Written in occasion of the “Chiamata per l’arte day” at the MAXXI Museum in Rome, for the ‘First Session / Cultural Policies: Proposals to the Government to incentivise the sector’.

To the Governors (?)

Giovanni Battista used to say about himself: I am the voice of someone shouting in the desert. His voice belonged to him, it was only his. In the real desert he could clearly distinguish its sound, and be sure that the air would have treasured its meaning.
I, on the contrary, do not own my voice. It isn’t mine, it isn’t my property: it is gifted to you in the form of a choral chant. My voice belongs to those who have shouted in the desert without the echo of meaning, it belongs to the multitude of bastards who have worked hard and sweated under the relentless sun of power, but who continued to sing and dance regardless.
The voice which speaks through me is the same which gave origin to Allen Ginsberg’s collective howl:

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix…

That voice, the voice of our people and of our generation, cried out in the streets that ‘We want everything!’, not everything which is possible but everything we could wish for.

Today, that same cry gets stuck in our throats: the wish was not the model for the possible, and the possible didn’t give shape to the real, and the real stopped accepting our cries.

My voice (which isn’t mine) can do nothing but display itself in front of a community, in the hope that it may become its echo. This voice of mine (which isn’t mine) hears itself say, as it speaks to the governors: you’ve given us nothing for so long that now we’re obliged to ask for everything again! A liquid everything, of which we cannot guess the limits or the shape, we cannot know if it’s designed by law or not, if it’s made of single requests threaded like pearls or like a rosary, but we do know that the thread is too transparent and too thin to take this weight, we know that it’s a fragile thread which is constantly broken, which lets ideas fall to the ground, and leaves them rolling round the world like pieces of a world in freefall. We don’t want to beg you to give us something because you are not our god, your absence doesn’t feel like presence, it feels like a criminal act. WE are the law and you the absconding, guilty and escaping, the act missed out of lack of care, not out of of loving distraction.

In all of these years, we didn’t ask for much.
Because we didn’t want much to travel light.
We asked for cheap alcohol to feast on language, and you submersed us with your irresponsible creativity.
We asked for space and you gave us prisons, passed off as the best of all possible worlds.
We asked to look into the eyes of children as a way of sharing surprise, and you proposed intensive, back-breaking classes.
We asked for our new, delicate, complex words to be listened to, and you offered us shitty multimediality that stinks and corrodes like boiling sulphur.

What else can we ask you then, now? We no longer want EVERYTHING because we know it has become your slogan. You want to be EVERYTHING and all we want is to be intact, we want to reconstruct ourselves, and we want what we need.

We need trust in composition.
We need a formal identity.
We need cheap offices where we can deal with our affairs of the heart.
We need collective instruments, which we can use and then put back where they came from.
We need a lawyers’ cabinet to defend us from you.
We need a place where we can prove that we do know how to do something.
We need workshops where we can perform the maintenance of our images.
We need images in order to develop stories.

Do you have all of this to give us? Or something, at least! Something to let us to be part of your Nation, even though we won’t pretend to be part of your national team. Something which can let you to become citizens with the wind in your sails, rather than galley slaves, chained to power, forced to row a boat that doesn’t give a damn about you! You are the pond, we are the wind and, dear ministers and various species of degenerates, we hate you enough to blow hard enough, to make you crash into the rocks of your words. Words made of rocks, only for those who don’t want to understand that we have already done everything you asked us, and then we realised it was all a scam. We trusted you and your tone-deaf voices. Now, it’s the moment of melody, a melody written on distrust – on that melody we need to sing our requests, our new wishes.

At times you’ll find it bothers you, this chant I ask you to sing with us.

Alfredo Pirri
Roma 29 settembre 2012