The purpose of music is to express and create feelings, to transmit ideas and a certain conception of the world, which is why, over the course of the history of thought, several approaches have been made to this cultural expression, in an effort to study its role in society and education, the reason behind its effects, its power, and its origins. But the music phenomenon should not interest us solely as culture in the most restricted sense of heritage,
but also as a dynamic element acting as an integral part of people's social lives and shaping them at the same time, for music engages a thousand socially-related mechanisms: it is deeply embedded in human collectiveness; it receives multiple environmental stimuli and creates, in turn, new relationships between people. Nowadays, music ought to be considered a fundamental communicative and expressive practice, familiar to every individual, and habitual in every culture, a practice that, far from being exclusive to a social class, belongs to the everyday life of all members of our society, and, especially, young people.
Sociologically speaking, music can only be captured at the moment in which the artist-listener relation is exposed, when the piece of music calls out, provoking a transcendental moment of maximum identification that is only manifested in all its possibilities
through live music. The concert is a metaphor for the climax of this relationship that turns almost mimetic: the idol imitates his audience and the audience its idol, creating an unquestionably
magical dialogue between the two roles that ends up giving rise to identification. The most interesting aspect of the mimesis in live music lies in its capacity to generate identification and to diminish the distance between the two roles. Their relationship is conceived in the language of extreme reciprocity, which leads to “giving” oneself over, to ultimately renouncing individuality. In his dimension as mediator, the idol blends into his public, and vice versa, succeeding in becoming a part—even bodily—of a greater whole.
It is this momentary disappearance of the idol and his fan as individual categories in order to give way to a single collective medium that Hedi Slimane pursues with his photographic camera.
And this was what, after accepting the invitation of MUSAC, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, and Maraworld, the company promoting the Benicàssim International Festival, he tirelessly pursued in the summer of 2007 during the three days of the event. The result is not merely an exhibition project that perfectly represents this instant of communion, but also this publication, Rock Diary, which the artist has prepared with extreme care, and which puts into context nearly a decade of bonding between music fan and idol, the true essence of live music.
Rafael Doctor Roncero
(© 2008 MUSAC, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Castilla y León, León ;
JRP|Ringier Kunstverlag AG, Zurich ; artist and author)