Beggars

2010


São Paulo Biennial, São Paulo, Brazil, 2010

Commissioned by: 
Fundação Bienal de São Paulo for the 29th Biennial of São Paulo
Thomas Dane Gallery, London

A seven channel video installation.

As citizens who more or less place ourselves within the acceptable roles and positions of  society, we find it difficult to establish eye contact with the others who have stepped  outside, be it a beggar, a murderer or a political dissident. Perhaps we fear the other, or  we are ashamed by our own feeling of guilt. The result is the same: you cannot  comfortably look a beggar in the eye. Even when we choose to give money to a beggar,  we try to avoid eye contact. We know most of the time that the money is not really  for  what the beggar claims it is for, and yet we still give. Once the beggar is viewed  away  from real life, in a safe space out of its context, the re-positioning of the viewer becomes  voyeuristic. It is this role that makes begging a true performance, and not simply the  beggar’s own performance in the street.