Back to Back: Listen. May 30, 2008

by Tania Kupczak

Listen. I want you to hear from me, I mean really hear, but how do I do it in an unapologetic-politico-equivocal, diesel-engine, hyperbolic-radio-shout-advertising-saturated world? Common wisdom is if you want to be heard then you better speak the power language, get on board, put up or shut up. If you can’t do it, you’re weak, apathetic, obstinate, and/or impaired. Challenged. I do a lot of double-thinking, double-speaking just to figure out how to communicate authentically, even with myself. The result can often be publicly embarrassing. So you need to know that about me in order to know why I felt such deep gratitude for Back to Back’s small metal objects, the show I witnessed last night. But please take my use of the word show with a grain of salt. It’s a necessary word but I know it comes from a language that privileges commerce, packaging, products, capitalization-of-life, etc. and it invokes those values when uttered. The amazing and creative linguist George Lakoff has been suggesting, to powerful effect, that folks who want to combat the policies of the  “global elite ” need to be involved in the work of actively reframing the terms of the debate itself – define alternative values and demand  “metrics ” that are based on these values and these values alone. Sometimes it’s so complicated to communicate with this in mind that I just want to beam feelings from my chest! Well, small metal objects does the thrilling and powerful work of  “reframing the debate ” simply by claiming public space, blissfully avoiding self-editing (what the fearful might tidy up as  “quirky ”), and refusing to budge. Last night,  “power ” was redefined as a deep, instinctive commitment to dignity, and  “dignity ” claimed independence from legalese. LISTEN I WENT TO THE OLYMPIC SCULPTURE PARK LAST NIGHT AND SAT IN SOME RISERS WITH SOME OTHER PEOPLE AND WE WERE ALL WEARING HEADPHONES AND WATCHING THE PARK AND WATCHING THE JOGGERS AND THE GIANT SCULPTURES AND THE GIANT BODY OF WATER AND THE HILLS AND THE PLANES AND THE BOATS AND THE TRAINS (YEP). IMAGINE RICHARD SCARY FOR GROWNUPS: ALL THE THINGS THAT GO – ALL THE MARKERS OF A COMPLEX, BLUSTERY CIVILIZATION – WERE EVIDENT AND MAKING THEIR LOUD NOISES and within it we heard, intimately, two humans, two friends, both alike in dignity ”¦ GO SEE THIS SHOW. Thank you OtB. Thank you B2B. Come back soon! You are the leaders of the free world! - Paige Weinheimer