The Book of the Great Rabbit Anythinglandia A field Journal of a m eandering mind traveling thoughts through uneven surfaces, circling walking and canoedelling
Anythinglandia: a guide for jumping through varied ambiences or A field Journal of a m eandering mind traveling thoughts through uneven surfaces, circling walking and canoedelling
Chapters A Circular
Note to the Reader, Rabbit Doesn’t, Stories, Canoe, The voices that tell a Story, The Migrant, The Tourist, The Practitioner And One Canoe, Rabbitography, Rabbitness, Walking as political action, The Arrested [as in motion] Walker: Walking as a political action, Space, Speculation for performed space, Texts as sites, Spaces and Places, Sites: Walking through varied spatiality for performed space, Performing Spatialities: Walking Practices, The wanderer and time as public space problem The Reading of site, Non-Site, The Story: an attempt to re-write the whole story in collaboration with An Iceberg in the middle of the sea chapter, a Project Report with a Monkey Mind, When I walk, May 13 Osman: Paying out your freedom, This chapter is dedicated to Monkey mind , Group Concerns, Omonia Bells J+R, , Omonia Square at 22:00 , Wrapping up everything into a site of sites: Summary of Miwon Kwon Notes on Site Specificity, In and Through Space: the situation constructed between two bodies talking, The City, Back here, Over there, Sometimes Over here in nowhere, The Statue of Liberty the ensima in the Azax and Scavengereeism , The Rabbitness in the Outlandia, Iceberg in the middle of the sea (report), Materials- immaterial, Why am I not leaving Greece The logic of nomadism and
Note to the Reader Addressed to: examiners This written component is aimed to assist in the evaluation for my practical research for transart for the period of 2012-‐2014. It is written in a way not to complement my practice but to create one more extension of my work. In this way I regard it as creating new possible spatiographies for my performative work through which my journals, diaries, monthly process and the events are re-‐visited here, creating a new space for my practice to inhabit. I regard this document as a book whose chapters are infused with thoughts and reflections before, during and after performances. Those are my walking stories I have written side by side with my practice, photos, maps, and video materials. It is not necessary to read this document in the order in which I presented it here, but one can start reading the book from any chapter of his/her desires. I would really appreciate your thorough looking into the book asking for your care and attention. If you would like to follow more research and theory oriented considerations for this investigation, please follow the blue letters trail … Feb 27, 2014 Rosina Ivanova Adressed to the reader When reading about rabbits, canoes and chapters you can take your time. You can read one sentence or one word as many times as you like. You can regard this text as instances of performances now brought together in variation of spaces, of their pasts and the new performative ways in whish these instances in space encounter what they are. Start reading any part,
6 stop reading any time you like. 1 I think of beginnings, ends and somehow makes middles seem important. I did not intent for an end of this book however, there was some intention in sculpting some openings so as to create an entrance for you into the texts and let you into this world. Grab this book and run fast as in a creative act. Walk as slow as in a creative act. Think of it as a compilation of performances you could visit, as an exhibition site in which you are part of it in spatial and durational terms. If you like to participate I may have to offer you something that intrigues you- like promising you that we will fly in the end of the book or that we will explore cracks and document all the cracks off the surface of an abandoned street. We will do something similar here, though the intensity with which you create other imaginaries and give other spaces to what I have written here depends on your willingness to put your imagination in all sorts of disguises, lands and looking glasses. Imagination is here material for spreading and covering far lands with flying trees in the sky, swimming rabbits in the sea, rolling heads of statues on triangular islands, walking in underground burrows, statues with multiple heads, long lines of flowers in the sea, flower chains on the necks of singing people. A gardener is taking a sip of water break. He is standing on top of hill witnessing a female in a canoe disappearing in the far end of the blue, leaving behind her a trail- a sound of a bell; the sense of longing; sensing all that there is as sounds, smells, you are reading and noticing the ways in which the human mind interprets and taxonomies these to create new surprising combinations, of what was not2 said here. 3 Feb 27, 2014 From Outlandia
‘Start reading anywhere and you will realize that you don’t read anything’, from a conversation with Giannis Stamatopulous 2 from a conversation with Michael B. 3 Note to myself: What is triggering our curiosity to visit various spaces so as to encounter a stranger with a small talk? Do we have tipping hat friends? Is barefoot cooking important practice in contemporary performance?
March 16, 2014 This written element will take the reader through my process4, the decision making of my project and will ‘tell the story of an impossible journey’, ‘to tell the story of walking and canoeing journey’. In relation to my conceptions and methods for ‘space’, public art, new genre among others, I will write for the uncanny of long durations, the transformative event of space and for the specific details of the liminal circumstances in which I happened to be. In this perspective I will observe the elements and the ways in which ideas, theory and artists’ practices are related to my walking experiences. I will pause at moments at which I identify with the writers’ concepts and artists’ works in my practice 5 for performance art in lived life situations. How do I record the ways in which I think ‘space’, the group, the liminal, the walking body? How are those important and related to my story? Is space performed, lived or political? A big part of the stories and the reflections for this Project Report6 will be created in the progress of physical movement and will be written in the ways in which I lay them out to myself while and as a result of walking, talking with strangers and talking to my self or the person walking with me. I will mix them into a story of preconceptions, encounters with strangers during my walks and threshold moments marked by performances and the ideas recorded on my way. Taking you through my long walking, stream writing and canoeing, I face the challenge to demonstrate how could (1) ‘people oriented art’7 inform my (2) ‘secluded actions’ without audience, and vice versa. How are my experiences relocated and shifted across and through the two above 4
practice in my studio and written research elements for my MFA in Creative Practice for the transart Institute 2013-‐2014 5 studio work 6 a written element discussing relationships in my studio practice in which I import studio elements such as ‘walking stories’, ‘stream writing’, images, etc. It records ABC theories and artists practices related to my practice such those of walking explorations, new genre public art, space, ‘the transformative event’ and specific examples of artists works in relation to those. 7 (group art, community art, community performance, or one that develops a relationship with an ‘audience’, creates a sense of community, or one-‐to-‐one group)
8 ‘performative zones’? What is the nature of this exchange? These written stories will be given to people to edit them and to select intriguing parts that will make up the body of the final written work. Are oranges and rabbits essential to writing about performance art in the everyday life? How can a story of solo and group situations be told? Is it a story of the Self imagining talking to people? Are concepts of duration, the transformative event, place, space, here, and elsewhere important to this writing from walking and speech journey?
10 Somewhere in between the border house, love Cave beach and the Island with the beheaded statue, whose head with city walls crown might have fallen in the sea, I am asking questions about what the experiential walking bring us in duration, time as public space problem, access to public spaces and the potential of canoeing and kisses in Grekoland. I will (dis)engage with problems of weight, time, space, sound, water and immigration, The Rabbit Sometime in 2014
Rabbit Doesn’t I am the Rabbit Doesn’t and you cannot tame me. I talk ‘nonsense’ for 24 hours or 43 km (from Bulgarian ‘километри’[kilometri]. Like Alice, I have a circular orange marmalade problem but my problem is in the circularity of the orange and the circularity problem while making the orange marmalade, it is not that much that the jar is empty. As a Rabbit of society I ask the questions about time as public space problem, access to public spaces and the potential of canoeing and kisses with the weather in Grekoland. I will (dis)engage in durational actions of space, time, sound, weight, water, and immigration problems in Xeniland (from Greek ‘ξενη’[kseni]- foreign, someone from the outside, not from our land).
