Tessa Mayes is a London-based journalist, author and filmmaker. e: email@example.com
At the north end of the art fair there were several posters promoting the Save The Arts campaign in response to the proposed cuts in government arts funding. This was the political wing of the fair. Nearby were the works displayed by The Regina gallery in Moscow and London. These included a painting about gangsters showing a guy lying down with an erect penis with a head saying ‘Russia’ and wearing a cap saying ‘capitalism.’ I found it boring and obvious.
The violins played low volume, scratching noises. Imaginary mice were scurrying all over the place, picking up food, building their nests and bumping in to each other. The pipes went up a minor scale and then musically ran off. Silence. But not quite. The harpists plucked at base notes. The imaginary world of nature looked peaceful but lurking beneath was life. Huge applause.
I didn’t know what to expect. It just sounded an original thing to listen and watch. Were they going to make 100 electric guitars sound like a full orchestra? Would they reveal the full spectrum of guitar sounds? What musical story would be invoked?
We may live in a society which lacks political ideas, but that doesn’t mean ‘narratives’ from comedic sources are always better than nothing. The celebration of comedy as better than nothing reveals the weakness of contemporary public discourse, but the Cult of Comedy is no solution.