Can a petition change the world? It surely can, and not just the virtual world of social networks: signing a petition can signify making the difference between looking at a problem happening, and helping to speed a problem towards a real resolution. All this is possible especially thanks to the speed of inter-connected communication in the social network world.
We all are living at on level of separation from anyone else in the world, and this is a true fact. Though, many times we use the social network in an ineffective and naïve way. For example, when we spend an incredible amount of time gaming, therefore consenting an application the use of our data, and to post on our profiles, with access to our photos, what we are really doing is bartering our personal information in exchange for some entertainment. When we let useless chain messages (the kind that usually ends with “post this if you care about my friendship”), and which are obviously often just metropolitan legends, poorly written, we are doing it on the base of an infantile sense of guilt or morality: really, what we are doing is simply taking part in the great experiment on how to manipulate and influence the opinions of large masses through the network’s capillary action.
But the network is also this, and we all have done it: mindless entertainment, a bit carefree. True, there are some who use social gaming to build corporate relations, but that’s a different story.
Like a colorful marketplace, you can find almost anything in the social network. Variety and all of its nuances and shadings of ideas and concepts are welcome there, under the conditions that the rules of peaceful coexistence of virtual and real neighbours be respected.
But we must remember that beyond that which is virtual, there is also a real world, and this transpares when the network is used intelligently, for the purposes for which it really was projected to exist: to be a place where you can communicate, to be like the Greek Agorà, and a place to showcase and present your professional work, to meet other people in social context, to share information and spread ideas.
In a nutshell, the new concept of reality is a widened concept, but not necessarily a false or negative concept: any tool can help you to complete a task, the difference is how you use it, and why.
My experience with the most beloved social network of all, Mr. Facebook, has been a positive one up to now: There is a world of colleagues in the field of Early and Classical Musica which are there, interconnected, and thatpossess an equal desire to communicate as I do. Therefore our dialogue becomes a lively conversation and it generates often real actions and initiatives.
This is for example what’s happening with the page “Salviamo le Corde di Budello” (Let’s save gut strings), which was born in response to a long-standing problem in the field: the tutelage and protection of the noble art of “corderia”, gut string making . This is the art of manufacturing gut strings for musica instruments, and it is disappearing because the use of bovine gut has been forbidden by the Italian Government, in an attempt to apply European normative regarding the “mad cow disease” problem. Truth is, only organically farmed bovine gut can be effectively used for this craft, and if the gut comes from animals approved for the food industry, it is simply just not clear why we are allowed to eat the meat, but we cannot use the bowels to build strings (something I obviously will not be eating). Is there something someone is not telling us? I wonder. This Facebook page then is a tool with which hopefully we can spread knowledge of a problem not only to the community of music professionals, but also to the wider community of social contacts as well: read, do research, get informed.
Here is the link to this page on Facebook:
An important indicative in favor of democracy that can be found on the page are TWO ON-LINE PETITIONS http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=193621167386761
One is addressed to the Italian Government, the other to the European Union, to ask that artisans and manufacturers can continue to make strings and that this art will be recognized and protected by laws as part of the cultural patrimony of Humanity. As a matter of fact, without this material, manufacturing and purchasing gut strings for musical instruments (especially period instruments) will become economically unsustainable.
Early Music experienced a rebirth after centuries of abandon thanks to the passion and effort of many pioneers of ancient sound and philological studies. It has had the great merit to bring back to the center of the cultural scene a great number of masterpieces which are an immense richness to Humanity. A large part of this corpus of works belongs to Italy, where I live and work as a full time musician and writer.
The world of Early Music is on the move, and the miracle of social networks can be in the strength of the impact between clashing worlds: we are interacting with everyone, the musicologist, the listener, the performer, the grocer next door who loves the Opera, the young people who think it might be cool, the cult movie lovers who adore Farinelli… and so on.
Moreover, we are applying what we inherited form ancient Greece: democracy is to express one’s opinion and vote peacefully.
POWER SIGNING is then the awareness of carrying on a simple action which has a real effect: like signing these petitions. Behind this there are real people. The legislative proposals will have a weight and will stand if they are supported by people expressing their will trough a signature. IDENTITY COUNTS.
So, what are you still waiting for? Get informed. read and sign. A little of your time counts a lot in the matter and it will influence the world of music and culture positively in many ways: the petitions will be brought to Gevernment Offices once they reach proper numbersm and the Offices and Ministries can change the situation and produce laws which will allow artigianal craft to go on, saving it from disappearing.
An here is the hidden parable in this all: to be aware of the real power of free communication and freedom of information: writing empowers us, we can speak. We have the power to share, to interrogate our friends, to inform our contacts, to ask our colleagues, to publish that in which we believe. Watch the impact of numbers! If many sign, the impact on social networks is immediate and exponential, we obtain the attention of governmental organs.
So, we have voted. The world changes, in a small but not necessarily marginal way. What does this change in favour of gut strings mean?
- Laws which allow many professionals to carry on their work, either manufacturing, performing or studying, at sustainable costs and conditions, using good quality materials.
- Tutelage and protection of an art which is a historical heritage speaking for the cultural greatness of a Country.
- Tutelage and protecion of artisan’s craft, manufacturing and small companies which will otherwise be forced to bankrupcy and closing, as has already happened in France and Italy.
- Creating awareness and wider knowledge of the cultural relevance of musica and Early Music at a grassroots level, through the involvement of the great social network.
- Breaking schemes which induce us to think that we cannot modify reality: to act means that we believe we can break out a Matrix.
Musician, poet, writer and voice of Early Music group Silentia Lunae, Maria Lives in Parma, Italy.