YOU MIGHT AS WELL HAVE SUNG THE SWEDISH NATIONAL ANTHEM
one-on-one performance for a single male participant, 75 minutes
It’s commonplace nowadays to accuse politics, governments, the economy, corporations, the army, mass media, video games, pornography, certain sports and part of what we call entertainment for producing and reproducing mechanisms that generate, perpetuate and consolidate elements that lead to a culture of violence. Nevertheless the substance that fuels all this is generated by each of us, by our fears and weaknesses, our desires and intentions, and by the way we allow all these factors to come together, take over and absorb other logics and hidden agendas. When confronted with power structures, they turn into complicities and addictions, making us vulnerable and prone to blackmail. We allow ourselves to be manipulated and we manipulate in return, we use, abuse and make use of violence in the most intimate and banal of gestures and daily actions, thus creating the structure on which violence reaches a grand scale and reinserts itself as an insignificant part of our daily life.
The starting point of “You might as well have sung the Swedish national anthem” is not a self-victimization that demands justice since violence often seems hard to avoid, being part of life’s most intimate resorts. It manifests itself even in the simple fact that the artist faces the impossibility to allow the performative act to happen without explaining it through a language and a discourse that will claim authority over the act itself by trying to legitimate its existence.
The title “You might as well have sung the Swedish national anthem” is actually a relevant quote borrowed from an interview given by the Greek ex Finance minister – Yanis Varoufakis – who found himself in the unpleasant position to not be able to negotiate (almost) anything with Europe’s and the world’s big economic powers. Obviously in favor of an economic agenda, these discussions seem to have completely avoided the question of humanity and its needs, unveiling another facet of violence with which Power operates in the world. Atrocious, directly and cynically performed, undissimulated and unmediated.
“You might as well have sung the Swedish national anthem” doesn’t speak about the Greek economic crisis nor does it approach dry economic analyses, but rather subtly and fluidly it descends into the politics of intimacy, where initial impulses and tensions will turn thoughts into intentions, gestures and actions, and also into projects, public policies, economic and other measures that will alter the realities in which we live.
The artist Farid Fairuz thinks time is the first essential resource that is being stolen from us. He sees his current performance as a political gesture of stealing one hour from our constant preoccupation with competition, efficiency and productivity and also as returning that hour to a single male participant. Before him, the artist will unveil the inherent manipulations of the artistic act, as a first step in understanding the way in which power can operate at more subtle levels and also as a new negotiation possibility between two parts.
“You might as well have sung the Swedish national anthem” brings everything down to human scale and reopens an intimate and comfortable space of dialogue and reflection, finding normality precisely in the midst of a performance which he will tenderly thrust in the surrounding reality.
concept & performance: Farid Fairuz / co-produced by: Solitude Project, German Cultural Centre Timisoara/Performative Arts Festival Timisoara, Caminul Cultural / supported by ERSTE Foundation.