Conférence de Presse/ press conference
“The elevator music of politics” by António M. Feijó
Conferência de Imprensa spotlights a form of contemporary public discourse that, given the nature of the noise it generates, has become almost ubiquitous. This kind of discourse is strongly formulaic and discloses an inability to think consecutively for more than a few seconds – indeed, when it thinks, it is only about how to avoid the hurdles it inadvertently creates for itself as it proceeds: there are instances of great virtuosity in this kind of evasive action. The formulas it employs become slightly comic over time, spitefully imitated by their receivers and zealously reproduced by those in the process of learning this particular form of persuasive art. Alvaro García de Zúñiga’s play focuses on this elevator music of politics, on the lethal ends so often disguised by discursive pinchbeck. The author’s subtlety locates many of these sets of words in harmless, even apparently jovial situations, as when actors comment on the fun atmosphere in which the film they are promoting was shot, on how so-and-so, in spite of the fame that precedes him, proved on the set a most open, even gentle personality. It is quite advantageous to amplify ad nauseam this kind of discourse, thus killing it through exhaustion, but Zúñiga has further targets to hit, and the play gains amplitude in the grotesque geopolitical pseudo-plot that ensues. The objective, nonetheless, remains the same: those forms of public persuasion, those incessant statements which reveal what Lautréamont aptly described as “an enormous amount of null importance”. Yet, the fact that all this is executed with wonderful comic verve leaves us in the peculiar situation of wanting to hear more, as opposed to what actually happens when we have to withstand the flow of this relentless noise.