Tilbury)
I’ve been often asked what is that I’m doing. It seems the main question asked to someone who is not really surfing the glamorous path of success. Given also John Cage’s 100th birthday celebration this year and the constant occurrence (in my mind) of two of his best questions – Where Are We Going? And What Are We Doing? – I’ll try to articulate possible answers, give a chance to or attempt observations, as I personally don’t have either one or a straight answer to the very question I ask myself every single day. I think I’m at times working to understand how “to make things visible”, is more about understanding this statement from Voice of Tyranny, Temples of Silence by R. Murray Schafer and come up with some ideas: “The great revolutions in art history are changes of context rather than style. The first big contextual change in Western art music occurred when music left the outdoors and entered the cathedral; the second occurred with the appearance of the concert hall and opera house; the broadcasting and recording studio is responsible for the third.” We are now possibly in the 4th, 5th step of those changes; within a society best represented by a myriad of individuals, all wearing ear-buds, touching tablets and talking to cell phones while selecting and distributing their personal choices of music / noise / sound / image. A highly fragmented group of people, a massive mash-up segmented if not in real social classes, in tribes of likeminded humans of many kinds and flavours. All of them, generally out of touch with, and dismissing what’s happening in any other tribe, pretending or assuming that their position is inevitably the best no matter what other people likes and dislikes might be. Alienated not only from “today” (an impersonal one) but alienated from what has been happening around the planet for a century and more. Extending these ideas to a larger intellectual and economic perspective, at times I seem to get the (a…) point. The point might be that given the complexity and chaotic articulation of everything, a working strategy might be only and minimally contextual. Creativity is fantastic, but it is not perceived at large as a necessity (not even as a value, sometime an undecipherable privilege, even if a useless one). As creative people often fight for the right to be exclusive or “original”, I love finding ways to lose a certain “footprint” as I’m not really sure that what I’m doing is in fact of any use (according to a generalized idea of productivity), and I would not expect to be able to project any kind of powerful and transformative energy too far away from where I am. Furthermore, any kind of reception outside this localized “realm” is totally and vastly unpredictable – maybe also irrelevant. The question seem then not about what kind of results we generate but rather how if at all, they harmonize themselves with nature: the “engine”, Γαῖα: the one working continuously in spite of everyday harassment, destruction, wounds and distress. Too naïve? Yes, maybe. Not “cool”, not sophisticated or à la mode, no genius, no alternative or green, and no original ideas. No, not any original idea will really save us from anything at all, …maybe butterflies.
Not all of our past, but the parts of it we are taught, lead us to believe that we are in the driver’s seat. With respect to nature. And if that we are not, life is meaningless. Well, the grand thing about the human mind is that it can turn its own tables and see meaningless as ultimate meaning. (John Cage)