In 1998, In his article, Human Values for the 21st Century (1998)  Gerald A. Larue envisioned that the 21st century promises to be a time of scientific and technological growth at a level never before experienced in human history. This growth will either trigger chaos, disruption, war, starvation and disease or will introduce a period of humanistic cooperation, development, progress, and peace. What emerges will depend upon which values are embraced, taught, encouraged, and legislated. Ten years later, in 2008, Ronald Bailey asks, rhetorically: Will Humanity Survive the 21st Century? [1]

 

The impulse behind Larue and Bailey’s feelings in the views above must have been perhaps, the attempt to enhance human values and eliminate global catastrophic risks, which have their core elements on nuclear war, biotech plagues, and nanotechnology arms races.  As noted by Howard B. Radest , "the world is at risk and we have made it so. Our viciousness toward each other, and above all, our global awareness of it gives increasing credibility to the claims of anti-humanists. To be sure, we did not invent genocide, terror, and torture in the 20th century. But the size of things and our ability to destroy the world itself makes a sad irony of our faith in human potentiality and of our vision of human beings as evolution become aware of itself" (See Howard B. Radest, Companionship.A Metaphor For Humanism).

 

There is no gainsaying in denying that in our post-modern era, with its heavy prominence on financial capitalism - where competitive markets are anticipated to produce cornucopia of goods and services - human actions have become speedier and more aggressive. The actions are thus influenced by the ideal of capitalism, where everything is seen as product. Within this demesne, as rightly observed by artists Andrea Pagnes and Verena Stenke “social systems use several ‘mediatic’ strategies (and not only them) to broadcast contemporary images of themselves, which reiterate endlessly this very concept: what does not have any economic value is not a product. Then, to transform this product into somet hing popular that becomes craved and then purchased, market strategies always adopt increasingly sophisticated means of communicationand propaganda with clear intent of seducing thoughts and freedom of decision through a subtle, subliminal manipulation, in order to shape values and expectations to the advantages of the market itself. Today, more than ever, economic power means absolute power”.

 

Oginrinringinrin was conceived and designed as an artistic project and social intervention that foster the creation of dialogue with space and audience. The aim was to project the state of human values and security, leadership crisis, and raise concern for the protection and expanding human’s vital core aspiration for freedom, fulfillment and security. It also aimed at engaging public space as social tool for the production of socio-political artworks and documentation and strive to provide critical framework for discussion on the issue of security and leadership. The artist hoped that people will be alerted from the acute threats and conscientised on the need to empower themselves to take charge of their own lives.

 

Oginrinringinrin is a Yoruba word, which literally means deep insight. It is used here to refer to the potentiality of human body as it becomes symbolic object and metaphorical content, which will aid the expansion of human awareness on critical issues of human values and security. The performances in Oginrinringinrin re-invented and transformed public space as an artistic process for human recourse and inferences. The artist adopted the technique of dance, theatric  actions, text, video, installation, photography and mixed media; and more so, as a principle, appropriate(d) Egungun technique, where radical presence of body in space with interdisciplinary  intervention of actions, transformation / reconstruction, ritual / ontology (putting body into a fight), spatial awareness and negotiation were pronounced. 

JELILI ATIKU

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