zondag 18 juni 2017

Louve very heureuse






































Perchance was invited to a very agreeable recital in a private garden in Brussels, a bit like a forest clearing in the middle of the city, on a warm summer evening which could have been somewhere along the coast of Chile... 
An intimate and heartfelt offering of works by Violetta Parra, fifty years hence, gone from us at fifty years of age... by none other than her granddaughter Felisa Cereceda in duo with Ylva Berg as ‘La Louve Heureuse’ ... a rare treat. Accompanied by only the barest essentials, an Arauco drum and a string of shells, they gave strong and emotionally laden interpretations which harked back to the original, raw and engaged style that Violetta Parra herself might have appreciated... Over the years her songs have gone through various phases of popularization in various senses of the term... 

I had arrived in Chile some ten years after her death, in the dark times of the Pinochet regime, but her music was still omnipresent – something the Junta could not silence... and as such they became anthems to the struggle for freedom... Even though Violetta Parra’s songs were pre-Allende (lastly the Frei presidency) and about the disenfranchisement of  the poor & indigenous peoples rather than the disaster still to take place, it was partially the origin and represented the sentiment of change in Allende’s Unidad Popular, and adopted by the persecuted, with Victor Jarra’s martyrdom as catalyst - and exported to Europe...via groups like Inti-Illimani, especially Quilapayun, in which recently departed Angél Parra (son of Violetta) played a key role.
It is due to these groups that I first heard songs by Violetta Parra, versions my sisters had in their university record collection... and was a bit surprised to find they could be heard in Chile, since the aforementioned groups were prohibited, but Parra herself seen as heritage even if grudgingly, by the military regime... (there were enough records of the more revolutionary songs floating around in private circles though- so undermining any censorship anyway...) 
At the close of the seventies awareness sort of ebbed and attention focused more on Central America (Nicaragua, El Salvador...) and discord in the aforementioned groups sort of had their toll also... resurgence (of ‘historico’ groups) in Chile itself with the restoration of democracy but also enshrining and in a way entombing the whole ‘folkloristic renewal’ while losing sight of the essentials...

Which is exactly what I felt one caught a glimpse of here in this small unpretentious garden-recital: back to the simple protestations and heartfelt concern for those less fortunate... the need for an emotional response rather than political machinations, the re-sourcing of self-worth in order to emphasize with others...  (...well,  with some socio-political aspects if you please,  especially the pre-colonial indigenous populations, befitting the recent trend of ‘decolonialization’ discourse...)
But the main appreciation is that of a personal warmth, the beautiful poetry, carried by well crafted voices, interchanging and mingling with the evening slowly descending on the small green oasis in the city...


Very much appreciated. Certainly to be looked out for (...venue mentioned on their blog....September 23, Antwerp?)

zaterdag 10 juni 2017

Broke Rocks

The sculpture projects at Münster  opens today, and reminds me of a note I had made earlier this year, at the passing of Gustav Metzger

Broke rocks

Gustav Metzger, one of those artists that gets / got under your skin...
The ones you absorb by osmosis rather than name crunching... My earliest memory is of the car with its exhaust connected to a plexi box on its roof, withering plants... I think a version of a project planned for Documenta 5, not sure, but as a youngster I thought " hey, neat..." and it sort of stuck... Only much later did I learn that Townsend’s guitar-bashing and copy-cats were also to be traced to his auto-destructive ideas, and were influential in my own auto-subversive series... Again, without realizing the origins, much like Filliou, and admittedly I did sort of mix them up for ever so long, perhaps because of the misfits-gig... But I did always hark back to the DIAS and must admit indebtedness for my auto-subversive series way back when...

Anyway, like many I had sort of lost sight of his work (short exception was Explosiv,) Köln ‘81) until I got involved in a re-launching of his 'art strike' (by stewart home) in the nineties... Whence I interconnected with Ruine in Geneva and Fri Art in Fribourg -   As well as various process-projects that could be linked to origins to do with Metzger’s work... But he was not on the radar much... (himself avoiding the art-zoo)  but that something that really jolted me back to consider Metzger as artist was stumbling across his broken rocks at the Münster Skulpturprojekte in 2007... Literally...

It was a chaotic an rainy opening... We had planned to meet up with friends and participating artists but were blown off course... Downpours sent people scattering for cover at regular intervals and as it was we were perfectly happy to just let the whole show impress on us rather that scurrying to and fro following a checklist of some sort... 
Anyway, as it happened it was during one of the downpours that we were hurrying along a path trying to share an umbrella when a pile of stones made our passage difficult... In fact nearly stumbled... Yes, Stolpersteine...
(were they already in the news at the time?)
Broken rocks, chain gang material... If it had not been for a small sign stating that this was in fact the work of Gustav Metzger I would not have known... Later even saw the guy with his forklift fetching some stones... But it was only afterwards I read about the work and its computer generated chance distribution of rocks here and there... Ah equivalence! So it had been since the strike that I had encountered his work again... As it turns out he had been quite active... In my mind he was still under the radar investigating... But no, he had resurfaced and was still as vibrant & critical as ever... Even though in some ways perhaps recuperated by the establishment... But aware of that fact and making use of it.. And later work still could count on my approval... The intervention at the Haus der Kunst (former national socialist temple), the hidden photographs in full view, history winks... The flight ban for art-hoppers, and last but not least his call the head off extinction, remember nature, which we also contributed to... But alas, now a memory... Ist nicht mehr... In memoriam... And hopefully to continue in his vein.


(only just recently learnt more of his Antwerp connection... There was an interesting talk by ..... At the local university... Already planned before his death, mainly in reference to his work shown at Documenta 13 which I missed... but already during the famous fifth Documenta (or was it the first Skulpturprojekte?) his proposal for a work with car exhaust was very visionary, even if difficult to realize – now still, we’re arguing about the way we mistreat our environment... )

our cat investigating Metzgers open call / via Point d'Ironie


zondag 5 maart 2017

quel chose



























It had been a while since there was again a more or less performative sculpture evening at Buktapaktop – literature with some perf, song with some perf, but this time the space was more of a scene itself, which was nice – set, the scene as it were by a girl crushed by the weight of scenery. For a moment Bukta became Aleppo and the victims crushed in their nightgowns, dusted by debris, still breathing... she remained there for an hour which was already disconcerting – how must it be for the real victims of the rubble-rousing disaster which has befallen Syria, no soap. 
Hap-hopping pep-talk on how to ameliorate your being – you well-being, you self-being and the relation to the world around you- hop to it, get involved, just short of physical (can’t get that tune out of my head now...) go for it, advised and coached by professional know-it-alls, grouped together in team spirited upstarts, groomed by corporate web-talk and supporting human resource junkies... Yes! Yes Yesss...











Collectif Chôse
An interesting alternating mix of integrated performance, lecture and visuals; following through chapters but intertwined, parallel divergent, re-referencing and simultaneous brief. An extende discourse on ambidexterity lined up with a collection of paving stones, again pep talk or video, again from before, or no, another one, for instance witnessing the failing light while in fact not being aware of it... nothing happening so to speak but all the while not knowing where to turn first – a reflection on our own capacity to observe...
Reconstructing what we saw into something translucent, which we might have drank from, cemented in a precarious attitude just short of identifiable.


Questionable, yes that’s it... and as such a refreshing take on the scientifically circumnavigated banality of everyday. Chôse certainly something to watch out for. Chôse certainly something to look forward towards. Of aft, as the case may be.
on this occasion Chôse is