Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Duality of the Shout

This is part of a statue in Turin's University district. Now for preference, I don't bother with iron sculptures. I feel they are clunky and often out of keeping with their environment - then they rust and look dreadful! But this one made me stop to have a look. In in this case I didn't feel impelled to melt it down to make something more useful. What is symbolic about the figure - man, hands, mouth or shout?  In this shot he does look like he's made from Lego pieces. So there are overtones of construction and, by the same token, deconstruction. Let's go for shout, because it's unusual for a symbol. A shout has some kind of formal association (often unwelcome) in all traditions. There's the Town Crier in England and Night Criers and Night Whistlers in France. The Greeks and Trojans gave shouts of halala as they charged into battle. For Romans it was the clamour!  But in the Koran the shout is all about disaster, perhaps a whirlwind to punish the unjust. As is the way with symbols, the opposite can apply. In the procession along the Sacred Way from Athens to Eleusis, shouts of celebration accompany the Hiera (holy mysteries).  One god in particular, Iacchos, personified the shout. In this case, his association with Demeter means fecundity, love and life. When a new born baby is born what's the first thing it does? A lot of shouting!