The Artiste, His art and His audience!
MysELF: Bro, after the show last night, I realized that I have actually missed performing in
theatres, before formal audience.
ME: Yeah, I know you've always wanted to perform before those who are only interested in
using your performance to upgrade their hierarchy as 'high audience' now that they consider
you as 'high artiste'
MysELF: ...you see you will never cease to amaze me with your presumptions, what gives you the impression that those coming to the theatre are only interested in intellectual masturbation.
ME: Have i said that?
MysELF: the fact that we have ventured into non-conventional space performances should not nullify the existence of the beauty that still surrounds the conventional four walls of the theatre.
ME: I guess you are not suggesting a pursuit of beauty in art?
MysELF: I don't think 'beauty' is the right word.
ME: but you just used it...
MysELF: lol, yes beauty for me means 'not ugly' because what we strive for in our art is what is honest, what's natural, what's sometimes organic to an extreme or sometimes inorganic to an extreme, that it moves us.
ME: Have you ever questioned what we have to offer our audience, when they come to see
us in the theatre.
MysELF: what do you mean?
ME: ...is it about beauty? Is that what they lack through their addiction to the garbage of the
MysELF: NO. That’s not what they lack, even though their notion of beauty has been
fundamentally tainted by the media and other dictionary meanings.
ME: so why are we so pretentious with our attempt to bring life into those artificial walls we
MysELF: No, cool down bro, for me there is no question about beauty in life, beauty in art or
beauty in existence, when our audience experiences a performance that is entirely what it is - then they might be brought back to the natural order of things that is not trying to be beautiful.
ME: yeah, 'natural order of things' you begin to touch the essential now, because I am
persuaded that there is no way nature can be (re)produced in a formal setting, otherwise, how come we lose our audience when things slow down and become a little more like nature?
MysELF: but bros, this is connected to the state of the world now, and the destruction of
nature. It’s impatient with things that create boredom.
ME: Exactly my point, how we artists begin to feel subjected to the pressure of what viewers
feel is beautiful or exciting that it forces us to respond to their utilitarian need from art. On the converse, I think a good art should be capable of showing to his audience 'what is not beautiful'
MysELF: Now as a dancer, how do you put that together; is it something that lacks perfection
and sophistication, or that is crassly money-making?
MysELF: ...it's not that our audiences have no more channels or ability to perceive and experience pure art. They are ready, in the same way that we are ready to experiment with what is captivating and real and engaging.
ME: well... I just think there is a fundamental deficiency associated with those theatre walls, there is something very artificial about It, not to talk of the politics and the bureaucracy of the
determiners of what is a good or a bad show.
MysELF: so, are all of these about your strong believe in public space performances over pieces created for the theatre space?
ME: Bro, I know that you know that we both know that, non-conventional spaces are where things still exist in their natural habitat, unaffected with filthy political games and after-effects.
MysELF: Inasmuch as I might want to agree with you, but again and again it strikes me that our purpose cannot be exclusively fulfilled by performing solely in public spaces, the economy of our art will lack if...
ME: ...oh, now I see, you are selling out.
MysELF: Hahahaha... there you go again.
ME: Since when did you began to consider the commercial significance of our art, so I was right when I opposed the making of books out of our projects, all your ideas these days seek to exclude the basic right of the common man.
MysELF: ok you have started again......Mr. Common man, so what will it be if not books,
Internet? It all depends on their level of interest bro.
ME: See you, interest? Ok now it’s your turn to make me laugh, how do you create interest
MysELF: I mean those who are interested.
ME: bro, there is nothing like interested, are we interested in seeing all those bill boards and
adverts we are bombarded with everyday.
MysELF: well, there are lots of people who don’t see it...
ME: bill boards? Are they blind? hahahaha.
MysELF: Mad man.
ME: Well, TV or YouTube or facebook, for me they are of the new media I’m talking about and it is just to tell you that I think we need to start focusing on alternative measures in all the routes that leads to the meeting point with our audience.
MysELF: what I am saying is that, what we are doing will be taking the interest of those who
could be interested in such things, but who do not have access to it due to class difference and other fundamental differences... but to convert people's interest is really a hard thing to do... that’s what I learnt with our public space performances.
