What are the human voices? What the sound of human voices communicates? So Close So Far is an artistic action that works on two important aspects of the human life: voice and memory.
The human voice, through its unique sound, is able to convey different sensations: pleasure, sadness, anguish, happiness etc. Through the voice and the language, we can communicate experiences, feelings, and memories. Memory permits the creation of a narration, the dialogue, the self-recognition and the recognition of the other.
Memory as form of acknowledgement, considering that every knowledge is a personal interpretation, so it includes a truth that is not an absolute truth.
The painful experiences, within the common history of people, are often exploited in official historical versions. Official versions that mass media and politicians contribute to spread. In this way, the institutions create a version of the history not including all the participants of the conflict, such as soldiers and civilians involved in wars.
The lack of sharing of the experiences and the memories of the conflict, after the end of the war, generate a mechanism of oblivion and omission that create confusion and rancor among parties.
Each one tries to impose its own truth. In this way a cycle of violence is created without ending and without learning from the mistakes of the past.
Following the work on voices and memories, it is crucial the importance of sharing the experiences of the conflict among common people, where each person become witness of a common event.
To be witness not as voice that betrays but as voice that provide the History with its own version of the story, the version of its own painful experience or an experience of resistance. The “History” could be seen as a complex mosaic made of little stories. Stories coming from below and not ordered from above.
As Hanna Arendt said: ˂˂a narration reveals a meaning that otherwise, is an intolerable sequence of events˃˃. The same “intolerable sequence of events” usually presents in the History’s books of each country and community.
The narration of a lived experience is the base for any form of writing, such as a novel, a tale and also for a performance. Through different artistic forms, from writing to theatre, from cinema to music, from performance to painting, we are telling our personal experience in relation of someone that looks or listens.
Each artistic form has its own language, a personal code. An ancient and basic artistic form of narration is the oral narrative.
A woman or a man telling a story, activates a process of memory: the voice re-produce, trough the narration, events, details, persons, places that has taken place in that past story.
Following this thinking, the project So Close So Far, asks to its participants to come back to the oral narrative using modern technologies: audio and video recording. Participants that, in the specific case, are artists.
Using, once again, the words of Hanna Arendt on Isak Dinesen (better known as Karen Blixen): ˂˂All the pains are tolerable if included in a story or if a story about those pains is told˃˃. This concept is valid both for oral narratives than for any other form of narration. The narration is able to ˂˂reveal the meaning without defining it ˃˃. This ability belongs also to the art. A kind of art able to join the human being, overcoming opinions and parties. A problem or a mistake is manifested but not condemned. In this way each person could recognize the violence without create new violence.
It is for this ability of re-elaboration of the art that the project is addressed to artists. Artists of any discipline.
Collected records will be available in a unique virtual place. A place created as mosaic with different voices, and points of view. This virtual space will permit the connection among far experiences. Artists that have experienced the conflict in the Ex-Yugoslavian countries are, today, citizens in different areas. Some have left their country and some live in foreign countries. We would get artists in their human voices.
The testimony’s narration would not be based on a classical interview but it will start from a question that Karen Blixen considered important in order to create a narration. The question is “who am I?”. As the philosopher Adriana Cavarero says in the book “Tu che mi guardi, tu che mi racconti”, this kind of question: ˂˂comes from the deep movement of the heart. It is a question that only a unique human being can sensibly pronounce. The answer to the question “who am I?”, as any narrator knows, is in the rule of telling a story˃˃.
Different points of view about a unique event, such as the wars in the Ex-Yugoslavian countries, contribute to create one’s own history and the history of the “other”. I tell you my story and telling my story I contribute to give you the missing pieces of your story. Cavarero, mentiong the Omeric episod of Ulisses, that cries listening his story narrated by another man, says: ˂˂hearing his story, Ulysses is touched. He is touched not only by the narrated events, but also because he didin’t understand the real meaning of his story until someone else didin’t tell him˃˃.
The narration of the other helps to build my story. The common history, both personal and collective, not present in the book of history, in politic speech, in self-referential visions. In this way, So Close So Far unites the “who am I” (personal narration) to a practice of the listening.