It's been a while, but I was waiting for something good to come along and it finally did.
In Art History yesterday, we watched a 30 minute documentary called Couple in a Cage. Artists Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gómez-Peña studied the reactions of the public in the characters of two members of an undiscovered native race, the Guatianaui.
A few things really struck me about this video.
One was that the public seemed to fall for the act put on by Fusco and Pena. Only one or two spectators showed any inclination toward disbelief. Watching the documentary, I tried to put myself in the shoes of the museum-goers, wondering if I would honestly fall for what was obviously a show.
To take it a step farther, it floored me that once people had fallen for the act, they were completely okay with it. Only one viewer showed any concern about the idea of human beings put on display in a cage for others to gawk at.
The "primitives" would tell a story in their native language or do a dance for just $.50, and for $5.00 the male would show his genitals. Total. exploitation. People completely bought into it.
Anyway, I read the piece as a criticism on the willingness of modern culture to exploit what they consider to be "the primitive." For some reason, people find it easy to disconnect the idea of human-being from primitive human-being.
I honestly believe that most of the museum-goers who loved this exhibition would say that putting the Native Americans on display in circuses and such so many years ago was immoral, hardly realizing that they were tested for making the same mistake and failed.
People. never. learn. And it's scary.
Anyway, I couldn't find any good video clips. Or any actually, except for this one. With a small write up by someone who basically felt exactly as I did when watching this.