a first Act of Uttering Together __ πράξη συνεκφώνησης

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Hello.

EDWARD SAID

Hello this really works.

RONALD REAGAN

Hello this is Gov. Ronald Reagan of California.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Yes amazing.

RONALD REAGAN

Neat stuff.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

I thought I would say hello whilst we are waiting.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

This is mb.

RONALD REAGAN

Hello Marcel.

EDWARD SAID

Who are we waiting for. Im Edward.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Hello.

RONALD REAGAN

Hi Ed. Call me Ron.

EDWARD SAID

Hi Ron you dont mind do you.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Hello Edward. Well Im told we are waiting for Jane Fonda.

RONALD REAGAN

No my wife calls me Ronnie.

RONALD REAGAN

Jane Fonda. Really. Well Ill be.

RONALD REAGAN

Interesting line up.

EDWARD SAID

Hello everyone. Oh Jane. Shes quite something.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Yes certainly.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

A woman of many talents and interests from what I hear.

RONALD REAGAN

Bit controversial too around these parts.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Oh really.

EDWARD SAID

Itll be great to have her give a lecture here at Columbia.

RONALD REAGAN

Hanoi Jane and all that.

EDWARD SAID

Oh Ron. come one.

EDWARD SAID

You cant stand lefties can you.

RONALD REAGAN

Oh lets not reduce ourselves to labels Ed.

RONALD REAGAN

Right. Left. Whats it all mean anyway.

EDWARD SAID

No labels Ron. No labels.

EDWARD SAID

Yes acting has made you wise.

RONALD REAGAN

Oh I dont know about that.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

I wonder how long she will be.

EDWARD SAID

Well perhaps we can start without her.

RONALD REAGAN

What are we starting anyway.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

I say we give her a few minutes.

RONALD REAGAN

Im not clear on the point of this exercise.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Well I think we are testing the possibilities of this device.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

I understand it is to be launched much more widely soon. I suspect Jane will be the celebrity endorsement.

EDWARD SAID

Marcel I hope there is more to it than that.

RONALD REAGAN

OK but why us.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Well think about the implications. Imagine what something like this would offer to the world.

EDWARD SAID

What are the implications. This will revolutionize they way people do business. Culture perhaps. Someone from Japan can have a conversation with someone from California. What about China.

RONALD REAGAN

Wouldnt you rather pick up the phone and call.

RONALD REAGAN

All this damned typing.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

You get faster.

EDWARD SAID

Yes I would but if it were to be cheap and inexpensive.

EDWARD SAID

Free.

RONALD REAGAN

Free. Well who pays for it in the end though.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

The people of course.

RONALD REAGAN

You mean taxes.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

I assume you are in a military communication centre like me. Both of you.

EDWARD SAID

But for a young man or woman in Sri Lanka this might help them voice their ideas to people like a university professor from Michigan or an architect from Bahia.

EDWARD SAID

The rich should pay.

RONALD REAGAN

I do see the value in this tool.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

How do you think these kinds of stronger connections with the world will benefit you Ronald.

RONALD REAGAN

Personally. Oh maybe I could keep in better touch with people I know who are far away. But I prefer face to face conversations to really do my work.

RONALD REAGAN

Seems like an interesting business opportunity.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

And what about for your citizens in California?

EDWARD SAID

But if a student of mine wanted to go to Iran they wouldnt have the money but they could discuss issues with Iranian students using this thing.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Students I think could benefit from this greatly.

EDWARD SAID

Yes I can imagine.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Vast networks of students.

EDWARD SAID

Networks. What does that mean really.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Youth must be provided with the means to grasp this opportunity.

RONALD REAGAN

Sounds a bit out of control to me.

EDWARD SAID

Sounds suspicious.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

The young will grasp its potential in a way we couldnt imagine.

RONALD REAGAN

I dont doubt that.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

You agree with me Ronald.

RONALD REAGAN

Well yes.

EDWARD SAID

And what will it lead to Marcel. Other networks with more power will already have control.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

The things that really change the world are not always predictable. Who knows.

EDWARD SAID

Looks like Jane wont be showing up for a while.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

But you both must agree there is great potential here.

RONALD REAGAN

Yes potential.

EDWARD SAID

Yes and no.

RONALD REAGAN

But who builds it. Who fosters it. Private enterprise must be encouraged to make this available.

EDWARD SAID

Everything is double edged or more.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

It should be encouraged to be freely available.

EDWARD SAID

This might certainly be more interesting and stimulating than television though.

RONALD REAGAN

Marcel nothing is free you know.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

I am always in support of the act of writing. No matter how banal.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

I know Ronald. I know. We have your great nation to thank for this.

EDWARD SAID

Is this being documented and archived.

RONALD REAGAN

Yes Marcel I do believe you have much to thank this great nation for. Indeed.

