From the birth of national anthems in modernity and construction within the past century, the Beethoven myth, diverse types of political families -even antagonistic- since the French Republic to the Nazis in the context of the First World War, the Chinese communists and the racist Rhodesia of apartheid, all have used the end of the “Ninth” as some kind of empty container capable of supporting any ideological argument. The “Ninth Symphony” was composed in 1824, influenced by the ideals from the French Revolution, as the piece of music that embodies Europe’s enlightened thought, ever since then, it has been the composition with most political influence in the West, up to the point that the version directed by Herbert von Karajan, from the Nazi party, was designated as Europe’s official anthem. In the twentieth century, the story of “Ode to Joy” is at the same time the history of the control of the masses and the power of the ideological art, and becomes one of the most symbolic tools of propaganda, advertising and the colonization processes in the unfolding of globalization. In “Common Place”, a megaphone located in the desert of Lima, evokes the song Ode of Joy. As the camera moves further away, the sound fades away and we are left with the silence of the desert.
Lima is built on a desert, which is witness to the changes that have occurred within the city and its inhabitants throughout the years. The slopes of the hills, of which several functioned as ceremonial sites during the pre-Columbian period, have been inhabited by immigrants that travelled to the capital driven by an idea of progress. This lead the city to experience a voracious growth. But the desert is also raw material; for example, the sand used in constructions, due to the recent real estate boom, is extracted from there. Therefore, the desert acquires the form of a promise. In a single element, it has, for us, an enormous poetic and historic meaning, and at the same time, I alluded to its contemporary uses, which also allowed to create tension between the megaphone (the melody) and the desert (silent). The silence contained within the desert contrasts with the melody emitted at full volume by the megaphone; however, the silence begins to be more present as the camera moves further away, which allows us to perceive the sounds of the surroundings – the ones that ultimately prevail. The desert is the “common place” where we see ourselves reflected and from which we see this promise vanish.