In an age of massive migration, national tensions, censorship, post-truth, and propaganda it is hard to distinguish between reality and misinformation and also to connect with people who are different from us.
One of the tools of modern propaganda is to create contradictory sorties to confuse people so they will feel like there is no one truth or it can’t be founded. We also live in a nationalism-driven era, in which many people are pushed to believe the “other” is very different from us, and often this “other” is dehumanized, demonized, and portrayed as an enemy by government states and its media. This affects not the only attitude towards different nationalities but also minorities. In times like this, the space for safe, open, and truthful discussion between people with different national and cultural backgrounds and identities is critically important. As Yoav Noah Harari said: “When you no longer think that dialog is possible, and you don’t want to hear another person's story, the only thing you can do is fight”. So to avoid fighting we need to speak openly with each other. The goal of this performance is a creation of a space in which open, safe and honest discussion is possible.
This performance is called «Правда» and it is a Russian word for the truth. But in Russian there are two different words for truth, they separate subjective and objective ones. Subjective truth – «Правда», objective — «Истина». What is subjective truth? It is our beliefs, experiences, ideas, and attitudes. But sharing this openly, especially with a stranger, might seems like not the best idea and even dangerous. But this only way to build trust and understanding and inclusion of a real (not imaginary) image of “other” in our worldview.
The mechanics are very simple. In a public space, there are two chairs one in front of the other. In the first one, there is an artist second is open for participants. When a person takes a seat they promise to tell only the truth and the artist gives the same promise.
Dialog start with a participant question then after the artist answers it, it is his turn. There are three questions for every participant as well as for an artist. After three rounds, the artist leaves the chair, so his place is available for the public to participate. So strangers can rotate and speak with each other. There are no limits to questions topics, no matter how provoking or personal they are. This performance has two forms, private and public. In a public form, guests can experience those dialogs and participate. In a private, there are no spectators. Only two people talking. If there are different language speakers in this perforce there is a translator to help make communication possible.
This work is created to facilitate trust, understanding, and exploration of other. And to create a chance to hear the personal truth and stories and serve as a tool of unification.
Maxim IMANOU Fadeev (c)