Be like Baddy, when she’s arresting the influential art critic Boris Groys for stealing her time during a panel discussion about time wasting. NEVER BE AFRAID OF BEING TRUE TO YOURSELF AND YOUR ENVIRONMENT — STAY TRUE TO YOUR CONVICTIONS AND DON’T LET THEM FOOL YOU.
How often did you hear the fairy tale "The Emperor's New Clothes” by Hans Christian Andersen when you were a child? Do you remember which emotions and thoughts you listened to in this story?
In our childhood, we asked ourselves why nobody dared to tell the truth. We just couldn’t understand why everybody — except the child — was afraid of being seen as stupid.
And today? How often did you attend an exhibition opening, a theatre play or a panel discussion where the key speaker is talking bullshit — obviously — but no one except you seems to notice? In this situation, we normally decide to stay calm and swim with the tide, but that’s not how things must go…
A fairy tale at Tate Modern
A couple years ago, there was a widely recognized exhibition by the Belgian concept artist Francys Alys at Tate Modern. As is common, the Tate Modern's curators organized several events to bring the idea of Alys’ work to the people, to make it accessible for everyone who isn’t convinced yet or to those who just wanted to be part of the event. For this, the world-famous art critic Boris Groys was invited to hold a speech on time wasting.
Until this date, I’d seen several interviews and read several articles by him, but I wasn’t lucky enough to see him in real life — and yes, I wanted to be part of the event and, therefore, just had to attend. …
'Big Mind' Boris Groys shows off new clothes at Tate Modern
At the beginning of the lecture, the Tate curator introduced Groys as a 'big mind' who came to favour us that day. With this sound introduction, the art critic started to hold his lecture on time wasting:
All quotes you can find on Wikipedia, phrases he repeated multiple times from former interviews, facts that can only impress someone who never heard anything about culture before.
I was expecting quite more from the big mind — his speech on time wasting was obviously exactly this: a waste of time.
The people in the auditorium didn’t seem too impressed by Groys’ show either, but who would dare to shout: 'BULLSHIT! — You’re fooling us'!?
When the enfant terrible BADDY DOLLY JANE entered the stage …
Groys' speech turned more and more into a grotesque meta-commentary of what was just happening in the Tate’s auditorium. Groys said, “There is a moment, when the public sits in the dark room of the cinema, completely bored by what it sees...there is something that makes us wish that something would happen to evoke the public, something to activate the public. That never happens, of course…”
Suddenly, we heard an alarm clock from the left corner of the auditorium. It was BADDY DOLLY JANE, who jumped off her seat, armed with handcuffs and a (real?) gun! Baddy ran to the podium:
“Watch out — this man is a thief!” (pointing at Groys)
“Police! Police! Somebody should call the police!”
—“This man has stolen my time!”—
The emperor is naked!
We, the public, started to laugh out loud — just as if the kid just told us the emperor is naked. That was it. That was our “Emperor's New Clothes” moment.
Next, the performance artist started to put handcuffs on the frightening Groys, who couldn’t imagine that something could have provoked the public.
Groys‘ wife in the first row tried to bring Baddy to a halt by shouting at her something like, “Fuck off, Bitch!”
But too late: Baddy Dolly Jane’s performance implanted the image of the Emperor's New Clothes deeply into our brains and minds as she revealed the ridiculousness of the situation. There will never be a bullshit situation with an art world opinion leader or any another authority again that I won't link to this performance.
Being authentic means to be true to yourself and your environment. It means to point at the core of the truth. Baddy Dolly Jane was the authentic child that wasn’t afraid to tell the truth and didn’t let them fool her.
A couple of months later, a friend of mine told me that she recently attended a lecture by Boris Groys. She mentioned that, for some reason, he started his speech with the words “In advance, I want to apologize for stealing your time”!