In the morning, Thomas, the new invigilator, as soon as he understood that the piece was not just about punching stuff, and had a considerable music load constituting it, was quite keen on asking me lots of questions about new music. About how it behaves in the world, about who does it, who listens to it, who likes it at all, who produces it, about the industry behind and how different (or similar) it is to the classical music one, or even to the machine behind the dance music scene. He asked me if you can dance to it. We covered some institutional education problems and cross-related the axes old versus new and mainstream versus underground. Then he surprised me with "how do you critique music?". We discussed the possible frameworks for contextualisation and attainment of some balance between internal and external validity... Isn't it so absurd that we treat so many different things as if they were the same? Calling what I do music, calling what a monk did in a monastery during the 12th century music, calling what some guy in the Guarani tribe does music... It clearly is not just music that happens when music happens ever! Waking up at artsdepot has been quite varied, but always intense.
Kacper came along again - as promised - but this time he brought two friends. Mati confronted "all the bad people in the world", and then Dominik, not without some initial reluctance, punched "school" quite hard. The three were, by far, those who have spent most time, not just at the bag, but also carefully examining all the prints on the walls, one by one. Joe - a clothes designer - came to fight "trauma", which she did amazingly, having told me in the end that "this" had had some unexpected therapeutic effects on her. Megan came with her mother, and later, her brother joined in. School-related problems inform, by now, surely the most recurring category. Eva, the duty manager, also did a problem today. She destroyed the entirety of (just) "life". Kacper though it was a deep one and Heenal said: "Well, if you see it in another way, when the graph goes away, it is almost as though it is disappearing from your mind". Poppy, from the dance school, decided "boys" were her main concern and just a bit before we closed, Bruce came to address his "obesity" problem in an inspiring, open way. For I took it as a gesture of the most courageous kind, I offered to help him on the cause, which he accepted gladly.
For the private-view, I met Tim, the development director, who cursed "Brexit" whilst punching it vigorously. In the end, he admitted having always thought that the act of punching something would always have to unavoidably be charged with such negative connotations but surprisingly was glad to feel something of a quite different nature in his own body. He felt relieved, and lighter. Some of my friends also did it! Madalina started with her "anxiety" being kicked away, then came Daniel realising that he had no reasons to fear "being a bad person". In the end he told me that the singing-machine felt a bit like Hall 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is a bit unsettling, but I get that! Zula destroyed her "emotional self-harm" with some very well trained boxing combos. Dmitri reflexively took "audience participation"as the problem, which was quite funny and good to watch and finally, Sara, who was helping me film it all - and therefore [sadly] does not appear on the photos - confronted her "fear of failing" and with such agility, versatility of moves and continuous persistence, showed that failing is not an option at all. Having dinner in a local Persian restaurant was such a good finish!
When someone says that they have a problem, you imagine perhaps that they are stuck with a complicated situation, that something is tricky, sticky, or even 'funny'. We feel as though life stops before a problem, as things get entangled and cease to work. It is a blockage, a barrier, an insurmountable impossibility!
However, the idea of a problem is actually based on an action and, in fact, a quite physical one. The Greek verb probállō is composed by pro- (forwards) and bállō (to throw). So, in PROBLEM, Rodrigo challenges you to rescue the proactive nature of what problems should be. Throw some punches at your own problems! In this interactive audiovisual installation, name any problem you may have: "My tea is cold", "Brexit gives me headaches", "Loneliness", "Sneaky pesticides in my food", "I can't find my socks", "Social inequality" etc.
Problem is a call to action, and a reminder, for we often forget we have a body; one that is simultaneously physical, biological, animal, social, cultural, political… From the smallest to the biggest, from the simplest to the most complex, abstract or unfathomable, every problem is welcome to be thrown forwards, towards a sense of unity.