The Advance of Sound
- on Planinšak the Phantom

In Planinšak the Phantom, Damir Bartol Indoš and Tanja Vrvilo, a hypnothically passionate duo, along with Vilim Matula's significant performative calmness and sovereign voice stand in opposition to a dance piece named Denuded. One can become denuded in many ways that have nothing to do with layers of clothes that one wears. Planinšak the Phantom is a true three-headed phantom hero fighting against all forms of closedness and apathy, or a performance about a unique apparition of Stjepan Planinšak, an assassin from Zagreb and humble law student who shot at the Ban Cuvaj in 1912 thus not only disturbing the impenetrable political silence of Zagreb St Marc's Square (the location of the Croatian Government) but also committing suicide on the spot. Therefore, we are faced with simultaneous withering away of the State and self-reduction in the same act, opera-like music to celebrate the glory of rebels, live acoustic performance that slowly progresses into a hymn dedicated to the freedom of anomaly played on famous Indoš’s schachtophons (metal waste of technological age set in special sound effects). Philosophically speaking, this performance is about the voice we can no longer hear, but also the voice that is so strong that we hear it as a kind of permanent repercussion or continuous ultra-frequency. That is why there is no hierarchy of sounds on stage. The noise intertwined with singing and different forms of strengthened verbal calls, biographical quotations on Stjepan Planinšak mixed with the list of obligatory subjects that students of law had to pass in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1912 (the programme book is designed as a student’s transcript), broken words clash with clinking pipes in a rhythmical swing where electric and acoustic guitars follow the thumbing on the newly-built tin instruments – all make an enigmatic story about the disappearance of an object from our homes and ambiguity of facts combined with noises from a microphone and a megaphone. Handmade objects function both as voice enhancers and modulators, where the sound during the performance gains in the quality of physical presence in the performative space. The sound recalls not only the body of the one-time political terrorist but also the zone of experimental capture of a public space by means of bodies that think and sing against the usual acquiescence and docility. Indoš, Vrvilo and Matula make an excellent performative triad and the first line of opera-like thickness that dissolves all critical boundaries of sonority. It is important to mention Ivan Bilosnić Bic playing the guitar and Nino Prišut playing the bass. In that sense, Planinšak the Phantom is so far the most comprehensive piece in the performative cycle dedicated to Croatian assassins. Its audio score might be noted down and performed as a compositional bravura of experimental music. And then, what makes this performance lies in its performers’ palpable lively and artistic integrity where they are at the same time irreplaceable and unrepeatable, just as Stjepan Planinšak was.

Nataša GOVEDIĆ