March 11, 2014 Are oranges and rabbits essential to writing about performance art in the everyday life? How can a story of solo and group situations be told? Is it a story of the Self imagining talking to people? Are concepts of duration, the transformative event, place, space, here, and elsewhere important to this writing from walking and speech journey? How can solosecluded actions inform more interactive art practices and vice versa
Stories9 Stories about canoes, rabbits and migration practices are another way of telling the story10. Speculating and writing for stories is another way of inventing space. Then, I am unlearning estrangement. It is like assuming a new home in the provisional here, there and anywhere11-‐ where one is led by a movement12. 9
‘[…](to tell one slef’s legends) as practices that invent spaces’, Certau, Michel de 1984 The Practice of Everyday Life. The University of California Press Berkley, p.107 10 ‘Stories about places are makeshift things’ (ibid.) 11 ‘Linking acts and footsteps, opening meanings and directions these words operate […] by emptying out and wearing away of their primary role. They become liberated spaces that can be occupied. Such indetermination gives them […] the function of articulating a second poetic geography on top of the geography of the literal forbidden or permitted meaning (ibid., p.105)’. 12 ‘by emptying themselves [the stories, the spaces, the site] of classifying power they acquire that of “permitting” something else.’, (ibid) p.105-‐106
12 I am walking, speaking and re-‐tracing what I say in the works of other artists and in the words of people I encounter on my journey. If these constellations of letters were to tell the story13 about my entanglement with my experiences they would be in constant movement, ever-changing their position, negotiating with one another. New meanings will be created when its bits and pieces are placed in new and unexpected ways (spaces) in proximity to one another14. All these pieces are telling the same story, they are one another, they are becoming the Other (space) (the one becomes the Other and so the one is an Other). 15 The conceptual entanglement and the post event reflections are displaced into here and added to the previous stories and create a kind of a third story- the textual site of the lived spaces. They create an underlying thread of talking when walking and reorganizing the pieces scattered over Outlandia to unleash a story for its social aspect. In Outlandia there are no disconnections and disruptiveness of the pieces for the story is said as one flowing narrative of multiple little stories, that displace themselves at all times. They shape shifting so as to create some new unexpected encounters with the Other parts that never met16. Meeting the pieces is not merging them; It is more an adding 17 to the previous more extensions, covering the empty space with a never ending story in which the roads are represented in a map that is not two dimensional but ever changing from the situation-‐ taking us to the next route story map18. The 2nd kilometer 13 […] fragments of scattered semantic places. These heterogeneous and even contrary elements fill the homogeneous from the story. Things extra and others (details and excess coming from elsewhere insert themselves into an accepted framework, the imposed order’. One thus has the very relation-‐ship between spatial practices and the constructed one. The surface of this order is everywhere punched and torn open by ellipses, drifts and leaks of meaning: it is a sieve-‐order.’ p.107 14 Conversation with Michael Bowdidge 15 Chardys, Christina: map of aquatic realm of Porto Rafti 16 Encountering Other parts (in the text) as strangers (the text is a meeting with the Other, a calling to meet the Other, an acquaintance and knowledge between different Others (the original idea of platonic epistemology), you realize your own memories so knowledge is recollection in Plato’s Theatitus). 17 Note to myself: ‘addition’ is an ‘edition’ to the previous; argue with your self that ‘addition’ is an ‘edition’ of the past 18 Note to myself: The idea of extension of space in Descsartes, idea of the card, ‘Descartes in the card’. Reminder: his idea of extension of space and Poltinius’s idea about ‘there’, ‘home’ as a journey back to the ‘intellect’ , to the one finding home in being homeless. My return is not to the intellect but to going home (as in transit) in performance, which creates the space of the everyday.
13 Those experiences and stories sink again in the here, sink in the far distance of the story being told by a voice of the person in a canoe. The canoe goes through all sorts of storms, but what’s significant about the canoe is to slide the human body in the ever-changing waters with all its weight. After all we hardly know our depths19. That canoe is getting to Outlandia.
The body and the voice keep on departing to some place else, coming back to here.
“Day 356 the other day i was in a canoe, and it was a tiny storm, i was feeling overwhelmed and amazed by natures’ power to take me and slap my canoe and turn me around! I then left the canoe go with the current and the 20
Solnit, Rebbeca 2006. A Field Guide to Getting Lost. Reprint Edition. Penguin Books.
Photo of a book page shown to me by a JN from the book The Whole Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel.
14 storm passed, taking me safely back to the coast in calm waters. Writing and being in the canoe is one of the most solitary practice. Every so often i sit down on a computer to write and gaze down the infinite abyss of the currents of my soul, the deep caves and the multiple high ways of artistic practices, looking down the water from the highest rock close by trying to jump. I ve jumped from that rock multiple times with my mind and in my sleep. What i value is all the thoughts that crossed my mind before i actually jumped from there and the conscious feeling of fear. Then I climb in my canoe and start going to the nearest island. On my way i meet all sorts of current and disasters, police, dogs carrying stones, winds and life, i feel exhausted but i get on rowing and then I meet a mere stranger in the water unknowing that i have drifted far away from the island and the initial course that i am so away from the island that i don’t even see it on the horizon, complete disaster. Then we talk about drifting. When i was a small girl i had an epiphany with the light, wines and air creating shadow-‐light art works on the pavement and i would stay and watch for hours because i had time to do so. Now, i am walking and having epiphanies not from the words that strangers tell me but from their ability to address me in the present and by my ability not to judge them for i don't know anything about their context and life and this gives me the freedom to be there attending the present carefully to the feeling of interaction not so much to the content of what they are saying with words but the ability to feel interaction as intention from both sides, even though i am going to the cave to photograph holes and he is
15 walking with a goat and looking for wild asparagus. His first intention was to greet me and his second intention was to give me the plants he collected because i was interested in how they look. The people i meet in galleries seem not to be there for the opportunity to contact or interaction with a stranger but they are in a hurry to talk with and only with someone very specific because they want something from him, because they are working on the plan, their plan may be about drifting also but i will never know because there isn’t enough time to talk about drifting. I am myself often in this superhuman state leading to individuation, not practical for interaction with-‐ people-‐ works. Are there any Artist Talks that are organized in the city, where artists can go and talk about their practice or things and overgrowth they may have on their mind within the context of care and civilized interaction, not judged for who they are in stereotypical ways, but motivated to take risks and given a realistic feedback that is encouraging the artist to take the work further, and not saying oh well, the work is boring and i don’t understand it, it must be spoken in my language to get it and must respond to what essential and important work is for me to even get me to listen to your nonsense ? is there any nonsense group around then i can contribute to with my nonsense? 21 I talked to stranger with the asparagus about my work and he liked many things about it. He also had some critical inquiries on it and we met again. The first time I saw him he 21
photo: two maps made in New York during the ’13 Residency. The 1 one (on the left) is a map for a walking performance and the 2nd is a map to aid my movement in the city (for lived performance).
was with a goat. The goat also had a bell so I somehow felt familiar with the goat. We talked about her name and how it came. Then we talked that his profession was to lift weight. We found similarities. Art practiced in galleries has it own very specific audience sometimes living in isolation from goats and strangers. There is a huge gap there. This is not ‘the gap’ in a philosophical sense like in Documenta. This is not a gap.”
Study this image well. You may never see it again.
While the consistency of these multiple processes may at first sight be hard to see, what connects this miscellaneous body of work is a sense of pronouncement, life experimentation and engagement- an entanglement with time and multiple trajectories of unexpected coincidences, contradictions and care. 22
Photo: snapshot from a video walking and leaving threads traces on the Island Photo: Practice excerpt . On Writing Wrongs. From my Daily diary Photo: snapshot from the video ‘Tying and Untying my shoes for some time now’, duration: 2 hours
Such a multiplistic story telling about experiencing the world could introduce all sorts of actors, entities, people, seclusions, forces, movements, atoms and geographies. Being multiple already accounts for it being made out of many things. Such stories would be many stories happening at different places. Such stories would be happening in the same space and each would have its meta-‐ story. Such stories have an intensified sensitivity to the moments at which they relate, or else, to the moment at which a story draws away back to the story itself.
The voices that tell a Story24 The person in the canoe is the solitary walker that slides through the city and travels through the water. She encounters all sorts of strangers on her way. She opens all sorts of doors and is attentive to the sounds, the time, the surroundings and the unexpected. The hidden potential of water, the hidden in walking and journeys is like the potential of all unacknowledged people25 in the world that create: the street musicians, the walkers, the migrant on the street, the hidden refugee on people from different places that never met but all have this invisible devotion to dream, create and invent freedom and experiment in their mind...They play music in their heads on abstract poetic fragments like 'earth’, ‘water', 'waves', 'freedom'...'constraints', 'identity’ somehow alike the singing of the glasses, the forks, the plates and the chairs in a busy restaurant a walking voice and a paddling voice Both carry a bell sound, anywhere they go
Photo: snapshot from video ‘Bell in the water: all over again’
See flyer, Michael Bowndidge Monopolydialogiphonia Workshop Syllabus text for External-‐ internal voices and bibliographies. ‘questioning of assumptions about the individual voice of the practitioner. From there […]to consider the possibilities inherent in the dialogical context and ways of finding and using other voices.’ 25 Conversation with Jennifer Nelson
Texts as sites26 26
the site of textuality Some may argue that the problem with writing about performing and sites and the experience of spaces is the very being taken away from that performance of experience that is to re-‐present space and not to experience it. I would rather propose that the entanglement with text and textual analysis is the very site of exploration of spaces their interrelatedness and multiple compositions and the re-‐invention of their co existence create sites and off sites of my experiences with texts. Wiriting about performance here is done as a site-‐specific work, an embodiment of the texts and text is to be understood as habitus: of how to move through the spaces in this text. Habitus here would be to live inside: to open doors, to sit in those, to walk in those, to make sounds with the cutlery and when flushing the water, the sounds of the backgrounds like the bird talking to me from the near by building I can clearly understand when I am standing on the edge of my balcony: we converse. Sometimes I walk in the neighborhood just to talk with the nearby balcony caged animals. They whistle I whisle, They talk I talk back... I wish I had more time to talk with these birds: they make the population of my best freinds. I feel that some very exploaratory conversations can come out of this. But I have to continue walking for now, and at times return to those sites, when on the way I find other paths… Such a site-‐specific work about writing takes upon the inter-‐ and intra-‐ relationality of all elements involded but also those missing in and around the body of the performer. What are the spaces his body inhabits while performing (in life). What are the spontaneous, extra leaking textual spaces his body strays to while writing /performing (in life)? How is that a performed space? The performed spaces of my interest reaches ends of bodily concerns that turn into new beginnings. Every text here is a beginning. The far ends of imagination and those participating elements and people is what at times lines up the thoroughness of space we are looking for in this specifc site. Specifically, the ways in which space is being performed with text and is embarked but not represented there and written about. Principles and bases here would be unthinkable (Bachelard). However, space as performed constellation of multiple elements and their relationships is carefully thought of, discussed and re-‐ invented. Space is the indented spontaneity while walking through varied ambiences in and outside of the city, and the principle of taking unknown roads. That cautions way of writing by no means can be anchored only in principles that allow for imagination to move, change, practice and be re-‐ invented but new unknown pathways are ever-‐started. 26 A departure through which the sites and the events of investigation become apprehended as ‘texts’ (and latter on as – landscape, city space, place ), where ‘the text is seen in terms of the self-‐realisation or contestation of [ideas, ideologies and] identities, is here understood as part of the impulse to not just as a piece of self-‐ realization. This would be a piece taking into consideration our relationships with and the exchanges that append within and with our surroundings (not just in terms of space sound and movement but in terms of interaction between two bodies talking). Here texts are considered as sites but they are
photo: snapshot from the video ‘The Rabbit Doesn’t’ collaboration with Ivan Ivanov
sites happening within the site of walking is moving through the ambiences. The text is an Other. This implies invention and duration in both, while the situational its re-‐invention in documentation textual/video in both co-‐creative and solo settings. There is an ongoing speculation about the relationship between these elements aforementioned and they constant movement and negotiation between one another and with others. The more the engagement with it the more relationships and exchanges occur the more of the space explored becomes covered/uncovered and questioned for its alternative modes of creation and the inventiveness that it proposes to its engaged agents. This way seemingly hidden corners become unfolded and moved at a foreground (mystified and demystified). Whereas new hidden corners and more found sites dicovered are uncovered and the feeling of that same space is now changed in its with, breath and complexity. Those newly created corners are also reveled and so the here and the foreground right before and inside the body is changed once again. Each text is considered in relation to itself within the other text but many of those sites of exchanges 26 are missing because they were experienced and there was not enough time to record them. This texts keeps on pasting themselves in new pages in new configurations starting new beginnings every day anew constantly re-‐cited and re-‐referenced to themselves and with the new investigations.
The Migrant, The Tourist, The Practitioner And One Canoe
The traveling female, becomes a stranger to her society, to her family to her own story, detached and removed in the far distance of a displaced past, her displaced selves constantly negotiating their multiplicity. The passionate entanglement of the migrant writer disrupts the economic traditional writing and can never be content with the presence of any stability. Merging the layers is too permanent. Everything is bound to sink in the here process that translates into nowhere. I am a stranger to myself and now I am stranger in a strange land. ‘It is problematic to be stranger even more so to stop being one’28. Everyday anew. The migrant displaces himself voluntarily from one place to another, from one context to the other. This voluntarily tricky part depends on his ability to re-invent space and context. The provisional elsewhere in the here becomes a process of other-ing (ting, thing, - ness). Identity is constituted by other-ing. This process is always the processional becoming and is not a state- it is an ongoing dynamic transformative event29. The origin is always somewhere else (other) than where is thought to be. Staying home means reaching out. Anticipation means moving towards and waiting. Not knowing is a movement across the pieces scattered in Outlandia- in the here.30The margins of here, of home are being displaced 27
Note to the self: [Danger of everything becoming important] [Insert Gertrude Stain and Moris opposing views] James Meyers ‘functional sites’ in Kwon [Marcel Duchamp writes about the coefficient of ..] 28 Minh-‐ha, Trinh 2010, ‘Other Than My Self, My Other Self’. Elsewhere, Within Here: Immigration, Refugeeism and the Boundary Event. New York, NY: Routledge 29 linked to chapter for transformative event 30 ‘If you don’t know you don’t move’, greek saying from an encounter with a stranger on the street, argue for the opposite: The Artists Doesn’t Know!
22 according to how one positions himself. Where is home? The traveler always brings questions about the ‘over there –home’ and the ‘over here – abroad’31, they challenge dwelling with specific experiences. They disrupt the possibility of defining authentic cultural identity. The traveler is not a tourist but an imitator, the migrant of the Other, constantly inscribed as a non-tourist and by being different from his kind. The voyage out of the known into the unknown seems to be of an outlander -of the here land. This is a provisional here where everything is being destabilized and the feeling of any unitary aspect is broken down. Whereas over there- in Outlandia everything shifts but it contracts into a flowing current of connections with perfect timing between the tiniest of details, the story of the past to the future, the body, the sounds and the surrounding. Imperfections lead to new realms of exploration where one shuttles back and forth between the limits of blindness and tender perceptiveness. The limbo tactic of becoming could be said to be a kind of re-siting the boundaries of here. Sometimes words are unrecognizable or they separate themselves from other words. They stick out from the crowd.
The 4th kilometer
photo: snapshot from the video ‘The Rabbit Doesn’t’ collaboration with Ivan Ivanov
This text is inspired and infused with ideas coming from Minh-‐ha, Trinh 2010, ‘Other Than My Self, My Other Self’. Elsewhere, Within Here: Immigration, Refugeeism and the Boundary Event. New York, NY: Routledge
Rabbitography Performance in art practice as practice-based methodology is fearfully exposed as acts of investigations and experimentations with cautious writing. They record experiences of performing and conceptualizing about walking, taking, canoeing, migrant, the rabbit, the explorer. This entails questions about an identity of the performer, the rabbit, the archer, the lover, the walker, the traveling female, walking, duration, space and a secret that contains other things. Those meanings leak in this text. Their contiguous and contagious relationships are spread out on the topography of multiple trajectories in between these chapters. None of these ‘chapters’ is more important than the other32. They occur in time and space and sometimes simultaneously at a ‘Anythinglandia (here)’, a ‘there’ (border house)’ and an ‘Otlandia (elsewhere)’33. By saying out loud the word ‘practice’ a pause occurs equal to schism in writing.
