Bill Dietz /L‘école de la claque /
a series of interventions at the Donaueschinger Musiktage 2017, performed by Bill Dietz, students of KHM and festival audience members.
/L‘école de la claque/ invites the festival audience to participate in public rehearsals in which particular moments, boos, cheers, and eruptions from the history of reception – of the Musiktage itself, European concert history at large, and contemporary scenes – will be re-enacted.
On the heels of the staged applause that accompanied Donald Trump’s post-inaugural CIA speech, merriam-webster.com reported a dramatic spike in lookups of the word ‘claque’. As in 2009 when Tea Party plants disrupted Obamacare ‘town halls’ across the United States, the political right continues to strategically violate the social contract of the public sphere into ascendancy. Then again, claqueurs (those professional audience members paid to subliminally guide the evaluatory noise of an audience) always occupied a problematizing place in the history of the Western publicness. Contrary to the idealized picture of mostly white, heterosexual, bourgeois men engaged in rational, transparent exchange in Viennese coffee houses, a history of the public sphere acknowledging the claque would be messy, invested, conflictual, compromised, polarized. At a moment when the future of publicness as such is anything but certain, how then might a longer and broader history of the claque, of the instrumentalized orchestration of the public sphere that was always already a part of that Enlightenment construct, help us to reconsider the stakes of performative publicness in 2017? And how specifically does the audience of the Donaueschinger Musiktage, with its proclivity to voice dissent in the form of frequent booing, fit into this? How can we think New Music’s self-understanding as inherently ‘critical’ at a moment when public opinion is algorithmically mined and seeded long before bodies assemble in a room?
Drawn from the historical record of Western European concert reception, the archive of the Donaueschinger Musiktage, and from a contemporary archive of collectively performed refusal, /L’école de la claque/ stages the constituent exclusions that haunt the remains of “civil society”.
/L’école de la claque/ proposes a space for reflection on the history of reception, as well as a forum for performatively working through that history. Throughout the Musiktage, the work appears in a series of public rehearsals. Will that which is rehearsed spill out into the ‘real’ applause of the festival? And if it were to, would it be distinguishable from the festival’s already performative reception? Directly or analogically, the work occupies the festival’s gaps, drawing the overall structure of the festival itself, its frame, into relief. Festival attendees are invited to become claqueurs.
More about the /L’école de la claque/ in an interview with Bill Dietz: