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The booklet didn’t act as the exhibition’s catalogue but more as an extension of the whole project, and is still available for sale in local bookstores. Interestingly, these texts became little pieces in their own right, and shed additional light on the themes of the project, by becoming part of the “free-jazz improv” Peter Eramian orchestrated (emphasis mine): “Regarding closeness and openness, I wanted to strike that thin line where the one is verging into the other; not too close, not too open. That’s why I also commissioned the four writers to respond to the four references, trying to ‘tightly weave’ them together and see what readings I can achieve by ‘closing’ them together. In a sense we are a band improvising together within a set framework and instruments/concepts. It’s not just the words, it’s the play between the words, myself as an ‘artist’, the ‘artwork’, the texts, the context, etc”. It’s here, in this creative complicity that the heart of this whole project lies. Here’s to my Sweet Satan emerges from a closeness that at the same time is ready to be smashed open like a pomegranate. Peter Eramian drew from Reza Negarestani, the Iranian philosopher, on this point, and particularly from this quote from the chapter Contingency and Complicity [1] (emphasis mine): “Complicity exhibits this necessary shift from the inhibitive role of commonalities to the role of closure as a focused engagement with contingency, its intrusions, twists and suspensions. Whilst openness domesticates the thought of contingency through affordable states of interaction, commonalities and other forms of soft dogma, closure, on the other hand, turns itself into a ‘good meal’ or a ‘genuine prey’ for the real expression of contingency and its unrestricted play: the more closed a work, the more radically it is subjected to the interventions of its contingent materials, the wider it is broadened and butchered opened to the outside. Therefore, we can say that closure realises openness in its radical sense: not as openness toward the possibility of contingencies from the outside, but as a ‘being opened’ by the contingent materials that form the work ”. By opening up the process to an indefinite number of constituents —that nevertheless gravitate towards a very particular place, time and theme— Peter Eramian achieves what Negarestani describes: a radical openness disguised as closeness, like a potential forest of fig trees is contained within the fruit. And although presented in the conventional format of a visual arts exhibition, Here’s to my Sweet Satan leaks through the cracks of its own container, and chips off onto us as we encounter it and reflect upon it. In that sense, the work is not the exhibition per se, but the entire (and irritatingly elusive) network of associations, actions and experiences it has ignited. * Like a case of aural pareidolia, abstract sounds inevitably acquire meaning because perhaps that’s just what our brains are wired to do. The exhibition’s title alludes to the third of the stories, this time from 1982: it was then claimed that hidden messages could be heard in many popular songs if they were played backwards, the most famous example of which being Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. Supposedly, if played backwards, the song contained in its middle section the phrases “here’s to my sweet Satan” and “I sing because I live with Satan”. Like a case of aural pareidolia, abstract sounds inevitably acquire meaning because perhaps that’s just what our brains are wired to do. And naturally, when one discovers meaning on the dark side of reality, that meaning has to be dark itself — and within a Christian context, whatever comes from the other side of rationality and dogma comes from Satan. It makes perfect sense then that, in a way, Peter Eramian dedicated the whole project to Satan, as the title he chose for his project implies. But he introduces Satan more as a symbol of emancipated emotional potentiality:


Profile for Peter Eramian

Here's to my Sweet Satan - Review by Kiriakos Spirou  

Here's to my Sweet Satan - Review by Kiriakos Spirou