Though that schism questions about who the artists is, the rabbit, the educator surface and are re-arranged into these chapters and thus create another geography anywhere in-between the geography of ‘here’ and the practiced voice of the past. That pause is taking a moment of stillness34 in 32
‘by emptying themselves of classifying power they acquire that of “permitting” something else’, Certau, Michel de 1984 The Practice of Everyday Life. The University of California Press Berkley, pp.105-‐106’. 33 Minh-‐ha, Trinh 2010, ‘Other Than My Self, My Other Self’. Elsewhere, Within Here: Immigration, Refugeeism and the Boundary Event. New York, NY: Routledge 34 Note to myself: Is stillness possible at all? Is motion possible at all? What is their relationship to space? The story of space of infinite invisibility is found in Zino. Atoms. Individuals that they move into space and they constitute a reality by their own movement so that they are divisible. This kind of division denies infinity in space but permits infinity in motion. To be individual is to be a dynamic entity that transforms-‐ an atom not in terms of limitation but in terms of exploration. One’s body is a traveling atom. By following the idea infinite space we are denying space, but I am putting under question infinite space because spatiality is necessary for my temporality yet transformation and relationships are ever re-‐invented and this is a kind of contradiction that can be resolved latter with
24 writing to shape something into almost an object with words, but never concluding (in motion). It could be like sculpting a book but this unknown sculpture changes its shapes as it goes- through the sculptor’s experiences, entanglements, appreciations and contradictions, adding layers to it at all times (maybe). In the arts is rarely according to plan35, or else, it is a plan that allow for the flow of new elements, never concluding 36. That moment of pause is actually long hours and days of sitting on a chair (on the edge of some-thing) and writing (on on on the edge of some-thing), walking (on on on on the edge of some-thing-else) and rowing on lines in the waters of the endless streets between border house, Athens, Porto Rafti and the Aegean Sea(where is the border between the Aegesn sea and the Mediteranean, why is it there? Who sais is there? How do people agree on ‘where’. (it is a re-sitting, re-walking and re-inventing the relationships between those spaces and the encounters with people on my way). Where is the studio of the performance artist, when does art occurs where and why does art occur? How are rabbits and oranges essential to this investigation?
The why and the how is restless and is inscribed anywhere in here. This kind of post-structural practice could be said to re-invent on rabbitomatic vertices, on my accounts of spatial conceptions and encountering, storytelling, waiting and walking all practicing bodily limits affecting my state of mind. Then the sculpture evaporates but there is an overflow current taking one through ambiences of spaces I have visited and others vising here for a first time. Those chapters ever-connect and contract every-thing into an undetermined journey of practice. Or, else,. the sculpting is more of an invisible rabbit. business in the mind, and the practice is out in the open37 the explanation of referring to spaces as dynamic entities based on multiple trajectories of relationships created in real time and negotiated by people. 35 ‘We have differently colored clothing; can move; feel, speak, and observe others variously; and will constantly change the "meaning" of the work by so doing. There is, therefore, a never-‐ending play of changing conditions between the relatively fixed or "scored" parts of my work and the "unexpected'; or undete1 ·∙i/lined parts. In fact, we may move in and about the work at any pace or in any direction we wish. Likewise, the sounds, the silences, and the spaces between them (their "here-‐" and "there-‐"ness) continue throughout the day with a random sequence or simultaneity that makes it possible to experience the whole exhibit differently at different times. These have been composed in such a way as to offset any desire to see them in the light of the traditional, closed, clear forms of art as we have known them’ Kaprrow, Allan 1993 Essays on the blurring of Art and Life, editor Jeff Kelley, University of California press, Ltd. London, Endgland, p.11-‐12’ 36 This is the case especially when humans are involved and when new discoveries are accounted for and let in the work to create new trails to an-‐other unknown scopes of the ever-‐changing conditions of our surroundings and of the artist’s mind. According to plan is more the business of the architect the interior designer. The artists develop something that undergoes changes according to conceptions of time, evaluates those changes, why they occurred and the situations in which they occurred. It is moving and shape shifting at all times. 37 ‘What has been worked out instead is a form that is as open and fluid as the shapes of our
25 accompanied by journaling insights created side by side with my explorations. This way of practicing art and the everyday life, is a journey through ambiences and spaces necessary for temporality. The Self is an entity that forms and transforms things and, through that process invents the ever transformational event: one participates in, and this experience must be communicated because of the urgency of the here issues in questions.
It takes a great effort ‘to out’ and practice and it takes even a greater effort to negotiate a work with others (people). Even more so, when in the arts it is not about setting scopes but disrupting38 them (at times) and when human elements are unpredictable business, like rabbits are.39
Rabbitness Rabbitomatic relations do not seek judgments and therefore when I make an affirmation in this text is more the mixture of two or more events together. For me is jumping to the next hole and inside. It is putting my hand, my head and then. my entire body inside, and running through the tunnel of the unknown where I meet all sorts of strangers. and perform all sorts of transformations and encounters with found objects and people. It is at a very everyday experience but does not simply imitate them. I believe that this form places a much greater responsibility on visitors than they have had before. The "success" of a work depends on them as well as on the artist. If we admit that work that "succeeds" on some days fails on other days, we may seem to disregard the enduring and stable and to place an emphasis upon the fragile and impermanent. But one can insist, as many have, that only the changing is really enduring and all else is whistling in the dark’, Kaprrow, Allan 1993 Essays on the blurring of Art and Life (editor Jeff Kelley). University of California press, Ltd: London, Los Angeles, Berkley. p.12 38 even if this means to challenge one self to blend with a crowd as performance-‐invisibilita! 39 It is an enormous effort to communicate, understand and be understood, yet it is natural and gentle. To meander in thoughts and to float in the space of the sounds created between two bodies talking, making sounds, listening sounds, and contracting in a moment… It makes conceptual and physical efforts to the Other (space) in anticipation to make openings for encounter with others (people).
26 slow speed inter-city walking journey; it is walking but slowing down my sensations and becoming more aware of things and people surrounding mebeing attentive to things I otherwise do not observe everyday. Instead, I explore rabbitness situations as an approach to spaces for furthering performance practice in everyday life. In doing so, I invite you and your community to consider situations performed through rabbitness as a personally, politically, people and sensory informed investigations – as methodologies for situations in performance life. This Story provides a way of elaborating on and celebrating the duration of a process in practicing performance life in order to provoke the creation of sites as space transformations of existing landscapes and texts. This is provided as reflective and reflexive attitude to situational investigations of what I refer to as ‘solitary’,‘group’ and ‘participatory’ practices in performance. Walking here (an everyday act) at times can be staged as performance that leads you into entering a new realm in which a non-everyday acts becomes the practice of a new living. Walking as performance act is re-inventing the real, re-considering the ‘real’. One enters the realm of a non-everyday act, and vice versa: the performance of walking journey becomes an everyday life and, exploration is to be found at every second of living. These story-telling-writing is a characteristic of textual and meta- textual connectivity while walking; Making relations is essential for such a methodology of ever-changing situations in the lived. the imagined and the performative event. Occasionally; often; never; sometimes; rarely; all the time.- those cannot be distinguished
The Arrested [as in motion] Walker: Walking as political action Edited by Giannis Stametelous
Is space performed, lived or political? How is lived space performed politically? How is the political performed as lived space? Can lived experience be performed? Can lived experience be performed politically? Is there a human body in space that is not political? How and why is body-space relationship a political issue? Should any of those questions be answered with words?
Here, is worth to know the movement of illegal immigrants crossing the
27 borders to come to Greece by long distance walking and by boats. In this case walking without crossing the borders keeps the illegality of immigration without necessarily to be an immigrant. Immigration is illegal. Walking is illegal. How is immigration happening? Though walking. Since I walk I am offended. Walking shows the potentiality of immigration. Walking is so much strange that I am arrested for walking. Even worse, I am not arrested – I was unlawfully detained and there is no documentation of that. Or, there is but when I go to ask for such possible information, no one seems to know where and how to get it from… I am authority because I can stop movement. I need to capture you, to legitimize you. Same with photography and documentation for performance. The legitimacy of stability of specific positionality. I can control you because you are in a specific position. When you are stable (not moving) you are lawful legitimate person. When you travel, when you are moving – a freedom act, which can really bring revolution, is to move. You are not going to be captured. Walking is against capture. The artist should show the artwork as a political protest. Marx said that the work should be not a voice but a political shout. Without that ‘SHOUT’ art is just a legitimization of the already authoritative powers. Everything becomes obsolete in transience, in constant movement.
