People of Berlin, People of the World

A few days ago I found this tweet from @radiopapesse in the post box of Radio On.

“OPEN CALL: is South just a matter of latitude? #sudenradio @ResonanceFM @Kanal103 @radio_on_berlin @ARTonAIR”

I decided to follow the link and found a proposal. You can do the same and find Deutsche Bank, Villa Romana, South, Firenze, Berlin and Invitation right at the beginning of the Call. I will use them as the titles of the short chapters that will follow.

Deutsche Bank
I work at a call center…  Before I could start working there I needed a German bank account. I chose the Deutsche Bank. They behaved the less complicated in accepting me. I also thought they would be easy to find, once I was abroad and needed to withdraw money.
They are not easy to find. The first and only one I found was on Wall Street. Pushing my naivety to the limit I walked to the door and tried to enter. A very well dressed and polite black man with the physical appearance of a heavy weight boxer approached me and explained I couldn’t get in. It was not for withdrawels. I could sense that. The light was low, shining in colors of red gold. I saw shadowy figures hardly make a move. Dark tomblike furniture. It had something mysterious about it, as if the secrets of ancient Egyptian rites were kept in the safes in the basement, together with the Nazi Gold and a couple of pictures by Dürer and Giorgione. When I was back on the street again, I didn’t look up. I should have done so to find out how many floors the Deutsche Bank building had. I didn’t, because I needed cash. I had to withdraw 100$. And be charged 4$ for it. On Wall Street.

Villa Romana
Ah Man, I don’t know the Villa Romana, but I know some villa’s in Florence. I lived there a great part of the nineties. I got drunk looking at the landscape, its colors, the softness of the air, the looks of the girls, the conic forms of the cypress, the sunset over the roofs of the old town and the clouds shaped like pumes, the typical smell at the fall of day when the warmth loosened itself from the stones. I was pleased to live there, to absorb and be absorbed.
I know of the perfect boredom at art openings when a chilled glass of white wine gave refuge. I know how the coming of winter smells. I saw Baggio and Batistuta play in the stadium of Fiorentina. Dunga too. The view on the hills of Fiesole is unbeatable.
I went to the website of the Villa and I saw they organised an exhibition on William Furlong. The old master had come over to set it up. I would have gone there for sure. Maybe I would have gone to the opening, an invitation is always at a friend’s distance. And then I would have walked up to him, to thank him for the inspiration.

South is where palm trees grow. Some day I’d like to live there.

A friend of mine was heavily involved in organising the biennial of fashion. Biennial’s of whatever kind were very much in fashion at that time, which was the late nineties. Fashion and Renaissance works of art were put together in one setting. Or to put it more bluntly, exhibition rooms were turned into show rooms.  Elton John’s collection of sunglasses were also exposed. Elton came to the opening. My friend, a she, was very pleased to tell that he kissed her on the cheek. That makes me two kisses away of Princess Diana. But also at a two kiss distance of a lot of dickheads and assholes I don’t want to know of.
To Antonio Tabucchi, a writer, the biennial was a reason to write a manifesto, in which he attacked the town council for their policy against the Roma and Sinti. Their situation was deplorable indeed. I saw their camps, even shacks made of waste material, directly near the railway tracks, whenever I returned from the coast by train. It was the time of genocides in Jugo-Slavia. It was also the time that more and more Africans were seen in the streets. They had a piece of cloth spread out in front of them and tried to sell souvenirs to the tourist. They were housed with four or five persons in a room. Florence is not a good city for hosting misery. It doesn’t go well with the decor.

There are no palm trees in Berlin. But there is a whole lot to compensate for it.

Radio Papesse invited Radio On, which is 50% me, to submit a program. The theme is ‘South.’ It got explained with a few questions culminating in the observation “In the face of the multiplicity of borders, how can we approach it, without reducing the discourse to mere geographical terms? without reducing its complexity into a monolithic phenomenological entity through which and unlike to we define ourselves?” The conclusion is the biggest Babushka of the questions posed.
Let me state this clearly. The idea to spend “15 days of broadcasting with the intention to delve into many possible different dimensions of the ‘South’ ” is a brainless idea. It is very probable that the idea is not launched by brainless people.

