Charade, oral tradition in the electronic era


Imagine that your most precious book is about to be wiped out. Will you be able to memorize a paragraph, a chapter or the whole text? This is the statement in the call for joining Charade, the last effort by Simon Pope (a member of the historical I/O/D collective). It’s a work-in-progress network of volunteers, who fearing this fatal possibility, want to join together to save the books, movies, music, tv and radio shows’ memory. It’s easy to think back at Fahrenheit 451. Actually both in the Ray Bradbury’s book and in the Truffaut’s movie, we find the ‘bookmen’, a community of refugee individuals in the wood. They succeed to save from oblivion part of their own culture memorizing texts saved from the systematic destruction made by the state. However in Charade the redeeming work becomes a metaphor of the consciousness awakening by those claiming the role of knowledge guardians. For this purpose it happens what can be defined as a technological regression, from the machine back to the individual. It’s being experienced as the end of the intellectual exile of men that gave away the world’s memory to computers. The return to the oral tradition, going through the individual, re-defines durations and methods to access the information. The necessity of clinging online data volatility to the ground (subjected to virtuality and to the continous aberrations made, for example, by crackers) is needed. The core concept is the need to share the knowledge, realized in Charade through the performative public events organized in squares all around the world, where the men / human hard disks recite all their memorized data.

Francesca Tomassini