Walking, as a way for the immigrant to move from one country to the other and crossing borders could be used as political acts of moving within the same country. Being arrested by the police which represents authority shows the denial of autonomy or the person to move as its own self decision to a particular place. It is an arrest of the mind to move by itself and the justification of authority as a representation of a mind to control the body, to control the will. The autonomy of walking shows the first step to transform space. Being detained for walking shows a traumatic sense of control in our civil society. While walking I am not transforming the place artistically, I am revealing the political dead ends of civic movement. By my attempt to move they are un-walking my civic right to move my body freely by taking left and right steps in space, in nature, on the missing sidewalks… If one is unlawfully detained for deciding to walk 43 kilometers, it seems that there is something strange about a woman walking alone that distance. It reveals also the detainment of the officers in the spontaneity of the act. It was unclear if I was arrested for walking (absurd action in this case,- “not meaningful”) but also for being an alone woman walking that could have possibly awaken their interest as a being. And who am I to judge them for their creative interest in me? However, all in all, their official statement for my detainment was for the suspicion that my Greek residence permit card may be a fake and I need to wait for a reassurance (guilty until proven
28 innocent) and for the suspicion that a woman walking is a their valid suspicion of a spy in the country. When you walk you have an intention a purpose, they don’t want people to walk just because there is no point in walking. Through the capturing I see is serious political issue. Imigrations, walking, time of the day, who walks all other questions related. Walking is not only a threat, is a threat for themselves… but because they have the piatza…
How is then walking used as a political action by artists?
Stories are beginnings and are alike spaces. Spaces are being produced though speculations. To speak of spaces means to account for their enclosed ends and that they are dreamt of, constructed, imagined, concrete, real, etc.40
The problem here is not accounting for space as open, processional, everchanging and made up of multiple trails that are not separate, but are the relationships between multiple fragments being told as stories that are one big story. Being at many places at the same time- is like being at the same place. 41 Another problem with the previous sentence would be that it does not mention anything for social space.
‘The project I am outlining, however, does not aim to produce a (or the) discourse on space, but rather to expose the actual production of space by bringing the various kinds of space and the modalities of their genesis together within a single theory (Lefabvre, p.16)’
29 The problem with space is that is said to be imagined, enclosed and speculated about. The ‘no land’ is not an empty space but it ends up being what one is filling it up with; For a longtime now I have found a provisional home in the far edge of the seas’ fabric- on the line between the two blues, of where you can never go to, full of endless distances you can never go to. The longing for spaceless.
Speculation for performed space These following chapters demonstrate forged speculation for performance and the performance of speculation. They wheel to better understand the relationship between performance and the site of speculation (of here writing text)-‐ of how one forges the other and vice versa. Those spaces are to be understood as performed space while a performance is happening (at all times including writing here). These are experienced through lived spaces of walking and canoeing and are documented as ‘textual sites’, ‘performed spaces’ as ‘lived stories’-‐ all of those performed spaces. This specific speculation for ‘performing spaces’ and ‘lived performance’ is located within the field of experimentations with what is discussed and observed in life for making such a performing work. It draws on years of conversations with strangers, with collaborative group, practice research, and while practicing life in performance art and performance in life. The hereby text is created through an ongoing collection of peoples’ suggestions and and on conversations, and is being sited here to re-‐invent on spaces where I can give life to my work. I later on discuss those within the fluid fields of specific conceptions of spaces, happenings, events, actions, solo performance, group performance in what we may or may not call art. Their aim of my actions and these texts is to overcome the gap between artistic world specific audiences and audiences unfamiliar with performance art. One of the Tbiggest of challenges was to re-‐create and research on referred to as ‘situations for encounter with strangers’, ‘unexpected situations for contact’. The Performance (of walking, texts as sites, lived stories) is observed as a moving site specific work here is again made of multiple relations, spaces, and their exchanges are not foreign to the process of its creation, nor detached to the process of its
30 happening,but as space where this is constantly being forged and speculated about in the ‘here’ text. It is the speculation of performance as an open space for experimentation in art practice, performance as a thinking and documented process in inventiveness of and with spaces, inhabiting those space, moving those spaces (re-‐ organizing), and moving the elements that constitute them: these paragraphs. This essay, is then, the speculation for performative art and how forging speculations invents on relational and more secluded ways to perform spaces. The speculation for performance here refers to performances and speculation constitutes the specific conversation (site) that performance (lived space), the space (meta texts) and this text has including the body of the participants: the performance of speculation on the other hand, it refers to the speculation upon performance. Here, all that will be understood in the context of performance, how performance is understood as relational and spatial work. That is -‐this is a site-‐specific workis at all times moving and re-‐attempting to talk through the politics of living people and spatial considerations, and the possibilities that walking and Sisyphean practices present. This essay therefore considers the performative and the spatiall perspectives informed by specific contemporary texts, spatial theories and artists’ works. Using these texts as references, thematic concerns of spatial practices will be articulated so that a working performative piece if possible, be provided and with its departures to other spaces [and conversations] sited in the ‘Book of the Great Rabbit’. After the meaning of performance art has been explored (in the book) several spatial, walking, public art and practices in walking will be cross referenced with reflections to gain a richer understanding of the possible sources from which performance art and community art develops. What are the reasons for the political consideration of this type of work: in my walks, in my storywalking and within my collaboration with the Guerrilla Optimists. From this knowledge the research chapter ‘ ‘ will strive to demonstrate the following questions: How can we use text(meta) to perform(meta) performance and the performance for spaces and lived performance without taming it to singular thematic considerations, but encompassing encounters with variety of sources, and what kind of meta spaces do these create with the additional research? Everyting in ‘here’ is done with the aim to re-‐consider a new space for my performances while walking and find new ways to relate the creative texts that sprung as a result of the acquaintances with strangers on my ways, on my inter-‐city walks and with concepts in artistic process as research. It is done with the aim to inform performance as relational work; to find the exchange elements between the solitary practices and group interactive projects with other artists and people I meet, the conversation between the various texts I write as a result of my encounters with other researched texts. For this, I will take you through well known seeds of performance practiced in the Dada, Fluxus, spatial considerations coming from non representational theories and human geography, site-‐specific art, public art and relational and perform to re-‐invent a retracing of a moving site specific performance while walking and the relationships invented on my way. Performance (art) is a much more recent concept still under debate, of which, there are numerous definitions and variations from the first known performative stagings as site-‐specific, as public sculpture, to such that initiate community dialogues.
