In Lubumbashi, a city in the southeast of DR Congo, there is an artistic expertise that is unacknowledged or, as is often the case, not fully appreciated. The work of Fundi Mwamba (FM) Gustave Giresse is an eloquent illustration of this. A passionate story-teller, this young artist launched himself in cartoons and various other media before trying his hand, “in the most unexpected ways, at video and, indirectly, at video art.” Starting from a simple wish to tell stories through performing characters, how can one achieve aesthetic goals shared by other forms of contemporary art?
As “television made by artists,” video art is a discipline capable of mobilizing other perceptual realms, merging the arts in order to give tangible form to the utopian dreams of contemporary art. Thus, the young artist takes advantage of this expertise to consult, establish relationships, ask questions, and initiate dialogues between his work and the public that consumes it. The videos, which each feature a character who performs together with texts—albeit different in terms of the themes they address—that are spoken or mimed by the character, set out to reveal a curiosity, an expertise, the result of a thoughtful analysis of the structures that are specific to video. The stories told here in the form of a previously recorded video evoke Nam June Paik’s (1960) critique of the beginnings of video art and this artistic practice—an enquiry that asked “if electronic technology would revolutionize the practice of contemporary art or if ‘modernist’ art would simply absorb video as another medium for aesthetic reflection.”