Algeria celebrates this year the 50th anniversary of its independence. The celebrations are very discreet in the country, the logo we see on state-run TV channels being their most obvious form. And as usual, anniversaries are there to look back and reflect on the route the country followed, the achievements, the mistakes, the regressions, etc.
Some people, including our rulers, keep saying that 50 years are nothing in a country’s life and that we should be reasonable and not expect too much. Others seem unable to see any thing positive and believe these 50 years have been wasted. I am more nuanced. I think that one must acknowledge the achievements and admit the failures.
I am nuanced but I am demanding at the same time. I do believe that the country could and should have been a lot better, and our rulers have indeed wasted too much time and so many opportunities. I know the people are responsible as well but not as much as those who “govern” us.
This was my opinion before.
I discovered recently Douglas Gordon and his best-known art work 24H Psycho (watch an excerpt here). The artist slowed down Hitchcock’s famous movie and made it last for exactly 24 hours. And this was the revelation to me. I finally understood our rulers’ work, motive and logics.
The Algerian rulers are actually artists who invented the art of time stretching and we, the Algerian people, are all taking part in their performance. And as contemporary art doesn’t care much about beauty, happiness and stuff like this, the rulers chose to make their performance feel ugly, and this is why we are not enjoying it much. These rulers do take this art to its limits because we’re forced to watch (and endure) their art work forever. I don’t think anyone has ever watched more than a few minutes of Gordon’s 24H Psycho.
Now that I know that we’re ruled by artists, I feel better and am readier to accept their mediocrity at governing us and the fact things do not evolve as fast as I wish when they do not go backward that is.
Misunderstood artists deserve not only our support but also our compassion.