Sunday, June 17, 2012

The artist is like a dog

“An old west African proverb compares the artist to a dog. Positioned at the interface of the
human and the natural worlds, the dog in most ancient African societies enjoyed slippery and
highly ambiguous cultural status.
Neither a human being, nor a wild animal, it was nevertheless admitted in the domestic
sphere where it was recognised as man's best friend.
Loyal to a fault, it was committed to its master to the point of helping him hunt wild animals.
This is why it enjoyed special rights.
Because a dog was never happier than when its nose was up another's rear end- the anus,
that sensory button of the world - it also symbolised debasement and degradation.
Just like the dog, the artist also enjoyed special rights, including the right to conduct
forbidden experiments. His task was to translate society to itself”. – Achille Mbembe, Cape
Times, June 5 2012