Radius in Barcelona
The time here in Barcelona is to be spent exploring alone and together each of our own stakes in what we may have in common, through voicing the overlaps in our collective experiences. The nomadic radio station How To Live Together: Radius provides a meeting ground and the hosting structure for encounters between us who come from elsewhere, and those who may guide us in Barcelona. The mode of the radio provides an invitation to guests and fellows at a distance to partake in the discussions taking place here in Barcelona.
Radius is a radio station initiated in the context of See You In The Hague at Stroom Den Haag, the Netherlands, in 2014. Modelled after the teachings of the late Cameroonian musician, musical theorist and novelist Francis Bebey, the radio is conceived as common, open and connective force that alternates between the mystical and the profane.
Radius proposes to institute a shared environment in which our personal rhythms are considered collectively. Following others, Christopher Small in particular, Radius proposes rhythm as a collective verb, namely musicking. To this end, previously Radius has contemporised Pythagoras’s one-stringed instrument called the monochord. At this moment, Radius considers our own bodies as instruments. What happens when scratching our own head becomes a musical act? These gestures are performed meaningfully, in the hope that these instruments – including ourselves as instruments – become prototypes which assist us towards speaking otherwise. Radius is an open invitation to speak in tongues, inside and outside of languages. This epiphany may help us to find new ways of shedding off the structural anguish – be it in its manifestation as English or Spanish or through other disciplinary, bodily and material boundaries which we carry. Although these structures undeniably help us, they may also numb our senses and divide our subjects and our collective intellect.
Rwandans regard the human body as a whole. They believe that every gesture is part of a complex system of expression that draws on the resources of language, memory, tradition, the senses and intuition. Gestures are always full of meaning, and if Rwandans often strike rather statuesque attitudes when they gesticulate, they know exactly what they are doing.
They look on their environment as a landscape which is alive with forces and symbols. Against this eloquent backdrop, they repeat again and again gestures that have remained unchanged since the time of Gihanga the Inventor, the mythical figure who is said to have taught them the “correct gestures” they should use in daily life, in rituals and in the practice of trades and crafts. Gihanga is also thought to have shown them the “correct shape”, a combination of beauty and efficiency, for drums, tools and weapons.
Gasarabwe, Edouard, Le Geste Rwanda, Paris: Union Générale d’Éditions, Collection 10/18, 1978 – “Meaningful Gestures.” The UNESCO Courier 46-9 (1993):31-33
Like Francis Bebey, the late ethnomusicologist Christopher Small proposed that any act of "music-making" is a mystical impulse. This impulse may be helpful against the vile medium of self-reification as conclusive objects or subjects. Instead, as Small suggests, musicking is a social activity, capable of generating a plurality of cultural and political micro-universes. The desired gatherings invite and draw out activities which are both the results of and the matrix itself of the understanding of our own bodies as sensitive instruments. The handling of these enable us to bypass our own subjects, the limitations of speech and the dormant arrogance of certainty.
We propose musicking as an open gathering punctuated by instantaneous and approximative musical instruments and the playing thereof. Any of your own instruments are much welcome. Each activity will be determined by the group who is there to begin it and so if there are other additions to decide upon, it will be done in the first 10 minutes before we start. The actual contributions are at present not easy to list. These will come from those who are there and bring their thoughts, ideas, passions, and care for such a common practice.
Noah Angell was born in the United States in 1980 and lives and works in London. Recent exhibitions and events include: Home Recordings: first iteration, noshowspace, London; Anomalies & nonrepresentative instances in the ethnographic field recording, Duke University, North Carolina; The Politics of the Inaudible, Open School East, London; Tertulia, Arnolfini, Bristol; Right to Silence, Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam; Crying in the ethnographic field recording, The Freud Museum, London; Crying in the ethnographic field recording, University of California Riverside; Forgetting and Negative Space in the ethnographic field recording, HDLU, Zagreb; Labor & Rhythm, Banner Repeater, London; Fig.3: I don't know what to say, David Roberts Art Foundation, London; 2010.8, MOT International, London and the solo exhibitions Noah Angell: Film Works, Oksasenkatu 11, Helsinki and Noah Angell FILMS: 2006 – 2012, KARST, Plymouth.
Angell is currently working on Lux Imperium, a film being made in collaboration with writer Francis Gooding, as well as The Past and Present of Amateur Media, a series of events at UCL that will focus upon Amateur Film. Upcoming events also include a yet-to-be-titled lecture-performance at Camden Arts Center, and Gucci Mane the first at Res.
Saturday May 2nd, 2015
Crying in the ethnographic field recording
A lecture-performance which unravels the conflict between the body and language.
