How do I feel about lying? It depends on the context. And when is “lying” just fiction? There is no “LIES” sign over the fiction department in the book store. For me, the distinction depends on the motivation. A lie is manipulative and individually self-serving, and fiction opens the imagination or exposes truths through a story.

I see such art is fiction. Sometimes historical fiction, as in the Amerindians performance. Artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña and writer/artist Coco Fusco locked themselves in a cage and assumed the characters of two members of a recently discovered (fictitious) indigenous tribe that had been isolated from the West, with the exception of items that washed ashore. Historically, “exotic” indigenous peoples were exhibited in cages for entertainment in the US and Europe until the early twentieth century. White people like to think that they are far removed from those times and that they have no superiority complex today, but the way people reacted and responded to these indigenous people on display proved otherwise. If the purpose of art is to provoke, this was certainly provocative. The belief systems and paradigms of colonization are clearly alive and well today. Art can succeed where reportive writing cannot. Art invites the person to see themselves or others in action, to see archetypal dynamics where appealing to the intellect fails to get past the ego barriers.

I have no use for lies that people use to avoid responsibility, but “lies” of provocative fiction can be very powerful!