Fotograf Magazine

Groupe Guma Guar

War on Music (After ISIS), 2015

Over the past decade, Groupe Guma Guar has pushed Czech engagé art towards more radical strategies of cultural and political activism. After a break of some years, during which its members pursued solo activities, Guma Guar has now announced a re-launch of the group. Their first venture is a project for Fotograf magazine. Here GGG paraphrases the photographs of the burning of Western drum kits by the Libyan branch of Islamic State. The commemoration of ideologically motivated and ritually executed “silencing” of non-Islamic musical instruments in an issue dedicated to Western music alludes to the expansive nature of contemporary popular culture. Its renunciation is by default also one of the cultural values it carries secondarily. Yet it is by no means accidental that the image of burning musical instruments evokes other images lodged within our cultural memory: the images of rock concerts where the destruction of musical instruments became the signifier for expressing frustration or rage, over time itself becoming a clichéd stock gesture, adopted by show business as a token image towards rock ’n’ roll rebellion.

Jiří Ptáček