Subjectivity versus identity (the subject)
Role change en polyphony in text: ‘Macunaíma' (text)
Multi-voiced, multi-tracked structures: polyphony in music (sound)
The following montage of dialogues may show that the different voices from the various disciplines overlap several times with the central themes as well as with each other. A script will be structured from this stage, this is a rough version.
a certain brazilianess rejects a believe in fixed identities. Changing of roles is a daily experience but in Brazil is accentuated by the concept of anthropofagia: the cultural translation of cannibalism, which was lived as a ritual by the Tupi Indians . They devoured a courageous enemy to gain something of his competences.
Maybe the subject and the object, they are not even fixed. You know … in an experience people are always changing roles….
And Macunaíma is the hero….
In 1928 Mário de Andrade - author, folklorist, musician, poet – published ‘Macunaíma, the hero without any character', the literary epitome of the modernist movement in Brazil. It is a fantastic voyage through the culture, music, geography ethnicities and folklore of Brazil. All woven into the delicious adventures of the ultimate Brazilian: Macunaíma. Born as a grown up black man from an Indian mother he becomes white, but never looses the contact with his previous lives. The story and its hero are drawn out with a sense of parallel possibilities, polyphony and simultaneous realities, and there is hardly any story in the book, which de Andrade will have invented himself.
This book was written in 1928 and it is like a first attempt in literature to build a kind of mythology of what could be brazilian.
...And also: the giant has two names... the giant is Piaimã, which is a name coming from the indians, and another name is: Venceslau Pietro Pietra, coming from Venice, in italy. So he has a link with Europe, and he is double, just like the Macumba Gods, who are linked with the Catholic Saints in Brazil. There are doubles every everywhere, ... there are doubles everywhere...
Brazilian culture is born by the sign of multiplicity. And there are many strategies to face this mix.
[…]An ‘at home' takes shape that incarnates all the dynamic heterogeneity of the consistency of sensibility from which is made the subjectivity of any Brazilian, a subjectivity that is created and re-created as the effect of an infinite miscegenation – nothing to do with an identity. The Anthropophagous Movement makes this position explicit, writes Suely Rolnik in her text ‘ Subjetividade antropofágica' (‘Antropofagic Subjectivity').
Milica (fading in):
This way of constructing identity that used to be there before, even thirty years ago, is no longer there anymore, so there is this global loss of this feeling of ‘at home', as being, having this fixed understanding where you are from. Because this place where you are from is already today not the same as tomorrow as for instance in my country is more than obvious. But also, I would say in Holland: we were saying that the difference between now and twenty years ago, is so enormous…
Sound… it defines space, and is also defined by architectural space around it. It is defined by the architecture of the body, the resonant the cavities of the body… and the resonances of the external cavities, of the built architecture. But of course it is a kind of definition you can't fix, you can't mark, you can't find an edge to sound.
Erik Davis in 'Roots and Wires, Polyrhythmic Cyberspace, the Black Electronic':
We begin to 'understand' African music by being able to maintain, in our minds or our bodies, an additional rhythm to the ones we hear...Only through the combined rhythms does the music emerge, and the only way to hear the music properly, to find the beat...is to listen to at least two rhythms at once.
Monobloco is a ‘bloco do carnaval' from Rio de Janeiro, founded by a shared ideal of an original samba ‘bloco' from the favela and an experimental rock band (Pedro Luís e a Parede). Their music is like a wall of sound (‘parede' also means ‘wall' in Portuguese), like all samba, which is played by a 'bateria', a multitude of percussionists. Each element takes up an equally valued space, and never one has to step aside for another, or annuls that other.
... not just in terms of acoustics, a layering of different sounds, but also different elements, coexisting, but in their difference and never collapsing into a single, kind of unified, harmonic, whole.
(monobloco plays: rap do cartao postal, from 2001, we hear several voices: milica: how do you dance? wen: we'll dance the samba later… milica, laughing, shaking her head with the rhythm: what is the name of this? Imogen, looking outside of the frame to the right: do you dance it? Yeah, (she looks shy) is it easy? wen: I could tell you quickly, the story of monobloco… monobloco is…..
maria (voice fading in)
monobloco, usually when you have this very big tough black guy, you call him a monobloco. (laughter)… the monobloco. Because it is that strong guy that… they don't turn the head, they turn the… (and turns her whole torso back and forth)
this type of layered organization is present, you could say every theatre building has again this concept of layering between something which is public and something which is a ritual.
Tia Ciata, Hilária Batista de Almeida, 1854-1924, was a priestess in the Afro-Brazilian cult in Rio de Janeiro. Her house was a personal dwelling, but also a meeting place for religious rituals. It also functioned as social meeting place for all groups of the city, where, allegedly, samba was born. The ground plan of the house can be seen as a visualization of the experience of ‘social proximity by layered accessibility'. From the street to the back yard is a route from public accessibility and shared experience, via forms of quasi-permeability towards a closed part, purely for the cult. Each stage in between was accessible, the activities like dance and eating could be enjoyed by the guests, but for those initiated in the cult they simply had more layers of meaning.
milica fades in:
this type of organization is common to practically all religious buildings … ever … this is really an organisation of a religious building.
yeah… but what happened here is that the institutional and the personal, private division, just collapses, because that is her house
(we see the silhouette of Mario, framed by the window which shows us a perfect view of rotterdams colored buildings…)
sound of a chair being pulled, someone sits down, whistles….
So WHAT is Tia Ciata (laughs)
She was someone with a particular sense of hospitality, She is a priestess of the Afro-Brazilian cult in Rio de Janeiro and she was the first one who had some kind of presence in the cultural life of the city, OUTSIDE the restricted community.
What was happening at Tia Ciata's house is an action that came from the reflected gaze. In any situation where you have levels of empowerment that are different, the disempowered affection has a returned gaze. And that is why situations can shift.
What happens is that maybe the intervening screen gets placed at different points, so different contents can pass through. That will be allowing for things to change...
Why is there an idea that this is a screen, because screen is a flat surface, which has some transparency. Also you use a screen to project something on and maybe sometimes a screen is reflecting back... so I think the metaphor is very interesting because we don't say: the intervening..... fog.... fog ...
You need to pay attention: the concept is not: ‘screen', it is: ‘intervening screen'. It is a material presence that has an action.
In an urban structure, which has lost all her previously built up systems, hierarchies and facilities in a crisis, a process can be observed where these systems find their return in spontaneous actions and restructurings, which are not directly recognized as being productive. Similar processes are taking place everywhere and continuously.Milica:
And you know that there is this language, which is for you unintelligible and this is almost a question of certain value systems, which in a city is really like this: there is a new system, that is definitely there, it established itself, it is operating, but we as a society have no tools and no means to read and to see this as a potential or as something which is a productive force.
Yes, new forms, or new tropes, which cannot be deciphered, no value can be seen in them. And maybe by not analyzing it though your terms, something of its terms can start.. you become sensitive to them, you develop a sensitivity to them.
In the presentations and discussions, loosely grouped around the productive spheres of text, sound and space, the participants have explored the meaning of polyphony and heterogeneous structures within their different disciplines. The aim was to connect the different narratives, idioms, methods and positions and find a concentration point where ‘a certain brazilianess' can be indicated as productive force, in the social space as well as in cultural production.
in a following stage more dialogue was produced. Read further: