Cryptic Paradoxes: A theatre of Cruelty

Welcome to Cryptic Paradoxes.

Nairobi continues to be an absurd cultural laboratorium. In the last ten years or so, a lot has happened, and lot is still happening. New waves of artists, cultural producers & other players in the brutal cultural food-chain of East Africa are struggling to chart a way forward & articulate their unveiling contemporary history for themselves.

This artists’ platform exists to moderate the ensuing conversation, monitor the pulse of the local creative industry & keep track of these changes & developments.

Our intention is to see, to question, to bear witness, to document – through the critical observation & analysis of our cultural realities – and to talk, ruminate and write about the vibration that takes place within us.
We want to play a part through writing and reportage, to articulate the contemporary cultural movements and upheavals that are taking place in East Africa’s metropolis; Nairobi, Kampala, Addis Abeba, Khartoum, Mogadisu, Dar-es-Salaam and in effect, create an collective intellectual infrastructure that shall enable us achieve total, uninhibited self-expression.

Old fashioned institutions – the gatekeepers of yester years – are grappling to keep up with these new developments, wandering aimlessly in circles through the fields of futility, deficient in the enthusiasm, versatility and vocabulary of Africa’s playfulness.

In their attempts at survival, or to preserve their illegitimate worth, they may endeavor to imitate the new movements, to replicate what is happening, they labor to speak the language or intimate that they are part of it in one way or the other, to “play the game”, as they say. But without the conviction, the sincerity and the philosophical basis – intensely embedded elements that exist in the deep recesses of human consciousness – they can do nothing.
Nothing but pretend. Even though in their posturing, they innocently open up their minds, spaces, institutions and resources for artists, new contemporary art forms, ideas and discourses….

This is the place where, through honest & critical discourse we shall talk the talk. This is a free space – a sovereign utopia.

It is an environment determined and imagined as a space that supports the ever manifesting cultural ritual within our habitats; its purpose is to create & support a space where catharsis may happen. When Antonin Artaud called for a ‘theater of cruelty’, he was suggesting for no less than a total breakdown of cultural security codes. It is to walk into the space where others wait, or are afraid to walk. It is to create sets of alternatives, spaces not yet in existence, for young artists to produce and present their works, engage anew with contemporary audiences and design fresh relations with their societies. It is to corrupt the zones of silence. It is to invent curiosity where none exists. It is to go back to the ruins and provoke memory, to highlight it, in its varying manifestations.
And from this, project it into the collective visions of the society.
we hope you can walk with us…


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