Nota avulsa sobre Sound Art

Estou a ler Sound Art: Beyond Music, Between Categories, do Alan Licht, que a Cláudia me ofereceu pelos anos. Como no caso do Walkscapes: Walking as as Aesthetic Practice, do Francesco Carreri, que li enquanto trabalhava no nosso segundo audiowalk, Errare, sinto-me a consultar bibliografia retrospectivamente: a cada página sinto que faria sentido ter lido o livro antes de começar a trabalhar nesta área, sem por isso ficar com a ideia de que faria as coisas de forma diferente. As convicções que tenho acerca das virtudes e defeitos das opções que vamos tomando são reforçadas, ou melhor, informadas, por estas leituras e julgo que aprendo muito mais e compreendo muito melhor os conceitos em jogo por causa das intensas experiências que fui tendo. É, no geral, um processo muito interessante.

Além disso, no caso de Sound Art, colocam-se algumas questões prévias, coincidentalmente ligadas com conversas recentes sobre o “estatuto” de diversas formas artísticas. Para que se possa continuar mais tarde essa conversa, trancrevo alguns excertos férteis:

Music, like drama, set up a series of conflicts and resolutions, either on a large or small scale (…). A friend recently commented that avant-garde art is now commercially viable and extremely successfull, whereas avant-garde literature, music, as film are usually uncommercial and generally unsuccessfull. He’s right, but that is because art doesn’t have the inherent entertainment value of a narrative that those other art forms have. It doesn’t have to appeal to the masses to be successfull— as long as it catche’s one collector’s (or curator’s) attention, the person who created it can make a fair amount of money from it. Literature, music, and film, however, depend on popular opinion and public demand. This is because they’re the primary sources of entertainment besides sports.
p. 13

Sound art (…) rejects music’s potential to compete with other time-based and narrative-driven art forms and addresses a basic human craving for sound, For the purposes of this study, we can define sound art in three categories:

  1. An installed sound environment that is defined by the space (and/or acoustic space) rather than time and can be exhibited as a visual artwork would be.
  2. A visual artwork that also has a sound-producing function, such as a sound sculpture.
  3. Sound by visual artists that serves as an extension of the artist’s particular aesthetic, generally expressed in other media.

p. 16-17

Os nossos audiowalks não se inscrevem em nenhuma destas 3 categorias e, nesse sentido, não são Sound Art, mas o discurso mais comum acerca da música e do som enquanto matérias artísticas feito pelo mundo da Arte é muitas vezes surpreendente.

Uma ideia genial

A Diana mandou-me este link com a indicação de que a ideia “choné” a seduzia um bocadinho. E é uma ideia genial: um escritor canadiano, Yann Martel, por razões que vale a pena ler com atenção, decidiu começar a enviar, a cada 2 semana, um livro que ensine, motive e inspire a calma e contemplação ao Primeiro Ministro Canadiano, Stephen Harper de seu nome. Selecciona os livros cuidadosamente, escreve neles uma dedicatória e acompanha-os com uma carta onde explica ao atarefado político porque escolheu aquele livro. Enviou 28 livros até agora, tendo recebido uma resposta protocolar quando enviou o primeiro.

A simplicidade e generosidade da iniciativa encaixam como uma luva no objectivo da “missão”.

On March 28th, 2007, at 3 pm, I was sitting in the Visitors’ Gallery of the House of Commons, I and forty-nine other artists from across Canada, fifty in all, and I got to thinking about stillness. To read a book, one must be still. To watch a concert, a play, a movie, to look at a painting, one must be still. Religion, too, makes use of stillness, notably with prayer and meditation. Just gazing upon a still lake, upon a quiet winter scene—doesn’t that lull us into contemplation? Life, it seems, favours moments of stillness to appear on the edges of our perception and whisper to us, “Here I am. What do you think?” Then we become busy and the stillness vanishes, yet we hardly notice because we fall so easily for the delusion of busyness, whereby what keeps us busy must be important, and the busier we are with it, the more important it must be. And so we work, work, work, rush, rush, rush. On occasion we say to ourselves, panting, “Gosh, life is racing by.” But that’s not it at all, it’s the contrary: life is still. It is we who are racing by.

I was thinking about that, about stillness, and I was also thinking, more prosaically, about arts funding, not surprising since we fifty artists were there in the House to help celebrate the fifty years of the Canada Council for the Arts, that towering institution that has done so much to foster the identity of Canadians. I was thinking that to have a bare-bones approach to arts funding, as the present Conservative government has, to think of the arts as mere entertainment, to be indulged in after the serious business of life, that—in conjunction with retooling education so that it centres on the teaching of employable skills rather than the creating of thinking citizens—is to engineer souls that are post-historical, post-literate and pre-robotic; that is, blank souls wired to be unfulfilled and susceptible to conformism at its worst—intolerance and totalitarianism—because incapable of thinking for themselves, and vowed to a life of frustrated serfdom at the service of the feudal lords of profit.

(…)

The moment had come. Question Period was over and we were now going to be officially acknowledged by the House.

The Honourable Bev Oda, Minister for Canadian Heritage, whose seat on the government benches is as far away from the Prime Minister’s as is possible for a member of the cabinet, rose to her feet, acknowledged our presence and began to speak. We stood up, not for ourselves but for the Canada Council. Her speech was short. There was a flutter of applause. Then Minister Oda sat down, our business was over, MPs instantly turned to other things, and we were still standing. That was it. Fifty years of building Canada’s dazzling and varied culture, done with in less than five minutes.

(…)

The Prime Minister did not speak during our brief tribute, certainly not. I don’t think he even looked up. The snarling business of Question Period having just ended, he was shuffling papers. I tried to bring him close to me with my eyes.

Who is this man? What makes him tick? No doubt he is busy. No doubt he is deluded by that busyness. No doubt being Prime Minister fills his entire consideration and froths his sense of busied importance to the very brim. And no doubt he sounds and governs like one who cares little for the arts.

But he must have moments of stillness. And so this is what I propose to do: not to educate—that would be arrogant, less than that—to make suggestions to his stillness.

For as long as Stephen Harper is Prime Minister of Canada, I vow to send him every two weeks, mailed on a Monday, a book that has been known to expand stillness. That book will be inscribed and will be accompanied by a letter I will have written. I will faithfully report on every new book, every inscription, every letter, and any response I might get from the Prime Minister, on this website.

É genial e dá que pensar: o que estará a ler o José Sócrates? Ou o Cavaco Silva? Ou os mais importantes líderes partidários (ou candidatos a líder)?