Poesie Eugrughe by Francesco & Pietro Michi

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Francesco Michi & Pietro Michi | Poesie Eugrughe
Canti Magnetici (CS/DL/BK)

In this edition of forty, the Firenze-based duo named Michi (father and son, Francesco Michi & Pietro Michi) have delivered a half-hour long piece of intensive minimalism based on installation work originally presented in 1992. Poesie Eugrughe deals with the non/existence of virtual populations in different places at varying times, and is studded by completely muted, muffled voices and field recordings of birds. By arranging these elements he dubbed the formation of the people involved as the Eugrughi Population, a supposed (constructed) sect of people. Of course this came long before social media, but is a prophetic look ahead. These voices, or semblances thereof, and hints of communication from a lost civilization and was originally presented as a continuous sound-loop. As a conceptual construct this is fascinating, as a piece of minimal sound work it’s a cross between performance art (Vito Acconci), the anything-can-happen sense of Fluxus and a hint of John Cage stoic silence.

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Eugrughi (probably from Greek eu = good and Russian Drug=friend)

There is so little here, it’s a mutated and reclusive existence. More erasure than exposure. Of course, as I listen I’m lost in what would likely work best within an installation context, where the viewer might experience these sudden voices as disturbance within a contained, unfamiliar space, rather than how an in-situ experience translates in my office. The murmurs are pure musique concrète. As far as poetry is concerned it’s in a broken, exquisite corpse form that may only be pieced together by those speaking this disparate language (that of the “Eugrughian Poets” of course). To attempt clarifying the obtuse sparse scape they offer: “Eugrugian poets perform in small woods, at night: they hide from sight and at a very low volume they recite, all together, each one in a different point of the space, their poems. Sophisticated techniques help Eugrugian poets to obtain complex and dense sounds from their language. In the morning, the sounds of the day prevail on their songs and so the recitals end in a natural way.”

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This is one for the archives. While I love to indulge in the hypothetical, in conceptualism in and of itself, how else does an artist dream(?), and further revel in the cryptic nature of the most indulgent minimalism, I find myself disconnected from the original source material. Being a ‘maker’ myself I’m begging for some physical construct, something that puts me in place – but I only got the word ‘body’ and some ultra sparse puffs of air, a few giggles and slight thuds. This is an excruciatingly complex listen that these ears require a physical setting to complete the picture. Perhaps that’s the rub, the tension? The larger question this poses, of course, is where are you in the universe right now?

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