Thursday, March 02, 2006

Report from Bologna (four) - An idea for a no-master class ( a letter)

Dear Mrs Lembi, dear Mr Guglielmi,

Over the last fifteen years I have visited Bologna several times, without ever getting the complete picture. Last February I was there again, did four concerts in four days, of which three were found on the day of my arrival. The encounters I made in the house where I was hosted and on several locations, gave me some insight in the lives of the numerous young people who came and still come to Bologna. They are from different national as well as international background, willing to sacrifice a great deal of their private life to live together with four or five previously unknown in an apartment that is designed for a family.

Bologna is a kind of cultural laboratory, where ideas get exchanged, developed and brought into existence. It is from this information that I got the idea of a no-master class, that I would like to present to you.

Contrarily to a master class in which a master leads its student step-by-step to perfection, a no-master class is characterised by the absence of a master or a leading figure. In the no-master class the master is visible in his non-presence, which is an expression of his faith in the qualities of the students. The main expressions of this faith are a little budget and a place to work and perform.

The qualities of the students are diverse. Thanks to his or her background he or she is a messenger. Thanks to her or his creativity and curiosity she or he is a guide and an explorer. Thanks to their willingness to collaborate, they are also communicators.

My starting point for such a no-master class is the art of sound. It is a form of art that jumps over traditional structures; new structures are still to be found. the sound artist is in an extremely intuitive and therefore adventurous period. Every concert or release is completely unpredictable.

This new kind of music and its spontaneous compositions are hard to describe or to define. If you look at the musicians (or the non-musicians like myself) you see that they come form different disciplines. One could state that sound is at the heart of all matter. The common nominator is that each one is a composer. Thanks to intuition also the piece itself wants to to be composed; it doesn't hesitate to welcome sound parts previously not thought of.

And here's the main aspect of the no-master class: the welcoming part.

And here's the dogmatic aspect of a no-master class:

The participants should come from different backgrounds.

The students of the no-master class should research sound and communication. They should also organise performances to present the results, be it as a conference, a book, an exhibition of newly invented instruments or a concert, preferably every two weeks. The students should not hesitate to welcome passing sound-artists or invite them from other parts of Italy or from outside Italy in order to gain refreshing thoughts and new stimulus.

The students should also work on communication; how to reach as many people as possible and how to build an international network, where the experiences can be repeated in a different socio-cultural context. The students should work on finding funds; try to convince companies to adopt a work-in progress and give its participants the means and complete freedom.

The no-master class should last a period of three months. The aim is to stimulate curiosity and interdisciplinary collaboration, and to help participants to set up an independent organisation.

I expect both authorities and participants to have better ideas that those proposed in this letter.

Dear Mrs Lembi, dear Mr Guglielmi, I hope you consider some of my thoughts when reflecting on the dynamic character of the youthful inhabitants Bologna.

This letter will be published on my no-budgetfoundations blog.

If you have any comment, I will gladly offer you space on my blog.

Thanks for your precious time,

un caro saluto,


Rinus van Alebeek





Simona Lembi is responsable for culture in the province of Bologna: http://www.provincia.bologna.it/mandato/assessori/simona_lembi.html

Angelo Guglielmi is responsable for culture in the city of Bologna: http://www.comune.bologna.it/giuntacomunale/assessori.php

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