Denunciation and Political Commitment
by Murali Cheeroth
Murali Cheeroth, noted painter, performance and video artist picks out one of his videos titled ‘An Old Story’ and analyses its content only to say that with an unknown future before us, only politically committed art forms would take us forward, otherwise in a fast turning fascist society, human beings will be left hopeless and anchorless.
Behind every work of art there should be a reflection of the social and cultural space and the experience evolved through that or even better evolved out of that. In my opinion, this is one reason why the contemporary art has largely replaced the modern art in the public consciousness. In this work I make an attempt to look back at my past political life, which can be termed as the historic self search of an activist who is somewhat giving in to the stillness, stagnancy and inaction of the present urban life in which he finds himself. What I want to search in the poetry of Martin Niemöller is the question that I have to ask to myself, because we are passing through an era that is more or less similar to the Nazi period, and I feel that the importance of this poetry still exists in our society. Or in other words, somewhere we keep an affinity towards the Nazi bend of mind.
In this poem, a person addresses himself and reveals the nefarious attitude that he has been inculcating while living in a cruel and ideological society. He denounced everyone, the communists, the Christians, the Jews and everyone. But finally the Nazis came in search of him and at that time there was nobody left to be denounced by him.
Our cultural space is moving towards Fascism and everywhere we see various types of moral policing, corruption, racism, human rights violation, and, sadly enough, individuals as well as organizations follow the same path. But how do we respond to these human and cultural violations of our times? Even if we respond, what is the scale of it? In this age of social media and networking platforms, our responses become more of virtual than real, thus losing its spirit. Now, our responses are confined to a group mail or a Facebook message. And this work is a self-introspection and reflection of that situation only.
No one knows better about what we know about our future and the tabulations that we undergo while writing every single line, because it is beyond the gamut of knowledge of anyone else around us. Only we know what all we do not like about the present and why it is so. That is why all manifestos are best at denunciation. And, as for future, only we have certainty that what we do will have unintended consequences.
Here comes the question as to whose contemporary are we, and what is meant by the connotation of this ‘whose’ and ‘what’? What I want to read through my works is the social and political rejection, which has been prevalent here since long. It is more like a dialogue, a conversation. Hence, I have adopted an archaic style of animation in this work so that it would not stand up and immediately declare one’s intend.