This Giant Megaphone will Broadcast Stories from Dallas' Latino Community

A while back we told you about Oil and Cotton's class, "Believing Your Own Hype: Manifesto Writing for Not Necessarily Angry Individuals," and broke down the types of people who could benefit from taking that class. Apparently you paid attention because instructor Joe Milazzo had a full class of students who wrote their own personal manifestos and belted them out via megaphone to anybody willing to listen.

Those brave souls bearing the megaphone as well as curious passersby can thank Slovakian artist Oto Hudec for inspiring Milazzo and Oil and Cotton to offer the class. Or perhaps they should thank the giant megaphone he is in the process of building, whose destination upon completion is a yet-to-be-determined park in downtown Dallas (it's been narrowed down to two).

Hudec is residing at Dallas' CentralTrak for two months this summer to complete his MAP 2013 project (Make Art with Purpose), "Instrument for Listening." MAP 2013, founded by Janeil Engelstad, is a festival and exhibition of projects that restore and preserve the environment, promote social justice and advance human knowledge and well-being. It all goes down this fall during the months of October and November and this amplified sculpture will be a part of it.

Hudec's "Instrument for Listening" is targeted to address immigration by giving a voice to a Dallas' Latino community, mostly culled out of Oak Cliff. Those contributed stories will be gathered, then projected through the oversized 8'X13' megaphone. Think of it as an audio-documentary broadcast via a mash-up of rural and traditional arts and crafts combined with modern sculpture and technology.

Hudec has already built the three main components of the giant megaphone: the handle, the microphone and the large conical-shaped speaker. Next week he'll load it all up in a trailer and and meet 12 eighth graders who will help him create and paint a decorative pattern of pictograms along its exterior. The patterns are meant to mimic traditional fabric patterns, but Hudec feels the students will be able to relate to the images too, since these traditional fabric patterns, which are found in the woven baskets of the Africa and the Amazon, are grid-based, much like 8-bit computer graphics.

To Hudec, this giant megaphone isn't symbolic of demonstrations or protests, rather it's a representation of an amplified voice. Through it, we'll hear people telling their personal, rather than political, stories.

The opening will be in October, and Hudec hopes to have a microphone on hand so anybody can come up and tell their own stories through the "Instrument for Listening" between recordings.

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