Ghetto déjà vu / Waiting for Godot
projects for Ghetto Biennale 2011, Haiti by Piroska É. Kiss
Poverty, and the increasingly hopeless segregation of the poor is one of the worst social problems in Hungary, as well, which has been further aggravated by the current economic crisis. Although Hungary has not been afflicted by a catastrophe comparable to the earthquake in Haiti, still, it has been hit by several natural disasters, among them floods, landslides, storms and an extremely serious industrial catastrophe,the burst of the dam of a reservoir of red sludge.
I am deeply committed to the problems of poverty and ghetto life - hence, the program of the 2nd Ghetto Biennale 2011 and my participation in it are immensely important for me.
I submit two projects.
1. Ghetto déjà vu
Hungarian poverty has also created its ghettos, which are mostly inhabited by Gipsies. Although, as far as I know, Haitian poverty surpasses that attested in our ghettos, I assume that the atmosphere of hopelessness, the people living there, the objects created by them, and the art emerging there are very similar. My project involves a series of photos showing the similarities, matching situations, scenes, moments (a ghetto child, woman, man, a ghetto dog, cat, a ghetto vehicle, a ghetto street, house, courtyard, garbage, ghetto crime, hunger, dependence, disease, ghetto community, neighbourhood, love, game, ghetto music, dance, graffiti).
The process of realizing the project: I send a Hungarian ghetto photo to a Haitian colleague, who looks for the equivalent of my picture in Port-au-Prince, then he/she sends me a ghetto photo, whose equivalent I will find in Budapest. We would continue this coupling of pictures until the beginning of the Biennale, so that the pictures can be exhibited during the Biennale on the wall of a house.
So as to realize my plan, I would have to establish contacts with an artist living in Port-au-Prince that is interested in the project and is willing to collaborate with me. I would need your help in finding him/her.
2. Waiting for Godot
In every age and in every situation, Beckett’s play, Waiting for Godot, is about the problems and the mental state of the given community. The first performance of Waiting for Godot in which I worked in Hungary in the nineteen seventies reflected the shared experience of desperation for both the artists and the spectators. If we participate in a theatre performance that deeply affects our common and personal lives then there is a good change of catharsis arising, which is one of the most moving community experiences.
I cannot think of a more authentic site for Godot than the ghetto, and nobody can better understand Godot as the ghetto inhabitants.
My project is creating a performance of Waiting for Godot in Port-au Prince, performed by the inhabitants of the ghetto, in ghetto environments. It must be wonderful when the tree botched from ghetto garbage grows leaves by the 2nd act!
I envision the creation of the performance in the following way: The performance takes place in the ghetto, at a site that is busy but is still appropriate for rehearsals, hopefully amongst the attention of the inhabitants. The prompter gives the text to the amateur actors sentence by sentence. The „object of exhibition” at the 2nd Ghetto Biennale 2011 is, on the one hand, the play performed during the Biennale, and, on the other hand, the film shot about the creative process, the performance, the actors, and the reaction of the ghetto audience.
Incidentally, if the project is realized, it might yield a film that can be sold to televisions, and the investment of a sponsor might bring some revenue.