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Laura Llaneli “OUR ACTIONS BECOMING THE POLICY”

Posted on June 8, 2017

A New Wall Translates a Rockers Lecturing Tirade to His Audience


Aural. Visual. Two modes of exchange and experiencing the world that interest artist Laura Llaneli, the Grenada born painter of this months’ 12+1 project wall in in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat in Barcelona.

Laura Llaneli. Our Actions Become The Policy. Contorno Urbano “12 x 1” 2017. Barcelona. (photo © Clara Antón)

Having produced works as varied as using dot matrix printers as orchestra, “live” texting the visuals behind a performing band, and recording a “telephone game” experiment of 37 people individually interpreting a melody – and passing it to the next one.

Since she doesn’t mind studying jazz, folklore or even current pop to dissect the relationship between sound-music experience, it is not a surprise that today’s wall is inspired by a rant from a hardcore band singer delivered to his audience. Text based, but more from a taggers aesthetic than a painters, the words are a translation of singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s speech mid-concert with his band “At The Drive-In”.

Laura Llaneli. Our Actions Become The Policy. Contorno Urbano “12 x 1” 2017. Barcelona. (photo © Clara Antón)

He is berating the audience for slam-dancing, a fully corporeal, often rageful and cathartic dance activity of forceful interaction where multiple people clear a circular area on the floor and audience members repeatedly careen and throw themselves at another person, bouncing off of them and being bounced off of. It’s chaotic, often physically dangerous, and produces feelings of elation or more rage, or both. From his perspective at that 2001 concert, it was unacceptable and he used a shaming, belittling device to lecture the audience, by saying they were only imitating actions they witnessed elsewhere, were unthinking, and followers instead of leaders.

“I think it’s a very very sad day, when the only way that you can express yourself is through slam-dancing. Are you all typically white people? Y’all look like it to me. Look at that. You learned that from the TV, you didn’t learn that from your best friend. You’re a robot, you’re a sheep! Baaaah. Baaaah. Baaaah. I have a microphone and you don’t, you’re a sheep. You watch TV way too much. Baaaah. Baaaah.”

Laura Llaneli. Our Actions Become The Policy. Contorno Urbano “12 x 1” 2017. Barcelona. (photo © Clara Antón)

It’s actually sort of confusing what the racial reference was, and what it meant. But in the context of his other accusatory and bullying language, it seems like he was chiding them as behaving in a way that was unlike their race, or his image of how white people are supposed to behave.

Laura likes the text because she thinks that they were trying to control violence, or horde the right to it. “This meant keeping a certain ‘monopoly of violence’ for themselves.”

Laura Llaneli. Our Actions Become The Policy. Contorno Urbano “12 x 1” 2017. Barcelona. (photo © Clara Antón)

In the final flip of this script, Laura says that eventually event promoters borrowed the bands technique of stopping the performance to make people stop slam dancing – now actually insisting that bands do it. Thus the name “Our Actions Become the Policy”

“So they were astonished to find out that the security of Australia’s ‘Big Day’ festival had taken on their idea,” and  now it feels like Big Brother is controlling the crowd… which of course pisses people off.

Regardless how you feel about slam-dancing, this mocking, goading text-based screed is a notable departure from the more graphic and aesthetically pleasing murals that are marking this current era as well as the 12 + 1 project.

Laura Llaneli. Our Actions Become The Policy. Contorno Urbano “12 x 1” 2017. Barcelona. (photo © Clara Antón)

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