ME: No, I disagree.
MysELF: well it is normal that you disagree to agree, just let me say this...
ME: how do they even know if they are interested?
ME: how do those guys that saw our performance for the first time know they are interested in this kind of dance? Bro have u forgotten 'seeing is believing'
MysELF: well, the truth is that we can never tell who is interested in what, but wait let me say
ME: ...then, that is not my preoccupation, when we go out on the street, I’m interested In being
in a particular space at a particular time, for sure people will gather and watch. Most of them had no idea what they were watching.
MysELF: Yes, but see...
ME: ...I'm not trying to do something to or for them; I’m just there. Opening up the organic and
expressive side of a particular dance to the audiences is what I am concerned with. People
actually can experience the beauty, the realness, and the truth of the nature of dance in
whatever form it comes...
MysELF: you are bombarding me!!!!!!,
ME: not to start searching who is interested or not...
MysELF: let me talk!!!!!!!!!!! Or how many exclamation marks should I put before you realise
that you are bombarding me.
ME: lwkmd, hahahahaha
MysELF: Nonsense! We are saying the same thing!!!!!!! Can I talk s'il vous plait?
ME: talk Mumu!!!
MysELF: lol, see, after setting up our gadget; cameras, laptop, sound system and so on, to perform in some poor neighborhoods, I heard with my own ears some people saying, "instead of building infrastructures, and giving money for food, you people are wasting all the money in these things"....
ME: hmm, they may be right...
MysELF: Yes, but also those saying that do not understand that we have not come to build
bridges or give money for food... otherwise that money would have been in our account while
we also eat and buy things with it... Just like their governments.
ME: They didn’t even understand that we used most part of our personal money for those
MysELF: but there were others who saw it for what it was... they were interested even though
they know that the roads have not been rebuilt or people are dying of hunger, they did not
compare the two situations as such...
ME: exactly, the same reaction we get from the those audience, who are always in search of
narratives In contemporary dance, always in search of that utilitarian purpose in art, but as I
always tell them, 'you will never understand art until you understand that some art cannot be
understood but appreciated or not'
MysELF: so what I am saying in essence, is that no matter what we do, there are those who will not be interested because they don’t think it will benefit them, even in that common man
ME: Especially the common man,
ME: but bros we are talking about how to get it to their face, those guys who talk about hunger and infrastructure are not who we are out there for, we address a crowd and any out there who understands our language, who are open to new languages and mode of expressions, those are the ones we are talking to, and those are the ones we need to take with us
MysELF: Good!!! So you see, you are not the one converting their interest, they either have this interest or not.
ME: it's just that we don’t know, they don’t know, because they have not seen, even those who are going to be "interested" they need to mature into that level of interest that will make them dip their hands into their pocket to come see us at the theatre or buy our catalogues, if they so wish, those are the guys we need to take with us.
MysELF: yes for sure... but the basics is that you did not convert them... when we say we want
to increase the public, it does not mean that we can get everyone on the boat, it means we are looking for those who share the same interest with us, but we do not know them...
ME: yes I have said that too, be YoursELF and stop repeating ME. Shit.
ME: and we will only increase such "interest" by making it better accessible,
MysELF: not by coming down to their level in our works.
ME: but coming to their level in the path that leads to such realisation, so making a book I think is too secondary. That is why the mode of diffusion is more important than the content of creation in this strategy.
MysELF: Exactly... but bro, making a book can be important in terms of preservation of the
ME: Well yes, but if we look deep down we will see that we are still following a tradition laid by the west.
MysELF: whether we like it or not, if we will have to teach the young artists really about what
art is in Africa, in our own terms, we will have to rely on our own preserved literatures, our
books, our documents, and how do you preserve that?
ME: Sincerely I think the new media is the best way and better accessible
MysELF: Ok that is an argument for another day.
The texts in this dialogue are partly inspired by real life characters, research based, online
chatting or a real life conversation.
ME and MYsELF is a series of soliloquy brought to you by the collective consortium of "MY
The MST refuse to be responsible for any damage or whatsoever injury caused by the content of this dialogue.