Monument – Play That Funky Music White Boy is an ongoing project, and the story about a monument without a site.
Initially, the monument itself was made for the exhibition Transvisit at Masnedøe Fort in Vordingborg, Denmark, but the project has since developed as a consequence of storage-problems to become a research of the power-structures created by history-writing, and of the history-writing created by power-structures.
On Men And Monuments
A message is carved in stone. A name, a factor of power, a period in time. A memory of a heroic deed. The Stone is erected, defying gravity, to constitute a visual point of reference in the landscape. The importance of it is decided here and now, and it is predestined to become a bearer of meaning, as far into the future as we can imagine.
What kind of heroes has this obsession with monuments inscribed in history? How many can be honoured in this way, before all land will resemble a gigantic cemetary, in dull and humble gratitude? And now? Right now? Do we know who the heroes are? How do we know that? And who are “we”, that claim to know it?
The erection of the bombastic European monument -in the modernist art-context as well as in a historical and military context- would be touching in all it’s vanity, had it not been that the consequences were so severe.
Modernist sculptures, tomb-stones memorials and statues of men on horseback all contribute to our history-writing, and the fact that they mutually confirm each other -one gender, one colour, one sexual preference, one political standpoint- easily leaves us with the impression that we are faced with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Power structures are created in as high a degree as documented in these blocks of granite and molds of bronze, by promoting one occurence at the cost of all others that are taking place simultaneously.
In the project Monument, two kinds of cultures or monuments are faced with -or overlapping- each other. One one hand, the classic modernist form – the stone; the one we have faith in. The one that will last forever, or, pretty much. The stone is on the other hand carrying the message of another powerful cultural factor; the pop-music, which -contrary to the stone monument- willingly admits itself to it’s flightiness and withdraws from immortality. And yet, pop-music must be said to have marked, if not created, the local and international youth-culture for as long as it has existed. Of youth becomes the people. And the people constitute society.
Play That Funky Music White Boy is a song about the shift from the white, masculine rock’n roll over to the happy, self-ironic and carefree funk- and disco music. With all respect for rock’n roll and it’s impact on cultural history, it still seems that this admittedly ridiculous glittery and fickle suciety of youth had the ability to include more varieties of humanity – both regarding gender and regarding race.
In our history-writing, there is a significant lack of documentation on women, working class, everyday life, immigrants, youth culture, social structures and political minority parties. And so on. From this point of view, Monument can be seen as a tribute to all the things that were never recorded for the future.
Beathe Rönning & Annika Lundgren