In Calabria – Flowers

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A sharp ticking against the window of the door woke me up. I was not caught in a dream. There was daylight already, but it was still early. My first thought was that Dani had arrived, as he had told me he might drive down from Massa the night before. Maybe he didn’t have the keys to his apartment with him. I got out of my bed as the ticking continued.

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A big man stood at the other side of the door. The door is made out of vertical and horizontal metal strips that enclose little windows from top to bottom. Behind him I saw four or five more men, two of them holding a gun. They didn’t point the gun at me; the men were quite relaxed, the guns pointed at the tiles of the terrace. 

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He showed me his id card. I opened the door. “Were you still sleeping?” was his first question. He spoke to me as if we had known each other for years. What I was facing was an anti-mafia brigade. “Do you have any weapons, ammunition hidden in your house?”

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“No.” Somehow I was too amused by the whole situation to feel uncomfortable. He went on to explain they wanted to do a house search. I had the right to call a lawyer, so that the house search would be done in his presence. It was 6:30 in the morning. “Do come in,” I said. I walked to the other room, with an other door made out of windows and metal strips and behind it, another broad smiling man with a gun, who asked politely if I could open the door for him.

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Five men were looking at my desk with cassette players and cassettes. I left them looking at it in peace, and waited in the kitchen until they were ready.

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We made a round and ended up downstairs in the restaurant zone. There we were joined by five or six more men. In fact I saw new faces arrive all the time. I answered their questions about the identity of the place. And then I answered questions about the nature of my cassettabouts. “You are on youtube?” Instead of leading them to my noise set in San Francisco I directed them to ‘field recordings.’ They listened to Chris Watson. “Do you record birds?”

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They shook hands when they went away. The leader of the operation smiled a very friendly smile. “Did you ever meet such nice policemen?” Must admit, never did. They even wanted to offer me a breakfast at a bar, were it not that the next bar was at a 45 minutes walk.

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Part of my morning ritual is to follow the news in the East of Ukraine. A lot of tweets come in. A lot of these tweets show evidence of the Kremlin lies.

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Historians still try to find out how it came about that so many Germans supported Hitler. They could find an answer if they study the attitude shown by the German population in the current Ukraine crisis. Nothing has really changed.

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PUNK IS DADA – revisited

They say “hha” in a very cute way. As opposed to the interrogative “huh” where the pitch changes to an higher end in order to create a little void to be filled in by an explanation, this “hha” starts in the torso, like a sigh, but has nothing of its weariness, on the contrary it expresses an inviting recognition to an observation; it encourages and rewards the agent for her/his sharp insight by this sign of approval.

“Hha.”

The sound of “hha” has also a very retro quality about it, as it alludes to adventure films or serials for the older kids, aged 11 to 14. The heroes of those movies or TV-serials were kids in that age. They were very popular in the 50s and 60s at the other side of the sexual revolution. The kids were always running, talking in an agitated whispering voice, and on their way to solve a mysterie or to expose the nice gentleman as the villain. At key moments, and there were a few of them to keep them running from one scene to the other, there was always one girl or boy who had solved a piece of the riddle. The other kids would say “hha.”

Youth is a beautiful conspirational moment in life.

Punk is Dada came to the Oranien Studio with two guests. They were in their mid-twenties. Each one of them brought their laptop. Viewed from a critical distance, the kind of distance that wears a wig and carries the load of tons of religious and philosofical books, one could think these kids were hanging out on Facebook, watching Youtube and throwing one-liners at each other, in short, that they were having fun.
If you avoid the narcist post-modern approach and stay away from easy commenting you could notice that something else was going on. I come to that.

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The radio show itself, of which I sensed it would be a radio experiment given the planned involvement of various social media by P.I.D., evolved around topics as ‘mash-up,’ ‘appropriation,’ ‘contextualisation.’ It had hilarious and serious moments, jokes, parody, popular youtube songs, star-bashing, short live performances and a guest appearance by Obama watching twerking black asses from his terrace while drinking pineapple/orange juice. Tweets and links were send out to invite the listener to open an extra tab on the computer and watch or read along with the trio in the studio.

It was a big outburst of energy, a wave to which I had to resist, because I was born before the wall fell; I was even born before they built it. But it was rewarding, though I have to admit I got into it when I listened the second time and had thrown away my wig and smashed the mirror. To repeat the things that were discussed would go too far. The show was wild and controlled at the same time. The topics changed with every two minutes. Flaws in conversation were filled by the bedroom producer guest crooning away over the sounds he had harvested from the internet. Punk is Dada had a great radio voice.

The atmosphere was very pleasant. One thing stood out from the discussions: conflict is an out-dated concept. Points were brought forward, and met with questions. I could sense the power of soft persuasion. The creation of a comfort zone, or a bubble, maybe even a cell, was the most important. Such a situation is not static, is without well-defined borders; it could change with every new constellation, or with every new day. This explains the use of words as ‘concept’ (to replace the much harsher and static ‘definition.’) and ‘context’ (to replace the much harsher and static ‘idea.’) De Saussure would have eaten his shoe.

There are voices that predict the end of the browser. Safari, Chrome, Mozilla, Opera and the likes will disappear with time. People, funny enough called “Users” will get access to the internet through an App. In metabolist architecture habitats were the working cells in a changing society, that was seen as an organism. Nowadays, internet has become the habitat. Habitats develop and get organised. The metabolist architects thought ‘buildings,’ but they couldn’t foresee they illustrated what the internet would look like.

