The alternate life of lies

The investigation of documented history is what defines this body of work.  A premeditated, calculative, and exhaustive analysis of how history through its ages, in all its forms of documentation has been manipulated. Where facts are made ambiguous so that they are not lies, yet they bear no semblance of the truth either. Where the lies used are also not lies, but retarded saplings of imperialistic ideals or just plain autocratic ego and hate.

When looking at this subject matter chronologically and cross-referencing multiple accounts, it becomes clear of how, those in power have constantly misused their positions to effect how entire generations would come to learn of their past. Muzzumil emphases just this in ‘Until thelion learns to write’, which is part of an African proverb that completes as, ‘every story will glorify the hunter’. Unfortunately the reality remains, that history belongs to the victors.

If all of history were a never-ending painting, every now and then one would see scratches, smudges, retouched spots, big huge blotches, painted over areas, blackened out areas and some just cut off pieces.

Similarly, this show, although talks of different accounts, different times and space, yet they have all been subject to this. This practice of misdirection is not a new development. From massive-scale strategies of announcing victories to lost wars, to small everyday events, it has been a common exercise since time immemorial. Be it important state level lies or commonplace things, the precedent has been set and has been ingrained in us.

For instance, “I am not a fool” is a funny account of an investigator who was asked to investigate a case and to take out possible characters. That he did, but in another sense all together. When he presented his report, it was a calculation of the number of As, Bs, Cs … (and so on) of the case that he counted. It was an extremely accurate and through investigation, of what he felt was needed. The same classic case of misdirection where irrelevant details are dealt with religious seriousness instead of searching for the answers one should.

And then “The Great Gama and Party.” Gama being a celebrated, world-champion wrestler was a jewel of the wrestling arena. After the separation of the Sub-continent, Gama migrated to Pakistan. The stories of his matches and his strength were iterated time and time again with such exaggeration over the ages that he has become almost unreal.  Where matches were won with brute strength and documented there is much reason to believe that a lot of the matches were just mythical stories made up by people. What was the truth has merged so seamlessly with all the woven lies that unraveling this popular myth is now impossible.

The stories of events create visuals that are perceived in our mind when we hear of them through another’s narration. The investigation travels into realms of those visuals that are conjured through stories that have either, only been heard or those stories that were born out of visuals. Since now only a lost visual or a wandering tale is available nothing more can be relied on. It is a mapping of time that has tales to tell. One can read words but not make out sentences the same way we read history but can never make sense of its contradictions.