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RECENSIE: ‘On path / Off path’ (Sonic Acts)

Van 21 tot 24 februari was Gonzo (circus) ter plekke tijdens  Sonic Acts in Amsterdam. Tijdens het festival organiseerden wij in samenwerking met de mensen van Sonic Acts een workshop kritisch schrijven voor de volgende generatie critici. Dit is het tweede deel uit een serie van vier en deze keer is het geschreven  door Caspar Menkman.

Goodiepal Masterclass - Foto: Macaco Stailey

In preparation of the opening of Sonic Acts next Thursday, a selected few participants of the festival were asked to host a series of masterclasses. I was lucky enough to be asked to document the two day tutorial by the Faroeri Parl Kristian Bjørn Vester, otherwise known as the controversial modern day troubadour Goodiepal. Being officially awarded the title of Master Storyteller in the UK, it will come as no surprise that the narrative structure of his talks are highly complex, sometimes seemingly going off track, but always reaching his intended target.

To create an understanding of the processes in life that are not visible, we are often depending on metaphors. In his narration Goodiepal chooses the structure of his story carefully, slowly weaving recognizable concepts with everyday systems and personal experiences. It is a story about a traveller who is always on a journey, both mentally and a physically. Someone who creates value in the experience of travelling towards a goal, instead of just reaching it. He relates to us how when he was a kid, he used to share Steven King novels and computer games, with his friend Espen. How they learned to handle ideas that were too big to grasp on their own. Or his more recent travels through Europe by bike and how he got familiar with crossing borders and travelling long distances in a less common place fashion. Playing with what it means to be ‘normal’ and gently, but firmly challenging the status quo.

Distance can mean a lot of things, but it mostly has to do with perspective. An idea can be challenging because it seems distant to the things we learned when we were younger. But because something seems distant, it does not mean it is always very hard to reach. Goodiepal relates this to our up bringing. By highlighting cultural differences in his interactions with friends, he tells us that customs can seem alien because we just do not understand the rules that spawned them. Instead of being afraid or dismissive, we can try and understand them by sharing our own experiences, creating a shared knowledge that is too big for us to grasp on our own. He calls these new fields of shared knowledge, that are untainted by rules imposed from above, freespaces. A field of new futuristic dreams, going of the beaten track.

Challenging the existent rules is central to the endeavour of discovering these freespaces. Without acceptance of someone else’s perspective we can not reach past the laws that have been imposed on us from our youth on. When uncovered these freespaces offer the explorers a sort of utopian freedom. A space in which we define our own shared rules, with which we can approach our shared experience of the concepts that are the most difficult to conceive like love, time, death and the universe. The exploration of these new spaces in turn infuses them with a common vocabulary making them less free over time. To stay in one shared space, is to see it become contested and stagnate, to see it become a new status quo. Our journey as a product of our desire for a deeper understanding asks us to continuously weave our own narrative with that of people stemming from different worlds. As such the road towards a possible arrival at a place that is not burdened by rules that are imposed on us can be more rewarding then the moment of landing at a freespace.

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