The Door The Door
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Politics of Dissonance, curated by Mike Watson, Manifesta 12 Collateral Events, Palermo.
July 2018

The original function of the old city walls is long forgotten. Although they no longer provide a physical barrier they still form a significant element of the urban environment and have aesthetic and historic value.

Youth subculture can give new meaning to the ancient sleeping city limits, re-emphasising their strategic role.

The younger generation’s home made music and sports, such as skateboard and bmx freestyle, revive the urban fabric, taking it over playfully.  Spectacular acrobatic events focus attention on the ancient walls, transforming the performer, high up on top of the walls, into demiurge, shaman, the centre of attention, taking playful control.

The city gate was strategically the most important, yet the most vulnerable point in the ancient city wall. They witnessed historical events from the lookout rooms at the top, which controlled every entrance and exit. They were a customs point, where every kind of cultural and material exchange was filtered and controlled.

Today the city gates mark a virtual limit to mass motor traffic. Colonies of pigeons live in them, filling every crack and constantly fluttering from one crevasse to another.

The younger generation, always looking for empty industrial buildings, scrubland, abandoned farm houses for their raves, could bring the tops of the city gates back to life with their sound systems. Speakers installed in the city gates' lookout rooms could provide a place for them to exchange sounds, using each city gate as a reference point, an energetic element within a web of potentially explosive sound. Thus each city gate could become an energetic element within a web of potentially explosive, experimental sound, intermingled with occasional performances. Each city gate would become a temple of sound, interacting with the others, sending messages between each other, collaborating and challenging each other.

The sounds generated throughout the year could bounce from city gate to city gate until they propagated themselves, leading to certain days in the year when the city would be invaded by strange sounds, completely different from the constant hum of daily traffic that we have become so used to.

Special thanks to the DJ Francesca Sandroni and to the VJ Ignazio Giordano.
© Robert Pettena 2022