Sunday, August 19, 2012

About What I Heard About The World

"What I Heard About The World" is a theatre performance and an installation, both devised by the joined forces of Third Angel and Mala Voadora.
This text is about the performance. You can actually see it streaming live two hours from when I'm writing these words, at 4.30PM GMT on this pretty site. (If you're in Edinburgh right now, today is your last chance to see it live at St.Stephen's).
If you've missed it, there is a good review here which describes it quite well. (Total spoiler). I won't. Once you've seen it/read it...

Here is a trip outside of the comfortable framework of a finished universe. Sure, we've heard some of the stories before. Like the donkey in the Gaza zoo which is painted in stripes so it looks like a zebra. (okay, should have had a spoiler alert there).We might know some even crazier anecdotes. But we have some sort of control of them. Actually, a big part of what these last years have been evolving towards is a better control over what we see of the world. Does Facebook really open up our horizons? Or does it narrow down our spectrum to the channels we know? Sure, something can go viral. But most things don't. They remain little bits of the world, completely alien to us, and paradoxically enough, they seem more inaccessible to us then ever. They are not on the customized map. Ergo, they don't exist. The whole process of customizing our experience, which may seem to be enriching it, is making it easier to cope with the excess of information, with a world that is too vast and too diverse - turning it into something we can feel close to.

Well, this, here, is going back to the outrageous presence of everything that is not me.
The title is quite revealing: What I Heard About the World.
I didn't read about it.
I didn't see it as a Facebook status or Twitter link.
I heard it.
Hear-say. One person says something to another person. Remember that? That old analogic thinking? Analogic, as in: palpable. Analogic, as in: coming from analogies, attempts at comparisons. Try to compare what is happening somewhere else on the planet to what is happening to you. Go for the analogy. The donkey in the Gaza zoo represents... How does it compare to anything? What sort of analogy can you make of it? How does your mind cope with difference?

What the performance brings us, is chaos. A world which is not as we would expect. Not as comfortable, easy to empathize with - or easy to judge. It really is a world beyond our comprehension, and that leaves me thinking - how much of my worldview is just about making it easy on myself?
What makes it so poignant is that it's a live performance. These people, there, represent other people. They are unavoidable, they will not disappear, they will not stop shooting until they've finished all the red paint. The liveness means each of these stories becomes a real thing once again. A different thing, a represented thing, but once again - palpable. It gains a human scale. A scale not quite as comfortable as a status update. Not quite as easy to digest. But, in this case, much more fun.

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