Sunday, 13. May 2012, 23:03 - 23:59, Ö1



by Arsenije Jovanovic

"Whenever I am invited to write ‘a few words’ about a new piece, ready to be premiered on radio, I feel a sense of unease.  It reminds of the time when, as a theatre director, I was inevitably forced to expose my concept to the cast and, even worse, to some theatre authorities, the dreaded apparatchiki, who also participated in the process. Apparatchiki, of course, being the Russian colloquial term for full-time professional theatre officials responsible for the political correctness of the repertory ensemble. Fortunately, my theater life in my ill-fated country revolved mainly around Belgrade and its surroundings. Our apparatchiki were quite milder compared to their Soviet counterparts. However, the apparatchiki syndrome remains embedded in my memory as a chronic incurable frustration. It triggers in me a sense of revolt and resentment at having to explain the concept behind my work.
Why I am writing this? Because I have sort of transposed in my mind time and events. Today the apparatchiki are non-existent and so is any mandatory disclosure of concept in the theatre and radio. Yet, whenever I am asked today to write ‘a few words’ about my new radio piece, I am immediately and involuntarily transported back to the times of ‘koncepcija’. It causes me a distinct discomfort to have to explain my works with words, like a producer of goods at some market. I could talk about ‘Okeanide’ for hours and what I could convey in these hours may make some of my listeners happy, but not me, and surely not everyone. ‘Okeanide’, or any other work of art is borderless, like a flowing river, never the same, never to be repeated, a river that flows in the minds of the listeners, different from mine. So there are many rivers and many Okeanide. According to the Greco-Roman mythology, Okeanide were three thousand goddess nymphs who presided over the sources of earth's fresh-water, ranging from rain clouds to subterranean springs and fountains, lakes, seas and oceans. In radio space there may be many more deities than in any ocean around the globe. The listener’s mind with its river-run imagination is a limitless space. Why should an author, with a ‘few words’, interfere with it at all? His job is done and the rest is silence. Any subsequent words or long monologues can only muddle the clear waters flowing naturally outside of his control.

(Arsenije Jovanovic)