EDWARD SAID

Marcel but dont forget Im American too.

RONALD REAGAN

America is great nation.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

New nations always speak this way.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

How American are you Edward.

RONALD REAGAN

I can think of no other nation that has contributed as much to ideas of democracy and free enterprise as my own.

EDWARD SAID

Everything vital in this century and probably the next will be fought out in this country in America because thats where antagonism will always rest.

RONALD REAGAN

Yes Ed our ideals must be fought for.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Well I can see we feel expressive in a way we can never be on a telephone.

EDWARD SAID

Im always from a place that I dont know.

RONALD REAGAN

Sounds philosophical to me.

EDWARD SAID

But I like that I know what I know about where I am.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

What do you know about where you are.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

And why do you like it.

EDWARD SAID

If you live with a horrible woman nasty and vengeful for example. You know a lot about her. You do not give in to her. No never. But because she is clear about her nastiness or does a bad job about hiding it you can sleep in her arms at night.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Indeed. I think like this very often. Every time I open an exhibition for example.

EDWARD SAID

Really.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Mostly. To be an artist is to be sado-masochistic.

EDWARD SAID

Yes I can relate to that.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Occasionally nauseating but often thrilling.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

It is why I work at home more and more.

RONALD REAGAN

So it is with politics perhaps.

RONALD REAGAN

And acting.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Do tell Ronald.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

And we can ask Jane about it when she arrives.

EDWARD SAID

Yes but politicians have too little doubt. For artists doubt is the drug that keeps them alive.

RONALD REAGAN

No there is doubt.

EDWARD SAID

How.

RONALD REAGAN

But one must get elected in order to be able to do the work and that requires the appearance of no doubt.

EDWARD SAID

But appearances then become style Ron.

RONALD REAGAN

I move beyond my doubts through the certainty of my ideals and beliefs.

RONALD REAGAN

Do I have style Ed.

EDWARD SAID

You got it Ron. Sex appeal. What about you Marcel do you have beliefs and ideals that cannot be shaken.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

I am feeling more and more that the domestic space is the only space people have left.

EDWARD SAID

Im not sure Im following.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

The only space to be free.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

I think you understand me well Edward.

EDWARD SAID

Yes I do.

RONALD REAGAN

I know how I feel when Im back at our ranch. Makes sense Marcel.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

And I think you understand me well too Mr Reagan.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

For those that do not have a ranch.

RONALD REAGAN

Yes, but Im for a space of freedom that covers that entire world.

RONALD REAGAN

This is why I became governor.

RONALD REAGAN

And who knows what else.

EDWARD SAID

I took a peep at the Superbowl the other day and it was just amazing, its a space where everything and anything can be sold, it works on desires, the only place where one can control ones desires to a certain extent is a place of seclusion.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Who decides on this freedom.

EDWARD SAID

Corporates of course.

RONALD REAGAN

Liberty must be defended and secured by freely elected governments.

EDWARD SAID

Western corporates.

RONALD REAGAN

Corporations must be free to compete as well yes.

RONALD REAGAN

You sound cynical Ed.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Why do you think this is Ronald.

EDWARD SAID

Where is Jane.

RONALD REAGAN

Shes missing all the fun.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Shes running late but definately on her way I understand.

EDWARD SAID

So gentlemen this has still not officially started. Am I right we are supposed to have a moderator for a proper conversation between the four of us.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Yes indeed.

EDWARD SAID

A kind of virtual conference.

RONALD REAGAN

And what are we meant to talk about.

EDWARD SAID

Who’s the moderator.

EDWARD SAID

Ron you dont know.

RONALD REAGAN

No I dont.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

I think her name is Maeve OReilly

RONALD REAGAN

Maybe we dont need a moderator after all. Cut out the middleman so to speak.

EDWARD SAID

Yes to use a scrubber or the soap directly.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

So why did you give up acting Mr Reagan.

RONALD REAGAN

Oh simple really I wanted to serve my country. I wanted to do more.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

And how easy was it for someone like you to get into politics.

RONALD REAGAN

It was gradual. But of course people knew who I was, which helps.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Have you ever been to Europe.

RONALD REAGAN

And people believed enough in me to help.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

I think this device is amazing. I am feeling quite emotional.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

I hope it can be used as a force to liberate.

EDWARD SAID

It would be great if we could play music through it. Its not about the device its about whose taking control of it.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Well I think the people should be allowed.

RONALD REAGAN

Agreed. Id look forward to the time when this technology is placed in the hands of business people and inventors and entrepreneurs.

EDWARD SAID

Then it will really take off.

EDWARD SAID

Music is much better for the world to have as something distributed through a device like this than works constructed by memories we cant control or have little control of.