At this point I need some chapters of my own. I will call them Vision, Management, Speech by Obama, Oscar, More Management, Carrot and Conclusion

The presentation of the idea would have been very different if a vision had been expressed in it. I looked at the websites of Villa Romana, Deutsche Bank and radio papesse. I didnot find an essay about ‘The Idea of the South – between Cardinal Point and Myth.’ South, West, North, East. South-West and South-East. Each direction holds a promise of adventure, history and the great unknown. Each one of them can draw you to the hard surface of economical diversions and social uprise. There is myth, epic travels, the stories of loners and colonial wars. The jet-set who caused the rise and fall of the paperazzi, and Vasco da Gama setting sail from the southern point of Portugal were attracted. The question if China and Chili have a south and so much more are locked up in the single notion of South. You see, once the gates of imagination are opened, a structure of thought and images imposes itself on the subject.

The crew of Radio Papesse will come to Berlin. I hope that their trip and stay in this fair city of mine will be made possible by fundings. They presented a brainless idea. A brainless idea is easier to accept. With thinking it is hard to come by these days. To compensate for the lack of vision, strategies from the world of commerce were applied.
Create enthusiasm: “We look for you, musicians, activists, composers and artists, to share your inspiring contribution on this arduous and slippery field of investigation. ” And don’t forget to point out the individuality, the uniqueness and the talent of the persons in your target group.
Create a sense of togetherness and change:”We need to test our medium and our means.”
Study the great effect of repetitive rhetorics in the speeches of Obama.

Speech by Obama
People of Berlin, People of the World.
We need to test our medium. We need to test our means.
Be it acoustic experiments, be it songs, field recordings or philosophy.
We need to test our medium and our means with poetry, travel or geographical advice. We need to test our medium and our means with South-notion related classical or electronic compositions, with documentaries, interviews and chats ‘going south‘.
Artists and activists. Musicians, composers. Be your medium music or playlists, be your means radio shows or features, we are looking forward to listen to how your notion of South may be reflected in your own work and in your own research.
We are looking for content, because we don’t have the time nor the means to do this all by ourselves. We need your help. I know you can help. Together we can.

Back to the call center where I work. Since a few months somebody thought that a sense of competition would increase motivation and results. People of different nationalities work there. Teams! One nation against the other. The Dutch won last month. They won an Oscar. A fake Oscar statue is placed on the cupboard with the fuses. I am Dutch. I was among the ten best. I got 20€ worth of free vouchers for the cinema. I don’t know what blockbuster movie to choose from.

More Management
Everybody has a computer. A computer is a great tool to administer your work. Everybody with a computer has spent a decent part of their past and present life managing their correspondence, their works, their private life, friendship and hobbies and art. We got organised in folders, blogs and websites. We got organised in groups, networking and social media. We all got introduced in the culture of management. Most of us also got used to a culture of sharing their works, making them free available for download.

With this in mind and a budget of 200 Euro to spend on the content of 15 days of broadcasting, the budget got turned into a carrot. The one selected work of the submissions would win this amount. The other carrots were called ‘broadcast locally and on stream’ and ‘an opportunity for publication on the website.’ Easypeasy. Most of all those musicians, activists, composers and artists offered their works free for download anyway. Just delve into the culture of sharing and get your 15 days of content. The fact that they have to present a ‘production sheet’ will just educate them more in how to present themselves and their work properly.

So, to resume all this.
Deutsche Bank KunstHalle is the name of the place where these fifteen days of broadcasting will take place. Deutsche Bank has also a fancy building on Wall Street, where I tried to enter at the start of this article.
Villa Romana is a beautiful villa in the beautiful town of Florence.
And you are the asshole who is going to submit his work for free.


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