Enjoy Poverty

In August, I saw this disturbing documentation by dutch journalist Renzo Martens at an art-exhibition in Berlin. And although it was unsettling, it was still interesting and inspiring. I think it’s a very unusual approach to deal with this (very delicate) subject. There’s a good summary/review of the movie by Nikolaj Nielsen which I want to quote

Enjoy Poverty is a disturbing 80 minute film that attempts to expose and lay bare the inherent viciousness of poverty’s status quo.  It draws parallels between the economics of poverty and the psychology of western consumption and aid. It attempts to symbolize the perversity of our own societies, the dramas and the obscure fascination we have with death.  So long as it happens far away, we can remain comforted, but only just.
Dutch artist Renzo Martens, who spent two years filming the documentary in the Democratic Republic of Congo, calls it a work of art where he  instructs the people he meets to see their poverty as a natural resource like gold or copper.  His interaction with them is detached, his voice monotone, a white man strolling through a landscape and in an environment he could not possibly ever understand and nor does he pretend to.
But unlike some documentaries about poverty and war, Enjoy Poverty presents an even  stronger commentary about the western narrative on Africa’s suffering.   The starving child, the uprooted families, the war, the famine, all these conditions that we associate with Africa come to fore – and are bought and sold for our consumption.
A photo of starving child can net 50 USD.  A photo of a wedding is worth nothing.  As such, the economy of poverty and war is a reflection of not only how we view the world but also mirrors a disturbing trend in our own societies – at least that is what this film wants us to believe. (if you want to read the whole article click here)


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