Beyond Prestige

IMG_5021 IMG_5022 photo.Elham.Khattab
- A sound and animation performance at Rawabat Theatre, Cairo, January 6, 2022

The performance looks at single vs. multiple ways of appreciating prestige. How can we imagine multiple and diverse ideas about prestige that can support us in leading meaningful lives? Life is too short to wait for other people to ‘endorse’ what we feel is important or enjoy.

So how to move beyond prestige? In the profane world, everything is there for the taking. We can use plants, animals, rivers, the sea, the minerals in the soil and mountains as we wish. The world is a smorgasbord of objects and assets that members of mankind can use as he or she sees fit. We can consume. We are not obliged to be grateful or respectful. Like for instance, the Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky shows us, something else is possible. Mankind can have a different and deeper relationship to the world in and around him/her.

Tarkovsky shows that we are not simply subjects surrounded by objects. Instead we have the choice to be in a constant and deep dialogue with what is around us. The world is full of mystery and beauty. In other words, the presence of the sacred is not necessarily a religious consideration, it is more importantly metaphysical and even political matter. Like the writer in Tarkovsky’s “Stalker” says, the sacred changes how we understand ourselves and the world around us. It makes us humble.

When a (human)being adheres to such an outlook on life, prestige loses its meaning…

(Photos by Elham Khattab.)