Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Faki Day 4: The Artist as Commodifier, Elitism and White Supremacy

Faki produces some epic nights. Beginning with the performances, moving on to a drink, then creating a party on one of the stages, then spending some time with an old friend on the roof, then, well, what's the point in stopping there? Might as well see the sun rise.

There's normally a stage of the festival when the adrenaline really kicks in, and from that point on I am such a snowball of art, life and punk that certain routine necessities like sleep simply don't apply anymore. 

That's about where we are at today, as the below conversation can attest.


Pettifer: We are both a bit delirious today, no?

Jašinskaitė: I agree with you. But you know, after 4 days here, I really miss my private space. - I cannot control who comes in and out of my zone. Here, even the toilet is without a lock.

Pettifer: This morning I was sitting in the living area, peacefully thinking, and a guy I never saw before came and turned the radio up too loud. And then all of these beautiful Croatian people came in, and it was party time. It’s comedy, because before I was really deep in thought, and then this radio comes on and I’m like ‘hmmm – that’s not the best’, and then the party starts. And I’m like – now I will go.  I always wonder what it’s like for the permanent residents here. 

Jašinskaitė: It’s probably how alienation happens, people stop paying attention to certain things done by others
Pettifer: Do you mean this in a good way, or a bad way?

Jašinskaitė: A bad way, because you are together with people but, at the same time, you are also alone. You share space, but not because you want to. If you could, you would make a selection. I was thinking about the toilet paper that’s always running out. In Lithuania, during Soviet times, there was always a lack of toilet paper. My friend has a saying: “I’m a Lithuanian, I steal toilet paper”. You never know if you find some in the toilet, therefore you always have some extra in your pocket. To me, having toilet paper in a shared restroom is an indication of a good life.

Pettifer: But I think this personal space is a luxury thing, like a ‘western’ thing, or maybe European thing, to have that personal space. I always think – is it natural, or not? And I think this again when this guy turns the radio up. There’s always a negotiation about this: on one hand, I liked my personal space, but on the other hand, I must acknowledge the others in the room. 

Jašinskaitė: But I think it should be two-way, this connection.

Pettifer: But it’s another thing when you can choose your types of contact completely. This is really extreme now in culture, we can create these ‘friendship bubbles’ where the only people around are ones who agree with you. You can curate your life so it is free of any resistance or annoyance. I am sure this is not a good thing, including for the person who does it – it creates a false reality.

Jašinskaitė: I agree completely. That’s why I enjoyed visiting Portuguese society. They have small chats in public space, even though they don’t know each other. But they are also not imposing themselves on others. And I think that’s the thing that we are afraid of. It seemed to me, when I visited Portugal, that they are taking care of each other without imposing. For me that’s a beautiful thing – they see if you need help or not, and if you don’t, they just leave you alone. It’s like having fairies around.

Pettifer: Is this complicity?

Jašinskaitė: I think complicity is the outcome of that. It’s this care. The same care that you don’t want! (laughs) When it becomes a habit and a common thing, it’s really a pleasure to practice it, and it’s not a headache anymore. I think you would enjoy it!

Pettifer: It sounds like a lot of labour for me.

Jašinskaitė: Do you want equality or not?

Pettifer: (Laughs).


Pettifer: (cont’d) What did you think of our first show from last night, Smej se Pajaco (approximately: Laugh, Clown!). I see why you called it a work of literature. It’s talking about some deep philosophy, and in a way not really from the stage. The metaphors are literature metaphors, and not stage metaphors, I think. For example, Beckett often has both.

Photo: Dina Karadžić

Jašinskaitė: I agree. For me there were some interesting connections that he makes in his writing. But I see this play more as a staged reading, to make it public.