Dear Salmo, an artist does not break the rules for the sake of breaking them

Dear Salmo, an artist does not break the rules for the sake of breaking them

Dear Salmo

The Sardinian rapper insists on the rebellious nature of the artist. But creativity challenges his grammars and his canons, not public health. If you violate the rules you are not an artist: you are an ordinary citizen who assumes his responsibilities

(photo: Bruno Brizzi / Pacific Press / LightRocket via Getty Images) “You cannot call yourself an artist if you don't break the rules”. The essence of the Salmo concert last Friday in Olbia, an event disguised and kept under track and ultimately carried out outside any health measure dedicated to this type of show, is all here. Net of responsibilities, of the investigation opened by the Tempio Pausania prosecutor, from the distinctions of the region and other local authorities, Maurizio Pisciottu has returned to shift attention to that point with a series of stories on Instagram in which he tried to explain the reasons for that operation a little better.

The Sardinian singer's thesis is the following: the rules imposed by the state for concerts are "pathetic" and "ridiculous", it is not possible that they apply to live and then "outside the enclosure" everyone does whatever he wants, the conditions under the stage or in a crowded street of a tourist resort do not change much. So, with a gesture of artistic disobedience, he decided to do something that would break them. Not only that: the idea is that the other artists should have done it too. "You risk every now and then in life, fight for something" says Salmo, basically directed to the vast majority of colleagues who criticized him fiercely, above all to Fedez who is defined as an "excellent politician". The confrontation promises to last a long time, but that's not what we're interested in.

Let's try to follow for a moment the heart of Psalm's reflection, because it is precisely there that the highest level of contradiction and an enormous underlying misunderstanding lurks. Should art break the rules? Not necessarily: in all living arts there are excellent artists who are certainly not innovative but talented and able to define themselves as such. But it is certain that when there was a rupture, an infringement of what was established (we only think of the en plein air painting of the Impressionists or the cubist deconstruction of space to stay on painting, or the rebel "boppers" in New York jazz of the 1950s) the artistic movements experienced an acceleration, redesigned canons and grammars, changed directions and expressive possibilities. This, in art, means violating the rules: it is right even if not essential for professional artistic practice, even inherent in expressive research. But it has nothing to do with the anti-contagion measures established by the Ministry of Health of a democratic republic in the midst of a pandemic that has caused 128 thousand official deaths and who knows how many extinguished in the shadows.

In short, dear Salmo , art should certainly break the rules if it finds a poetic to do so. But those of art itself, renewing its patterns and moving within the creative perimeter.

This obviously does not mean that artists cannot also be activists or simply committed to this or that cause, shareable or not, like any citizen. And for this reason, perhaps even choosing to violate the rules to reaffirm their positions and opinions (assuming responsibility for them). Regardless of whether they sing, dance, play, paint or sculpt. Or don't do any of this. They are people with a position that artists do by profession. And maybe they enjoy an important popularity and prominence. But it's not that if you don't put contagion at risk - as far as your sphere is concerned - a few thousand people you're not an artist. Because the rules that art must violate are its own, not those that a community - including yours - has given itself to try to contain the consequences of a health emergency without locking us in the house again for a few months. Therefore, precisely in order to relaunch the performances, including those of the Olbia rapper.

Different discourse when art is prohibited, as happens and has happened in the most ferocious regimes, for ideological or political reasons. We already have new, sad examples in Afghanistan, for example in Russia, without even having to bother China. In that case, creativity can and perhaps must assume a role of systematic disobedience, often gathering around itself movements of opposition, emancipation or liberation. In that case the rules to be broken can mix: no one remembers Pussy Riot for their songs but for the way in which the performances linked to those songs have challenged and broken the rules of a rigid democracy like Putin's.

All this, however, does not concern Psalm. In no way. Fortunately, this does not concern Italy in 2021, which is trying to save goats and cabbages, health and the economy, in a pandemic. Despite all the problems, the abuses of emergency decree that we have experienced in recent months, the contradictions and yes, even the application of grotesque and essentially useless rules, poorly written and respected by few. The counter-proof? If he had wanted, Salmo could have organized a concert, as many of his colleagues have been doing around the country for months now. But the rules, he explains in his stories about him, "don't like them", the seated audience doesn't like him, and therefore he made his way. However, by trying - this is the problem - to assign artistic value to a long series of violations that, as we have already said, do not make a fuss with art. And that they did not even have a reason for being in a political and contesting key, because Italy is a democratic republic, freedom of expression is guaranteed and various associations worked for months to agree on the rules for resuming live shows. .

Whether or not Salmo is an artistically revolutionary artist is not up to us to say, we will see if the history of music will remember him for reasons other than the success with the public or the audience on Spotify. He has certainly confused the rules to be violated: it is not caring about those on infections that one can or cannot define oneself as an artist.

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