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Concerning the New

Lecture-performance by Diego Chamy

I was invited to a festival in Oslo in which artists were asked to present pieces of recorded music and speak about them, almost like a live radio performance. I recorded myself singing some popular songs and prepared a talk about the meaning of "The New." As I delivered my lecture, the songs I had recorded repeatedly interrupted my speech. Each time this happened, I stopped speaking until the song was over. I didn't acknowledge the fact that I was being interrupted by the songs.

"One becomes strange by means of a halting, for, when the movement picks up again, it is as if the parataxic evidence of the sequence of things appears unbound, as if in that interruption an interstitial space gaped open, sapping both the instituted order and our belonging to it." Claire Fontaine, Ready-Made Artist and Human Strike: A few Clarifications.

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About the lecture:

In relation to what is the new, new? What is its value for us? What are the conditions for the emergence of the new? Is it possible to work in order to create these conditions? When something new emerges, what are the possibilities that allow us to experience it as something different? Can the new help us shift our configuration of thought-perception? Can it set innovative relations between the others, the world and us? Or does it require our existential configuration first to expand for it to be experienced? If so, what are the grounds that could enable this expansion?

But is this the right direction to find out more about the new? It feels a bit systematic, like searching for your keys when you don’t know where they are and you don’t remember where you put them. You make a list of all the places you should go check, but then many times -although not always- they are found in weird places, like a miracle. Either it’s the realization of where they were pops up into mind all of a sudden, or they themselves pop up in a place you didn’t even realize could have existed. Anyway, this is still a search. Maybe the new isn’t necessarily even a search. Or maybe not always a conscious one... Many times we feel the need for something new... Maybe even the need for something, period. Sometimes we cry-out for it even. And then there are things that show up, or things that we get attracted to that go towards that something that we needed. These things might be vague, but have something in them that helps. What is more important then, the fact of there being the new, or simply what is needed? It’s important to open up, to feel something in an affecting manner, in a manner that feels something wanted - something that is unbelievably, truly and deeply wanted. There something is happening. And it attracts you and has the potential to get you to project it in a way that radicalizes things to the point that they too are forced to move towards life.

Text by Diego Chamy and Vered Nethe.

Performed at Certain Sundays (a music salon at SOWIESO, Berlin), May 8, 2011.

Premiered at the Grønland Mikro World Music Festival, Oslo, January 12, 2011.