concwerning traditions, oral and otherwise
i would like yo make a few points,
first traditions are contemporary inventions produced and reproduced to consolidate an (invented) idea about the past , this was brilliantly described and studied by J Huizinga some 30y ago in "inventing tradition" of course there are a few beautuful freedom enhancing traditions, one would like to suppose, but unfortunately in many cases they are forms of violence and control either towards groups in the socitey (traditionally women etc) or other groups "outside"
some months ago i read a great quotation from an author in america in the 30`s who had landed there from the turmoil in europe (Droth i think was his name) he said "a nation is a group of people who share a confusion about their ancestors and an athipathy to their neighbours´, true.
this is not to say that there can be no enjoyment with this, and of course many traditional elements, procedures, events, songs and stories can be beautiful and moving, (specially with good food AND enough drinks)
Thus i do think artist have a very interesting and relevant role now and in the past in reproducing tradition, this can be done by reproducing forms of domination exclusion and prejudice or done with a critical and constructive aim bringing about new futures resulting fro an informed and critical relation to the past rather than reenacting false and often toxic images of the past
Then another point , here concerning orality i think is very interesting there is a widespread implicit and explicit undestanding among many in our part of the world that culture and knowledge mean writting and that is clearly a big mistake in my view, many people in cultures in history and arround the world have produced knowedge and functional social structres without much or any writting. Thus orality has now and in the past a very central role in building things, abstract and material , songs, cities, roads and well languages, most of which have existed for long periods wirhout writting or with a very very minimal writting
so how can artists engage today with orality and help using the past to reinvent the futue rather than using it as an excuse to reproduce prejudice and domination.
and finally on a theoretical line it might be interesting to think about current and past combinations of orality with hard stuff, eg now with digital voices , or radiotransmissions , also in older times as with the beautiful example in ancient Peru where songs were passed on and these songs could be used by a group of weavers working together each on her loom to produce certain colour patterns in the textile (now comes the yellow and then the blue..)
or in india where there is a tradition of long songs that are meorized and are in fact lists of ailments and the corresponding solutions or remedies
have a good day,
--- On Sat, 5/2/09, roger malina <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> From: roger malina <email@example.com>
> Subject: [Yasmin_discussions] Oral Traditions and the Digital Arts
> To: "YASMIN DISCUSSIONS" <Yasmin_discussions@estia.media.uoa.gr>
> Date: Saturday, May 2, 2009, 8:28 AM
> In response to our call for
> discussion topics, one per week
> in May, Cynthia Rubin sends us this question
> Hi Yasminers
> I have been thinking (as you know) about how we
> remember from
> generation to generation, and what knowledge different
> cultures value
> In Senegal, there is the tradition of Griots who tell
> Oral Tradition, emphasis on ancestors as identity
> In the Jewish tradition we just had Passover (Pesach),
> where we tell
> the story of the liberation from slavery in Egypt
> Written Tradition, emphasis on collective shared history,
> as lesson
> for present and future
> Since YASMIN is cross-cultural, I would like to hear about
> traditions and the how artists feel that these traditions
> their ways of thinking in general, and then how it affects
> making, if at all.
> Cynthia Rubin
> PS from roger: we should try to respond to this in the
> of the arts and new technologies or art and science since
> is the focus of YASMIN
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