Monday, 16 December 2013

"Speak yourself"


Is this the quintessence of what art is all about? 


Zwewla, November 28, 2013, in Siliana.
"Speak yourself"


Except, it could not be any farther from what art is supposed to be - in theory.

The painting consists of two layers. A background of random color bombing onto the wall to symbolize the authorities' need to give up their control. On top of that the precision of the stencil with the representation of the vocal cords at the center. Almost violent in their black and white shadowing with paint running from them. A painting on what a painting cannot do. Movement and sound.

And yet the vocal cords are portrayed with such violence that we feel the strain in our own vocal cords when confronted with it. It is a head calling, screaming, singing out. Botho Strauss has a wonderful scene in his "Wohnen Dämmern Lügen" in which a singer performs Das Lied von der Erde with all movement, all power concentrated around her mouth, her vocal cords tense all the way down to the collarbones. Her mouth is framing that unbelievable gift of music, she becomes the singer in our place, the concentration of human sound on a grander scale.

In our place so much so that we partake in the sounding of the artist. Which make artists so dangerous to have around for controlling authorities, and the vocal cords an ultimate symbol of what must be silenced. The poor Willis' predicament is all about the solid black cutting through the drawing:


Nadia Khiari, WillisfromTunis, November 29, 2013, at yakayaka.org:
"AMMAR 404 is watching you!"
A decree gives (the newly established Technical Agency of Telecommunication) ATT
 the possibility to monitor the internet.
- This is to protect you from wicked terrorists

But the vocal cords are but the final canalization of what lies underneath. Sound is created with the whole body, given force by in this instance: Anger. 

The mural was made for Siliana on its situation of poverty a little over a fortnight ago. In the video below the members of Zwewla underlines their aim to show the indignity of poverty, and to this end the importance of not using the language of politicians and intellectuals. The language of murals is a way of expressing oneself in a simple language, inviting everybody to do the same. A visually direct proof that opinions are for everyone, not just for an official voice. Speak yourself says the tag immediately over the head crying out above, with the text on the mural in its entirety:

"Speak yourself, speak about your problem, you don't need an intermediate"




So in theory the call for action is as far from traditional aesthetics as can be, and yet this is art at its most vibrant. Today Oussama cut through when I tried to pinpoint his possible theoretical inspirations:

Change happens from reality, not from books.

Tomorrow we see the third anniversary of the act that ignited the Arab spring, when Mohamed Bouazizi set light to himself in Sidi Bouazid. Which is also the hometown of one of the two opposition leaders murdered this year, Mohamed Brahmi. It has been speculated if it may prove an angry day.


Zwewla, November 28. 2013, for Siliana.

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