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PUNK IS DADA SPEAKS was broadcasted live by Radio On on 8. April. PUNK IS DADA was the host, and brought the following concept for the show:

The first show will be titled An Informal discussion on the contextualisation of original source,” found” art and the bedroom producer with regard to social media marketing and its impact on the codes and ethics of authorship.

With Special Guests Grey Market Mixtape and SFTSTPS

DUE TO TECHNOLOGY, THE INDIVIDUAL IS NOT JUST AN ONLINE PARTICIPANT, BUT AN ACTIVE CO-CREATOR IN MAKING, REMIXING, EDITING, AND REPOSTING AT AN INCREDIBLE PACE. GREYMARKET, SFTSTPS AND PUNK IS DADA HAVE TAKEN TO SCOURING THE INTERNET IN EXPLORING/APPROPRIATING DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF AUDIO-VISUAL AESTHETICS.”

SFTSTPS couldnot come. He was replaced by Elvia Wilk.

PUNK IS DADA.Fb
GREY MARKET MIXTAPE.Fb – Cloud
Elvia Wilk.web
Radio On.web

Radio On will re-broadcast the show on various days and hours of the week.
Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 16. 18, & 19. April from 04:00 -06:00 and 20:00-22:00 (Berlin time) (-5 to -9 for the America’s) (+7 for Japan)

In Calabria

When we had almost reached the eastern coast of the peninsular part of Calabria, I couldnot resist any longer. Michal stopped the car at the side of the road. I got out and made these pictures.

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At home I looked back at them. Most of the pictures were upside down. This one brought memories of what I had read about the cathedral in Sevilla, a masterpiece of moorish architecture. If I remember right one of the big innovations back then was to turn the design of the- was it Doric?- pillar upside down. The result was less plump and far more elegant. 

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The next day Michal went out alone in his car to explore the region south of Reggio Calabria. He found this fine example.

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At the same day this picture washed upon the shores of the internet: the unfinished constructions of Oscar Niemeyer’s buildings in Brasil.

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Michal Libera had come over to edit a book and write the preface to it. He had also come with the e-version of Invisible Cities, Calvino’s book about cities that exist in the stories about them, and thus in the imagination of those who hear these stories. He had to prepare a lecture on the subject. People who will attend the lecture will hear a lot of stories about the unfinished constructions Michal has encountered. The villages in Calabria will become their invisible cities, simply because the villages are also partly invisible when you walk or drive through their streets.

The peninsular part of Calabria is coastal to two different, maybe even three different seas. The western part has its Tyrrhenian Sea; the more southern part marked by the visible presence of the Liparian archipelago is also known as the Liparian Sea. That is where I live. I prefer this name, maybe because of its Gulliverian touch. South of Reggio Calabria, where the distance of the mainland to Sicily is at its nearest, and further around the corner up north again, the sea is called Ionian Sea.

In my view is the harbour of Gioia Tauro. It is an important commercial harbour. Different cargo ships rest in the bay every day, add a primordial sense of calm to the landscape. “Look,” they seem to say, “all those sea monsters you painted on your maps, they never existed; we are just big iron animals, once we are in open sea, we’ll disappear and travel with the speed of time to the other side of the earth.” It is said that Ulysses sailed around here; some parts in my view are described in Homer’s book. I don’t see that when I look at the sea. I see Gioia, I see Aspromonte, I see Stromboli, Etna on a clear day; I see places I’d like to visit in one big tour, recording their sounds.

Primordial, primordium: an aggregation of cells that is the first stage in the development of an organ. We are back at metabolist architecture and at the different metabolism that to me is the central point in post-whatever architecture in Calabria. It is architecture without architects used to build houses that were never meant to be houses. The main part of it is not built, exists in daydreams.

We went to the other side twice. One reason was to visit Badolato, to make some recordings in its living room shaped alleys. Badolato is one of those Ionian towns built on a rock; in a way it looks like a hat. In every way it looks very impressive, most of all upon arriving. It transmits a sense of hope and catharsis at the same time, reveals itself as the end of a mystic path. Probably it was also meant this way, if you consider this allegorical picture by Dürer.

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From the town’s center on the top you descend to after and previous lives through the little streets that lead you from one level down to the other, until you are at the bottom, fallen of the hat like a bit of dust. On your way you will encounter old houses, some of them abandoned, some of them closed, most of them open, all of them finished. Back up, there is the central square, the well preserved houses around it, a small footbal pitch, a few bars and a lot of panoramic view. Sit, have a cappuccino, talk a bit, go.

The real beauty on the Ionio is the abscence of everything and it is the open sea: its brilliant colors and movements turn it into a sensual being. The archeological site of Caulonia is a very fine example of the abscence of everything. There is nothing but stones, big white stones consumed by wind and rain. Together they form the outline of the great big building that stood here, built by the Greek that came from the other side of the horizon some two thousand and five hundred years ago. I walked over this site,  road carried by pillars marked one border, the railway track was behind the bushes, left and right nothing, no house, no wanderer, no guard, no nothing, little flowers, lots of them, and grass moving in the wind, a few trees rustling their rustling sound. And the sea. It was perfect. 

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Trembling

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