In-class presentation: WHICH BODIES? WHICH SOUNDS WHERE? QUEBEC STUDENT STRIKE.

MARCH 25TH, 2015, WEEK 12

MIRELLE LUPOVICI, ANNE-METTE HANSEN, CATHERINE POITRAS AUGER

On Jonathan Sterne, Quebec’s #casseroles: on participation, percussion and protest :

Stern mainly focuses on the interaction of sound within Quebec 2012 student protest series. The author brings up a 700-year-old Francophone tradition called Charivari. The tradition of Charivari is basically when young men would disguise themselves and would all meet during the late night to bang on pots and pans outside of an offender’s home. Stern focuses on the fact that the casseroles protest must be paid attention too because they are an embodied act of a traditional movement. They are performed loudly for a reason, because they are forming a political volume movement within its rhythm that creates itself naturally.

Stern uses another example from writer Christopher Small, who coined the term “musicking” describing music not as a collection or rarefied texts performed by experts and professionals, but rather as a field of social action that includes all participants, from musicians to the people cleaning up after the event.

Both terms, Musicking and Charivari are brought together within the action of playing on the casseroles within the Quebec student protest; the noise created is both an act of Charivari by being an affective power of noise making to protest and demonstrate, and it’s a movement of Musicking because the music becomes a social action that includes all participants to take part in.

Sterne, Jonathan. (2012). Quebec’s #casseroles: on participation, percussion and protest. Theory & Event 15(3), The Johns Hopkins University Press. 4pgs.

 

On Jonathan Sterne, Bodies-Streets :

In this text, Sterne writes about how a city connects various bodies together, and how the urban space defines social behaviours. The way Law 78 brought together various groups of citizens that would have otherwise remained unconnected is an example of how articulations work, and the protest becomes a place where social imagination can thrive.

The Law 78 is viewed as an attempt at restraining the social imagination. It criminalizes bodies because they block a flow in the city, economically and physically. The law is applied unequally: political noise is not acceptable. The movement against Law 78 is made of articulations, which means of various groups who otherwise do not necessarily connect politically.

The movement in a city is political, and cars monopolize the space. The access to transportation is political – it represents the social organization of a city. When reclaiming the space taken by cars, pedestrians can feel that another world is possible. Interactions in a protest connect minds and bodies together.

Sterne, Jonathan. (2012). Bodies-Streets. Wi: journal of mobile media 6(2). 4pgs.http://wi.mobilities.ca/bodies-streets/

 

On Darin Barney, The Truth of le printemps erable :

According to Darin Barney, the basic character of a truth is that it is exceptional, not normative, and the truth is not simply what is, the truth is what happens. Barney introduces “the manifs casseroles” as an unexpected occasion for political engagement and resistance by everyday people. Barney argues that they were the kind of popular movement that was necessary for the student strikers in order to have any chance of success.

The manifs casserole are “noisy” because of the fact that what they are saying or doing cannot be acknowledged by those who get to decide what counts as an intelligible claim. What makes the student strikers politically exceptional is their refusal to negotiate. The strikers refuse to accept the government’s proposal is a refusal to concede post-secondary education to the logic and priorities of neoliberal capitalism. Darin Barney concludes that the strike’s claims are unintelligible under the terms and conditions of reasonable discourse in a prosperous liberal democracy as Quebec, but on the other hand, part of the claims also sounds true, which is the reason why the student strikers refuse to give up.

Barney, Darin. (2012). The truth of le printemps érables. Theory & Event 15(3), The Johns Hopkins University Press. 4pgs.

http://darinbarneyresearch.mcgill.ca/Work/Reflections_on_the_2012_Quebec_Student_Strike.pdf

 

QUESTIONS :

In Jonathan Sterne’s text, “Quebec’s #casseroles: on participation, percussion and protest”, we see the comparison between the historical tradition of Charivari being compared to the 2012 Quebec student protest. Can we agree that the practice of this historical tradition had an influence during the student protest as an alternative to eliminating violence and to getting a message across to the government?

In Sterne’s Bodies-Streets, various political groups (such as anarchists, student activists, union workers, etc.) act as articulations, and connect to create a temporary whole (here: against Law 78). To what extent can these articulations be considered as a whole?

MEDIA :

It’s Spring Again : Concordia on Strike https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoygZW9gxDo

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