This tension is revealed as the recorded subjects deal with loss and mourning within different cultural spaces. To those present and listening attentively, the session provides a carefully staged experience for a psychic release.
Featuring recordings of the Bitterroot Salish, Bororo, Csango, Ekonda, Egyptian, Irish Tinkers, and Kaluli people.
A late night set of Atlanta rap featuring contemporary methods of oral transmission and immersion in bass.
Tuesday May 5th, 2015
Home recordings: first iteration
A lecture-performance work that takes as its focus the transition from oral tradition to oral transmission, and the role of recordings, radio waves, and telephonic communication in giving extended form to the linguistic ecosystems which help constitute our notions of home.
Featuring a selection of ethnographic and privately issued recordings from the artist’s home state of North Carolina including The Badgett Sisters, The Cherokeeans, Big Boy Henry, Algia Mae Hinton, Fred Reid, Dick Tillet, Mrs. General D. Watson, two unknown tobacco auctioneers, an uncredited hollerer, and an unnamed Cherokee man.
Whenever the mood and the moment permits, effort will be done to record the encounters occasioned by the meetings and the visits to and from practitioners from or in Barcelona. This recording is in view of relating these moments with fellow practitioners elsewhere, and also to reflect on our actions, and to allow the playback in our bedrooms, in our kitchen, as we walk or adopt any other bodily gesture. The process recording and making the recordings available considers the ethical implications of recording or appropriating each other’s speech.
Love Is Peace – Eternal Flow (To be Confirmed)
A guided odyssey through the spiral depths of sonic experiments of the likes of Amon Düül II and their krautrock peers, focussing on collective self-authorship of this musical “non-genre” emanating from Germany in the period of 1960-1970. Kim West reflects on the political, aesthetic and affective implications of these works.
We are proposing that the work of intellection is an active force of resistance which benefits the struggle against some aspects of socially organised violence. We think that intellectual generosity is a powerful tool to minimise many forms of visible and invisible violence.
In his book After "Rwanda": In Search of a New Ethics (2013), a philosopher working in London called Dr Jean Paul Martinon writes on the paradoxes of composing peace. How to find a peaceful moment? How to recognise one? What are the ways of extending such a moment? In Martinon’s words:
1) The encounter involves asymmetrical movements of generosity that could not take place if there were no symmetrical movements of egoity.
2) The encounter involves a language that holds us hostage and yet we are the hostage takers.
3) The encounter involves a space that can be objectified as being “here-or-there” and yet complete objectification is impossible.
4) The encounter involves a time that can be circumscribed as the “living-present” and yet the living-present does not exist.
5) The encounter involves a time that is made of questions and/or responses and yet this tie could not exist without the interruption brought on by these questions and/or responses.
6) The encounter expose the necessity of stopping the violence of rationality and war and yet this necessity could not be conceivable without the violence of rationality and war.
7) The encounter involves a “doing” that has no objective and yet could not take place without the setting up of objectives.
After "Rwanda": In Search of a New Ethics,
Rodopi: Amsterdam – New York, 2013
It is the search for this “doing” which we call practical philosophy. This is what is at the heart of our future encounters, arrangements, evocations and invocations, through the model of the radio. These are moments of a collective time spent with unknown friends and strangers alike, a time that belongs to no one and everyone at once. These collective moments will be inhabited subjectively, in playing, listening or speaking or recording. In a gesture of intellectual generosity, this is our offering to Barcelona. It is in the hope that each of our subjects may meet and forge further resonance with fellow guests, hosts, visitors and regional practitioners and those from further afield.
In the words of Noah Angell, we consider [our bodies and] our homes as prototypes for a new ethical sensitivity. In supplement to this shared self-awareness, we seek to work in the open and to dream up a public interior. Here, we desire a temporality in which personal speech and rhythm can be staged collectively. We consider such public interiors as timely utopias, or rather as an atopia: as habitations which bring together how we live with what we do.
With the planned listening sessions hosted by the invited guests of Radius, we hope to cast out our mutual concerns and to broadcast informed comments for a better future. For this, we propose three activties: 1) the sessions, 2) the ongoing encounters and 3) the occasional gatherings.
1. Sessions hosted by Noah Angell
Hosted by Kim West
Kim West is a philosopher, critic and translator based in Stockholm and London.
Hosted by Prof. Adrian Rifkin
Adrian Rifkin is Professor of art writing at Goldsmiths, University of London. He works with film and cinema, classical and popular music, canonical art and mass imagery, literature and pornography.
Permissive but critical, polemical and anecdotal gathering on the politics of visiting, and whatever subject becomes meaningful at this moment.