RONALD REAGAN

Music is entertaining but there can so much more.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Like sharing beliefs.

EDWARD SAID

Music is not just entertaining Ron. Music gives us much more than entertainment.

RONALD REAGAN

Perhaps but thats not something I know much about.

RONALD REAGAN

Of course I enjoy music. My work is to create a system that protect and allow for the spread of liberty and self realization. Music is the spice of life as they say but its not the meat.

EDWARD SAID

Can someone find out when and if Jane is coming.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

I hear Jane is close by.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

It would be strange to communicate with her with no face no voice.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

But still incredible.

RONALD REAGAN

You know I dont know what you and Ed look like.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

I wonder how she will feel about this.

RONALD REAGAN

We all know Janes appearance though. Strange to think about it.

EDWARD SAID

Thats true.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Shes a star. More famous than any of us.

RONALD REAGAN

Did you see Barbarella.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Of course.

EDWARD SAID

Very nice acting sharp lady. A new breed of actor I think.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

But I imagine you might not always appreciate her views Mr Reagan.

RONALD REAGAN

No I dont care much for Communist sympathizers to be frank.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

But surely she is liberated in her freedom to do so.

RONALD REAGAN

If ones liberty threatens to undermine the liberty of millions of Americans then I must disagree Marcel.

RONALD REAGAN

She was photographed sitting atop a North Vietnamese gun you know.

EDWARD SAID

Ron communism is a brand like that burger chain. Whats it called. The important thing is to always remember that all brands can be good and bad and in the middle. Everything is actually more in the middle than we would like to think.

RONALD REAGAN

I cant imagine the good in the brand of Communism.

RONALD REAGAN

And I cant imagine a time when even liberals would be justified in promoting the ideals of communism.

EDWARD SAID

Im not a communist myself but because I feel you understand Communism as an Other. A different thing radically so than your beliefs. Im simply trying to say that perhaps its not that different in the end. All politics control in one way or another.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Thats a good point Edward. Can you even tell us what communism is Mr Reagan.

RONALD REAGAN

Its the suppression of liberty in the name of a common good.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

And what will the world be like in the future. Edward. Mr Reagan. what will the future look like.

RONALD REAGAN

If we as a nation as people around the world who believe in individual liberty we stand strong and united in the defence of democratic ideals then I believe the world can be stable and secure where individuals can be free to pursue their lives to the fullest.

RONALD REAGAN

It will not be easy.

EDWARD SAID

Why do you ask Marcel. If Ronald thinks everyone can be free with a liberty that is not suppressed then I suppose that we will be in heaven. Most likely a technological heaven.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

I ask as I know that chasing ideals will always fail.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Nobody really knows what is going on.

EDWARD SAID

Ronald doesnt seem to think so.

RONALD REAGAN

Who are we if we lose our ideals.

RONALD REAGAN

To strive for them is noble. It makes us great.

RONALD REAGAN

I’m sorry for you Marcel if you truly do not strive for ideals.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

I am saddened by your blind faith Mr. Reagan.

EDWARD SAID

My ideals. The ideals that I strive for are uncertain. I cant define them like you do Ron and they always change.

RONALD REAGAN

My faith is not blind. I have nearly 200 years of the history of my county to give me support in the pursuit of these ideals that have made us strong and successful.

EDWARD SAID

How do you measure success.

RONALD REAGAN

Ours is a thriving democracy and it guarantees liberty for its citizens. We are leaders among other nations.

EDWARD SAID

Yes but you didnt answer my question.

EDWARD SAID

How do you measure success.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Edward I am curious as to your thoughts on the freedom to express.

RONALD REAGAN

I measure it in our prosperity and in our influence on the world stage.

EDWARD SAID

Just what I expected from you Governor. And what about you Marcel.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Europe I hope is learning its lessons from history. But I still sense the unknown. For better or for worse.

EDWARD SAID

Jesus gentlemen you cant see outside of your Western boxed egos can you. We live on a bloody planet here.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

Please explain.

RONALD REAGAN

I dont follow you Ed. Youre a Westerner too now arent you.

EDWARD SAID

When I asked you how you measure success I got a reply about America and the world stage and another about Europe and its history.

EDWARD SAID

Im a human being. I try to see the world from as many perspectives as possible.

RONALD REAGAN

It matters where you live. What nation you live in.

RONALD REAGAN

Are you saying that all perspectives are equal.

EDWARD SAID

Its not about equality. I am not John Lennon.

MARCEL BROODTHAERS

I hear Jane Fonda has arrived.

RONALD REAGAN

Finally.

EDWARD SAID

Jane will understand me I hope.

(ARPANET TEST,  1975. Πράξη συνεκφώνησης με τους Marcel Broodthaers, Jane Fonda, Ronald Reagan & Edward Said)


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