Heidi Trautmann

35 - Breaking the Rules at Sidestreets


Again a most memorable event at the Kyrenia Sunday Lunch Art Event of Sidestreets at Onar Village. Actually I have not the right to comment on it, because I was not there but I had been at the same event on another occasion at their place in Nicosia some months before the meeting on our side of the mountains. And I was impressed and why should I not pass on to you  impression in words I have written then.

With their new programme Sidestreets Educational and Cultural Initiatives, Ltd. do meet right down to the proper meaning of the words Cultural Initiatives the expectations they have put up for themselves and promised to the public to deliver.  On November 19, Dr. Johann Pillai gave a performance-lecture on Dada, Surrealist, Concrete, and Phonetic Poetry to explain the development and interactions of language and art. Dr. Johann Pillai explains the lecture with the words: “The twentieth century witnessed the dramatic  breaking of rules in music, art, and architecture and an endless variety of new developments and styles associated with "modernism" and "postmodernism. At the same time, there were exciting new developments in literature, as internationally poets, artists and musicians experimented with new ideas and forms of expression. Some of the most dramatic developments occurred in new and brilliant interdiciplinary forms of poetic expression which broke down the boundaries between writing, image, and music. These works, however, are rarely taught in schools or universities, because they question fundamental ideas of what literature is, and are considered too radical.”


Emin Cizenel’s exhibition in the basement of the Sidestreets building is already one example of breaking the rules, employing unusual means to approach the concept he has in mind. The lecture room on the 2nd floor was full to the last seat, some poets and writers had come,  people of all ages, even a baby of two years was there with its parents.  Johann Pillai is a wonderful speaker and performer, he speaks very well, fluent and well accentuated. He started his lecture and slideshow with images of ancient people who wrote their poems on stone, and he read to us the translation. He then continued to describe the click language of some African tribes and how different positions of the tongue define the tribe.  Sound: click – zish – zzss – krk – language experiments – the poem of a snake, of sound making animals such as a cricket, the sound pieces or letter groups represent the form of that animal, a visual and phonetic image. Johann Pillai reads them aloud with much pathos: chr-kku-lalu-zsh-sssh. A fascinating language experiment back to the roots, many would call nonsense poetry, but it has a serious background. We only listen to the known, our mind cuts out the spaces inbetween, the so-called negative spaces, so we hardly get the whole picture of what is happening. A fitness programme for the brain.





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