Original work by Nicolás Varchausky

Poesía Federal Argentina

This is an extract. The full piece is 24'11".

Humans have been eavesdropping since their first days of consciousness in the womb, and in theatre eavesdropping has historically featured from Roman comedies to Shakespearean works. However some narratives, although broadcast, are not meant for outside ears. Here we are privy to Argentinian homeland securities in the form of Federal Police communiques, in a piece that explores the language of the state, and the broad variety of voices which form it. At once formal and colloquial, in the arena of the shortwave radio - a transmission that clearly marks a geographical 'turf', the work inverts the logic of surveillance.

Presented as a 'sound poem', interwoven radio interference ornaments a theatre of police orders, briefings, alerts, daily messages, hate speech, explicit threats and union demands. A secret space is created which we enter as outsiders. The public yet private nature of shortwave is brought into focus, and the long tradition of police use of the medium. When radio first became normal police apparatus, Peter K. Manning noted in "Information Technologies and the Police", 1992: "The radio, the patrol vehicle, and, recently, the computer have fostered the idea that technology will free police of the burdens of directly managing the messy human condition." Poesía Federal Argentina, with its expose of the inner life of state police, demonstrates that they, too, are part of that same condition.

Back to the list