Pavel Novotný: Havarijní řád
Pavel Novotný’s radiophonic composition Emergency Rules follows up on his previous radio work. The work is an audio version of the collection of poetry with the same name, soon to be released by Protimluv Publishers. The texts are based on a stream of human speech – collected words, stories, fragments of speech, or repetition. They reflect a fascination with the fact that each individual is enclosed in an endless circle of his own words: sooner or later, he begins where he began, and he has no chance of stepping out of himself.
“I began collecting people’s speeches many years ago, and continue to do so to this day. Collecting can be done by carefully listening, writing down, or recording what one hears; you can also collect yourself or even be collected. The recorded words can be processed as recordings or as texts, they can be used in their original form or can be changed, added to, reformulated, edited down to their prime factors, prepared, transformed into sayings or incantations, layered, turned inside-out, forgotten, erased and reconstructed, and on and on. The space between the original record and the final product is extremely wide.
I have recited many of the texts from Emergency Rules at my readings; they are directly intended for being read out loud. They were created on the basis of linguistic collection and observations, or even from random monologues. Their common denominator is a tendency towards linguistic repetition, rhythmic cycles, or chains of nonsense, hopelessly enclosed in a bubble of speech. Some of the texts resemble songs or bound poetry and are organized according to various rules. Others branch and spread out at will.
For this audio composition, I decided to combine two basic audio sources: a studio recording of selected texts from Emergency Rules and outdoor recordings of sounds. The studio material was edited, and I worked with the fragments within the composition so that the individual speeches emerge and disappear again. I have consciously tried not to clearly distinguish between the various voices (i.e., texts): I spoke them all myself, meaning that they are all one voice and speech, but each is at the same time all the others. I leave it up to the listener to identify them by motifs, refrains, sequences of words, or perhaps by related sounds. And if he feels like he is fumbling in the dark, that is absolutely alright.
The mixed outdoor sounds play the role of segues and rhythmic audio sequences. Sometimes they even form an acoustic foundation for the recorded text. While recording and processing the sounds, I tried to create a simple compositional register – a kind of parallel language in which (unlike in the earlier literary approach) there is no human voice. Put simply: I needed the busy environment of civilization, but it had to be a place in which nobody speaks, in which we do not hear even the voices of pedestrians, train station announcements, or street musicians. I recorded the kinds of places and situations where people silently create the sounds of civilization or are made silent by its sounds – examples include jackhammers or trains. Into this environment, I subsequently implanted my literary studio recording, my “multiperspective lyrical self”. In short: I arranged it all as I saw fit."