Last night I attended Festival of Lies by Les Studios Kabako from the Democratic Republic of Congo at the Cedar Cultural Center. Go, and be prepared to spend some money on food and drink. It’s delicious.
Their piece raised questions. Here are some:
- When exploring and presenting a heavy work, might it be best to keep the positive life energy flowing with food, drinks, dancing, and interaction. Does depressing subject matter mean depressing experience?
- I exoticise this African performance, why? Is there value in doing that or am I “bad” because of it?
- What am I expecting to do when I go to an art performance?
- We were told this festival of lies is “A piece of Fiction” at the beginning and the end, yet historical leaders of the Congo were quoted throughout. It felt political. What is a lie? As an American artist how can I be political?
And on my bike ride home these questions brought my mind back to my pre-show dinner conversation with some folks headed to the State to see The Hold Steady.
We talked about myth, politics, celebrity, and earnestness in the media and art we consume.
What is the line between fiction and truth? How does drawing and noting that line provide a safety for the artist who is then not a journalist?
And in a world without a clear line between fiction and truth, who controls your identity and the identity of your country?
Bonus link: Quirk – the safe odd space