Texts as sites42 42
the site of textuality Some may argue that the problem with writing about performing and sites and the experience of spaces is the very being taken away from that performance of experience that is to re-‐present space and not to experience it. I would rather propose that the entanglement with text and textual analysis is the very site of exploration of spaces their interrelatedness and multiple compositions and the re-‐invention of their co existence create sites and off sites of my experiences with texts. Wiriting about performance here is done as a site-‐specific work, an embodiment of the texts and text is to be understood as habitus: of how to move through the spaces in this text. Habitus here would be to live inside: to open doors, to sit in those, to walk in those, to make sounds with the cutlery and when flushing the water, the sounds of the backgrounds like the bird talking to me from the near by building I can clearly understand when I am standing on the edge of my balcony: we converse. Sometimes I walk in the neighborhood just to talk with the nearby balcony caged animals. They whistle I whisle, They talk I talk back... I wish I had more time to talk with these birds: they make the population of my best freinds. I feel that some very exploaratory conversations can come out of this. But I have to continue walking for now, and at times return to those sites, when on the way I find other paths… Such a site-‐specific work about writing takes upon the inter-‐ and intra-‐ relationality of all elements involded but also those missing in and around the body of the performer. What are the spaces his body inhabits while performing (in life). What are the spontaneous, extra leaking textual spaces his body strays to while writing /performing (in life)? How is that a performed space? The performed spaces of my interest reaches ends of bodily concerns that turn into new beginnings. Every text here is a beginning. The far ends of imagination and those participating elements and people is what at times lines up the thoroughness of space we are looking for in this specifc site. Specifically, the ways in which space is being performed with text and is embarked but not represented there and written about. Principles and bases here would be unthinkable (Bachelard). However, space as performed constellation of multiple elements and their relationships is carefully thought of, discussed and re-‐ invented. Space is the indented spontaneity while walking through varied ambiences in and outside of the city, and the principle of taking unknown roads. That cautions way of writing by no means can be anchored only in principles that allow for imagination to move, change, practice and be re-‐ invented but new unknown pathways are ever-‐started. 42 A departure through which the sites and the events of investigation become apprehended as ‘texts’ (and latter on as – landscape, city space, place ), where ‘the text is seen in terms of the self-‐realisation or contestation of [ideas, ideologies and] identities, is here understood as part of the impulse to not just as a piece of self-‐ realization. This would be a piece taking into consideration our relationships with and the exchanges that append within and with our surroundings (not just in terms of space sound and movement but in terms of interaction between two bodies talking). Here texts are considered as sites but they are sites happening within the site of walking is moving through the ambiences. The text is an Other. This implies invention and duration in both, while the situational its re-‐invention in documentation textual/video in both co-‐creative and solo settings. There is an ongoing speculation about the relationship between these elements aforementioned and they constant movement and negotiation between one another and with others. The more the engagement with it the more relationships and exchanges occur the more of the space explored becomes covered/uncovered and questioned for its alternative modes of creation and the inventiveness that it proposes to its engaged agents. This way seemingly hidden corners become unfolded and moved at a foreground (mystified and demystified). Whereas new hidden corners and more found sites dicovered are uncovered and the feeling of that same space is now changed in its with, breath and complexity. Those newly created corners are also reveled and so the here and the foreground right before and inside the body is changed once again. Each text is considered in relation to itself within the other text but many of those sites of exchanges
Spaces and Places, Sites: Walking through varied spatiality for performed space
This essay is written with the aim to re-‐consider a new site for my walking, canoeing, writing and other Sisyphean43 explorations indexed in a site-‐specific work with an initial fixed location. The aim of tracing theoretical concepts in other writers' works was to find new ways to relate the creative stories that sprung as a result of acquaintances with strangers during my intercity walks with concepts ever-‐leaking inside and outside the initial site in artistic process as research. This way I intend to inform the ephemerality of site-‐specific work and to identify every idea in relation to my discoveries, which is an impossible thing to do. Here, then one will find the record of texts and artist’s works informing the creative texts I write as a result of durational reading across sources and ideas, and my perception of the relatedness between different thoughts and different artists' works. These research and creative texts together inspire the solitary and group actions that currently make up my practice. I explore performed and site-‐related spaces, and their absence as a result of being re-‐ sited to some place else. I discuss the relationship between spatial and walking practices, the logic of nomadism and impermanence in site-‐specific art within the context of contemporary art, itself the reflection of ever-‐changing spaces and ways to perform space. That is to say that the texts serve as a departure. Immigration in and to Greece happens on foot and by boat. Walking is transportation. Walking to the unknown and getting to an island, shows the potential of instability and immigration. Walking and canoeing implies the instability, the impermanence and the ephemerality necessary to a creative act. To move one’s body freely in space shows freedom of will and the spontaneity of the act. Walking is against capture. Walking defies the specificity of positionality. Walking is a departure from an original fixed position. Walking is discontinued by newly arriving thoughts while walking but walking and talking creates the duration and the continuity in which a story is told
are missing because they were experienced and there was not enough time to record them. This texts keeps on pasting themselves in new pages in new configurations starting new beginnings every day anew constantly re-‐cited and re-‐referenced to themselves and with the new investigations. 43 From Jean Marie’s evaluation text
33 through its smaller stories and their connectivity and ways of telling may not be chronological. A smaller story tied to the original story is a departure from the initial story but is also the duration spent in that displacement. The duration spent in the leak of the story related to some place else or to the ‘here’ that departs from the main story is a drift off the initial site and a proximity spent in leaking feelings and extreme details related to the site. Walking to nowhere and in different directions decentralizes ideology of one thematic exploration. Walking through various spaces shows the potential of sampling in a continuum of space. This points to the possibility of re-‐ inventing one's space and context through new arrivals. However that ability to re-‐ invent and access spaces is a privileged position, tied to capital and power, and should not be confused with the creative act of willful displacement – nomadic creative work. What the two have in common is spontaneity and embarking into the unknown, and the practicing of place in unusual ways. What are the physical explorations of such a work and how is walking practice connected with the stories of people one meets on the way and how are their stories leaked back to my explorations? Walking and canoeing are related to immigration because those are the two ways through which people cross borders to come to Greece.
‘[…](to tell one slef’s legends) as practices that invent spaces’, [..] ‘Linking acts and footsteps, opening meanings and directions these words operate […] by emptying out and wearing away of their primary role. They become liberated spaces that can be occupied. Such indetermination gives them […] the function of articulating a second poetic geography on top of the geography of the literal forbidden or permitted meaning.’ Certau, Michel de 1984 The Practice of Everyday Life. The University of California Press Berkley, p.105;p.107.
In her book For Space (Massey 2005)44 the critic Doreen Massey discusses how relationships subject to practical explorations of space are to be found within the conceptual entanglement in the very politics for space. In his essay For Space (Anderson 2008)45 Ben Anderson points to Massey's suggestion to ‘open up the political to the challenge of space’46. In my view this is an opening of the performative to the challenge of space and vice versa. In her opinion, the disruptiveness (performance) of formulations (spaces) opens an alternative inventiveness to view
Massey, Doreen 2005, For Space, 1 (ed.), SAGE Publications Ltd.; Also available [ONLINE] at < http://selforganizedseminar.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/massey-‐for_space.pdf> 45 Anderson, Ben 2008.’ Doreen Massey: For Space’. Phil Hubbard, Rob Kitchin & Gill Valentine (eds). Key Texts in Human Geography. Edition. SAGE Publications Ltd, pp. 227-‐235.; Also available [ONLINE] at < http://www.corwin.com/upm-‐data/18967_26_Hubbard_Ch_26.pdf> 46 Anderson 2008, p.228
34 and perform new spatialities. This way to view space is similar to what de Certau saw in the possibility that performing space is to disrupt its singularity (de Certau 1984). Moreover, Massey’s view of space opens the fluidity and dynamism of spatiality by saying first that space is a sphere ‘of dynamic simultaneity’ (Anderson 2008), ‘constantly disconnected by new arrivals’ (Massey 2003)47, constantly waiting to be determined (and therefore always undetermined [and never closed])’ ‘by the construction of new relations’ (Anderson 2008) (that space is interrelated as constituted through interactions of the newly coming elements). ‘Space is always being made and is always therefore, in a sense, unfinished (except that “finishing” is not on the agenda)’ (Massey 2003). This means that, secondarily, space is the ‘sphere of multiplicity’ because ‘it is made out of numerous heterogeneous entities’ (Anderson 2008). Furthermore, space is the gathering together of multiple open-‐ended, interconnected, trajectories to produce what Massey names as ‘sometimes happenstance’: that is re-‐made (even if this is hidden) by provisional happenstances that may be reached or not (space is open to the ‘throwntogetherness’ of place – the way that a place is ‘elusive’ because it is made out of multiple trajectories and the negotiation of their relations that will always be re-‐invented)(Anderson 2008). Site-‐ specificity, it follows, is found in use as a performed space of multiple relationalities, is always being produced, and so is subject to instability, ephemerality, and temporality revealing the acting out of a perpetually practiced place within a work of single artist. (See note on Miwon Kwon ‘relational specificity’ and Doreen Massey ‘relational spatiality’ i). This way of viewing space is also similar to what Deluze and Guatarri explained as ‘chance convergences forged by encounters and circumstances’. Following Massey’s thought one can speculate that the spatial ‘opens up the political to the challenge of space’ and that it opens up the political to the challenge of the performative. Space ‘opens up the political’ because to think of spatiality is to engage in multiple processes of their very co-‐existences’ (Anderson 2008) 48. Massey writes further that ‘everything is connected to everything else’ and that there are always connections to be made-‐links that may never be established. Space according to her ‘is not a completed simultaneity in which all interconnections have been established, in which every place is already linked to everywhere else.’; ‘There are always loose ends’. If you were to make a map that really had the characteristics of this space, it would be entirely possible to fall through it’ (Massey 2003). Here it is important to note the impossibility of writing everything that there is related to a work of art. Once you attempt writing everything you end up writing about the impossibility to write everything and texts are ever re-‐siting (linked and thus moved) to some place else. However, that linking of things for Massey is not the experience of another place rather it is the experience of a complex here and now evoking histories and memories that make up the very present. (Massey 2005) This is closely related to the reading of a site-‐specific work. A site-‐specific work in this context is made up of events that constitute its meanings and those that re-‐define the process and so new readings of the site are opened up. In his book Nick Kaye quotes Pearson who believes that ‘one can view site as a performance of complex overlaying of narratives, historical and contemporary, [creates] a kind of saturated space, or scene-‐of-‐crime, where [. . .] “everything is potentially important”’49. Doreen Massey’s thinking for space favors new ways to practice the site (as the ‘event of place’)(in accordance with ‘elusive’ multiple trajectories) rather than sticking to the continuity and fixity of an initial claim (Massey 2005). One ends up recognizing the
