It can be difficult to make decisions when one finds themself in an uncomfortable situation. In the Kenyan artist Ogutu Muraya’s installation for the COMMON GROUNDS exhibition, the public is invited to play a game that promotes challenging encounters between the players. Both a board game and role play, the creation of IN TIMES OF MISTRUST involved the participation of Sara Arango as a dramatist and Ogutu Muraya’s long experience with storytelling, theatre, and writing. As his specialty and study focus, new forms of storytelling and their relation with the politics of memory are present in the artwork. All the characters are antiheroes, mediated by one who is in charge of introducing the questions and promoting dialogues. With IN TIMES OF MISTRUST, Ogutu Muraya’s goal is to engage trust between people through conversation, especially in situations of rivalry or distrust.
The result of the game’s exercise is the creation of COMMON GROUNDS. Because most of the challenges posed by the Kenyan writer and artist are related to dilemma narratives, the great appeal of his installation is to reflect collectively on what could happen next, and what are the possible futures. In this imagination exercise, open-ended stories are converted into real-life situations in which the public, together with MATZA MEDELLÍN and the Edgelands Institute, explores the potential of building a coherent and collective urban space. Ogutu Muraya’s artwork is a perfect example of how it can be simultaneously an enriching and complex experience to collectively reimagine social contracts, keeping in mind the context where one is inserted. In order to do so, being willing to unite and open to hearing other perspectives are crucial.
Created by Séverin Guelpa and Anja Wyden Guelpa in collaboration with the Edgelands Institute, MATZA EDGELANDS MEDELLÍN is a project held in Colombia between 31.01 and 17.02.2022. Gathering artists, experts, citizens, and activists together to reflect on contemporary issues, urban dynamics, and social tensions in the heart of Medellín, the project lead to the COMMON GROUND exhibition, which presented original artworks regarding security, digital surveillance, technology, and urbanization.