Massey, Doreen 2003 Some Times of Space In Olafur Eliasson: The Weather Project. Edited by Susan May. Exhibition catalogue. London: Tate Publishing, 107-‐118 [ONLINE] available at < http://www.olafureliasson.net/publications/download_texts/Some_times_of_space.pdf > 49 Kaye, Nick 2000. Site Specific Art: performance, place and documentation.Routhlege:London and N/Y
35 constructive interrelatedness and the potential of situational occurrences. Her idea however makes it seem impossible to establish finite exhaustion of a concept since ‘everything is connected to everything else’. Secondarily, the ‘interrelatedness’ and the ‘negotiation through range of means’ I relate to questions of participation in collaborative group works and as a reflection of how we experience space in the everyday. Here, the dynamics of work and ‘happenstances’ are open to change according to the situational and specific ‘negotiations’ and conversations practiced in relation to a work/the event/the place 50. She points: ‘politics of place would not be simply a politics of ‘community’ but would involve processes of ‘negotiation’ that would confront the fact of difference via ‘the range of means through which accommodation, anyway always provisional, may be reached or not’ (Anderson 2008);(See original text 51). This is closely related to what Tom Finkelpearl’s saw as a ‘nuclei of contradiction’ when discussing the politics of intra-‐group relations, and how a work can be driven by negotiations in a conversation within a group (Finkelpearl 2001)52. That is to say that space is no longer a singular thematic model believed to be the subject of a work, but is instead directed by the material ephemerality of ‘presence’ found in physical movement, and by relational engagement with people’s ideas. The fluidity of such a migratory model for making a work produces possibilities for ‘the production of multiple identities, allegiances and meanings in the encounters of the aforementioned possible circumstances and a work that ever-‐changes according to those circumstances’ [Deluze and Gattari in (Kwon 1997)(Kwon 2004))53. This way of thinking of space is a constant going back and forth between performed space (as in performance art discourse) and lived space (as in everyday life), the nomadic and the ephemeral (the re-‐sited) in the site-‐specific. This understanding that space is a practiced (performed) space and that it presents to us the challenges of place as always open, under construction or constantly being made, is the constellation of multiple relationships between the ever-‐changing trajectories that produce it. This multiplicity means that space is the condition for the spontaneous, improvisational and the unexpected. Consequently, ‘space is an ongoing achievement that is never finished or closed’. Space becomes, therefore, the very
note to myself: This allow for the situational, complex sociocultural and perpetual in making to enter the work as constantly being re-‐made by the stories and by the conditions in which those were made. This is of the characteristic of site-‐specificity today that the site has become aware of the environment ad the context and the players involved. The ‘reasons’ and the conditions of a work are not singular but somehow created in the course of actions. 51 Anderson (2008) writes: ‘Massey offers three practices that follow from opening up the political to the spatial – that is to ‘the challenge of our constitutive interrelatedness’. First, a politics of receptivity that is open to the ‘throwntogetherness’ of place – the way that a place is ‘elusive’ because it is made out of multiple trajectories. Thus a politics of place would not be simply a politics of ‘community’ but would involve processes of ‘negotiation’ that would confront the fact of difference via ‘the range of means through which accommodation, anyway always provi-‐ sional, may be reached or not’. 52 Finkelpearl, Tom 2001. Dialogues in public Art. The MIT Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts London 53 Kwon, Miwon 2004, One Place After Another: site-‐specific art and locational identity, The MIT Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts, London.
36 ground ‘to engage with the existence of processes of coexistence.’ In the context of art this can be a way to view interactive space being produced between humans as a relational situation of exchanges and movements through varied space. ‘Changing place’ Space is no longer a container that is made out of specific processes that constitute it. A space like Rafti island is understood as the changing atmosphere, changing temperature, changing green color of bushes, changing water tides, the changing aquatic life, its temporary network of visitors and the ever changing stories that are in the process of being made by people via memories, experiences and imagination that connect it to some place else. Place is different at different social occasions. This processual and impermanent essence of space (the opposite of static and stable) is used by ethnographers to understand how public space is performed by its temporary participants. Using ‘observational details’ they demonstrate how that same place is performed differently at different times of the day via the different relations and ways of co-‐existence between its participants. Place, then, is the gathering of different so-‐existing situations of a place that are ever re-‐performed by its temporary visitors ‘The event of place’ But how are we in the here and now if everything is moving? Temporality seems a prerequisite for spatiality or else temporality tames spatiality. Thus relationality is an instance and a capturetaking of instantaneous happenstances that may or may not be made. Some connections and links are never established, and the absence of those also constitute the space. The ‘here and now’ for Massey is the very crossing of categories and spaces in social and natural orders. This encounter of diverse elements into relations is a spatial and political challenge of our ‘constitutive interrelatedness.’ In her chapter Elusiveness of Place with the subchapters Migrant Rocks and The event of place she explains that ‘here’ is where the ‘spatial narratives meet up to form configurations, trajectories, meetings, accumulations, encounters, and those have their own temporalities. But this in my opinion means that those are subject to duration, connectivity and continuity. But the returns to temporalities and continuities for her are ‘always to a place that has moved on’. They intersect and weave into one another and create what she names space-‐time. 'Here' is an intertwining of stories which are in constant negotiation. Moreover ‘here’ is space that creates the simultaneity and connections of those stories (Massey 2005). The key, though, is that there are no portable rules because of the uniqueness of place: ‘the negotiation will always be an invention; there will be need for judgment, learning, improvisation’. In this sense site specificity is not only moved under certain circumstances. The whole work is made anew for the new space where new trajectories cross to produce the specificity of that place and its newly created relations. For me her texts open new questions: ‘What is distinct about encounters?’ ‘What are non encounter (solitary practice maybe)?’ How are spaces and places understood as duration spent in them? Why are spaces repeated and endured? Do we need to disclose the constellations of space-‐time that were never made material? How do we do that in a non-‐material way? In his book The Practice of Everyday Life 54de Certau was concerned with the practice of place and, similar to the idea of Doreen Massey, he recognizes that space is disconnected by new arrivals, by ‘ […] fragments of scattered semantic places. These heterogeneous and even contrary elements fill the homogeneous from the story. Things extra and
Certau, Michel de 1984 The Practice of Everyday Life. The University of California Press Berkley, p.107
37 others (details and excess coming from elsewhere] insert themselves into an accepted framework, the imposed order’. One thus has the very [relation-‐ ship] between spatial practices and the constructed one. The surface of this order is everywhere punched and torn open by ellipses, drifts and leaks of meaning: it is a sieve-‐order’ (De Certau 1984)55. These relationships according to Nick Kaye, are to be found also between spatial practices and a site-‐specific work (Nick Kaye 2000)56. They test the stability and limits of these very places with the creative curiosity to disrupt and produce meanings that are unbounded by place. In this sense, ‘the event of place’ is to be found precisely in these ellipses, drifts, and leaks of meaning, through which the artwork and its place may be momentarily articulated one in the other: in its drifting and detournements from the original site-‐inhabiting [to reside] once again in a new space. Nick Kaye further explains that ‘the real site-‐specific works that we do, are the ones where we create ‘a piece of work which is a hybrid of the place, the public and the performance’.57 That is, at moments these texts depart to someplace else. How are the spaces created in this text that I am writing? How are spaces here performed within the ever-‐changing complexity of re-‐siting to some place else and within the here-‐situational negotiation? Where is here if everything is moving at all times? These texts can be understood in terms of the articulated exchanges between the work of art and the conversations between the references that speculate and forge its very meaning are created. The practiced space experience is expressed through the histories of its encounters with the aforementioned concepts documented or not in between the footnotes, endnotes, references, appendices and indexesii5859. The ‘here’ is where these spatial narratives meet up to form encounters with one another and each sentence(s) has its own temporality, duration, continuity and connectivity with other sentences. They are constantly connected to one another but also disconnected to connect with an Other. That is, they are in a continuum that is both connected and disconnected by duration. Each paragraph is ever-‐shifting and can be put next to any other one. When I write, a new space opens and a new relationship is created that takes me closer to somewhere I want to go. I do not know where I am going. The newly written paragraph becomes more specifically closer to where I am going and it pastes itself atop all previously written paragraphs. Then the conclusion can become the introduction as a new context and as a beginning, and this process never stops. The paragraphs are disrupted by the throw-‐allingness of space and are like the impossibility to hold together many things at the same time. De Certau makes a clear distinction between space and place but he also writes that place is a ‘performed space’. In his mind it is possible to disrupt the singularity of space through performing space with actions like walking through the city. (See also note on Lefebvreiii) As will be discussed later Miwon Kwon gives an overview of site-‐specific art, initially tied to the fixed place of its location, and then explains how site-‐specificity is performed through its evolving spatial conceptions. However, she points out that those concepts are not to be understood as evolving one
Kaye, Nick 2000. Site Specific Art: performance, place and documentation.Routhlege:London and N/Y 57 ibid 58 What are the fictional selves that continue to return to inform our sense of location, identity? 59 Can it be said that those fictional selves are means for survival?
38 after the other but by being ever in relational negotiation within a site-‐specific work6061. In that sense relational specificity is close to Doreen Massey's idea of sometimes happenstance and the throwntogetherness of place, as well as De Certaus idea of practiced places. Lastly, Nick Kaye discusses specific concerns and works associated with site-‐specific art hinting to the idea of the ‘reading of the site’, the ‘off site’, the ‘entry to the work’ and ‘non space’ as, understood by Marc Augé.
A ‘site-‐specific work’ articulates itself through qualities or meanings produced in specific relationships between an ‘event’ and a position it occupies, or though its absence from that location. Relational aesthetics have been critiquing spatial theories and public art for its purely theoretical, ethical and political aspects rather than actually applying those ideas among people in lived spaces. There is small emphasis on results consequential to durational participation. These works are invested in the idea of permanence rather than nomadic feeling through situations. How can an ephemeral idea of moving through spaces initiate a durational permanence within changing conversations and contexts? All aforementioned issues call into question the spatial consideration of where the work of art is being made and its very absence from “where it is supposed to be” (off site, non-‐site, lived work). In order to describe surroundings and how people invent relations though spaces and places many anthropologists and philosophers like de Certau (unlike Doreen Massey ) use two oppositional terms to distinguish “place ” and “space”. According to many, place is a static concept without the option of movement, whereas space is lively – it involves the process of arriving anywhere by a person and thus, it is connected with movement.
In The Practice of Everyday Life (de Certeau 1984)62, de Certeau investigates the relationship between ‘place’ and ‘space’ and their distinction space (espace) and place(lieu). ‘[ [A] place (lieu) is the order (of whatever kind) in accord with which elements are ordered in ‘relationships of coexistence’ and thus are ‘an instantaneous configuration of positions’. This ‘implies an indication of stability’. Contrary to place he refers to a space as ‘composed of intersections of mobile elements’.63iv Contrary to place de Certeau’s states that ‘space is a practiced place’.
The possibility of a work can be understood through the trajectories of its ever-‐relating successful contexts. He starts from the idea that site-‐specific work tied to its original fixed location, to concerns about the presence of the artist body in the work, to the site moving to the space of conceptual discourse, to the site being the relationships between the artist and the instruction or the social to the site. All ways to see site specificity is in my view practicing a kind of removal from the site). One can provide a provisional understanding that the nomadic and ephemeral in specificity, which is to practice a removal from the work but the initial fixed site, is a needed index to the work (like the island and intercity walking and this text here and my creative walking stories). His concerns are closely related to presence, originality, authorship and transferability of the site-‐specific work. 61 They move us to the idea that encounters in long terms. This hints back to idea of relational art that any site is a potential place for a work and the all relationships made count and that the work can happen with more relaxed settings of the everyday where the audience and the artist resort to actions akin to everyday but also create common spaces (more sedentary) with audiences-‐ a space for dialogue. 62 Certau, Michel de 1984 The Practice of Everyday Life. The University of California Press Berkley. Also available [ONLINE] < http://www.melaniecrean.com/interface2010/wp-‐ content/uploads/2010/08/deCerteau_PracticeofEverydayLife.pdf> 63 ibid
39 Place, like language he believes is the production of a system of specific rules that produce meaning according to their location. The ways though which a practice obtains its place [lieu] at a very specific position makes it conceptually impossible for two things to be at the same location [place] in that order of ‘place’. However, he sees the regularity and stability of place disrupted though the possibilities in ‘spatial practices’ and calls into question ‘the effect produced by the operation that orient[s] it’. Practiced place according to him does not reorganize fragments within a given order but simply operates on ordering activities like walking, listening, watching. However, the incompatibility he perceives can perform the various possibilities of a single space. Writing, the act of talking, thinking and walking situated in the present change into somethings else because they transform through its successive contexts and through the newly created meanings leaking from them being practiced. According to him ‘the constructed street by urban planning (place) is in the process of being transformed into space by walkers’. This makes walkers possible participants in the construction of social space and brings practical questions such as the access to public spaces. This means that he brings into question how perpetual journeying resists the stability of place. The immense social experience of walking into the city multiplies the transient nature of spaces. De Certau ‘identifies that there is a population of passers-‐by’, a ‘network of temporary citizens’ ‘that are approved (ordered language) by the architecture and the pedestrian traffic and that they are going ‘to nowhere’ they are in symbolic ‘dreamed of places’.64 In the same way, the act of writing and reading is the production of a performed space; the act of walking is the practice of movement through particular places. Following this though, the disruption of contextualizing and the disruption of the classic ways to write through a stability of continuity and relationships makes it possible to overcome the tradition of economic writing (associated with efficiency in capitalist culture) and opens up the participation of non-‐trained writers, migrants, bodies to participate in writing as a creative act through which they can articulate the very circumstances of their living. Performative practices in art since1917 (Dada, Fluxus, Situationists International), the manifestations of ‘walks to nowhere’. ‘detournments’, happenings, events, situations provides us with interesting examples of ‘relationship to site’, ‘the absence of location’ , movement through ‘varied ambiences’ off site, ‘works without logic’, ‘non spaces’ and questions about where the site of performative work is to be located. The earliest documented explorations of non-‐site specific art works can be found as early as the Dadaists, who operated on the streets in their multiple locations throughout Europe. Dada can be considered as the first manifestation of performance, of an off-‐ site work, and that of a community-‐creation oriented work. The Paris Dadaists led a series of "excursions and visits" to places that had "no reason to exist," as explained in the flyer and public invitation published in several newspapers to announce the visit (Demos 2010) 65.
The practice of the here, the spoken world resist place and even the symbolic participates in this movement because it can never be set in order according to its fixity. The symbolic is tamed to lacking a place because representation is itself the lack of its object. From this follows that a ‘real place’ is not to be found in presence which though does give us conceptual liberation to do it in language-‐ as a meta space. 65 Demos, T.J. 2010. Dada’s Event. Communities of Sense, ed. Jaleh Mansoor et al., Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press; Also available [ONLINE] < http://www.ucl.ac.uk/art-‐ history/about_us/academic_staff/dr_tj_demos/further_publications/Demos-‐DadaEvent.pdf>
40 ‘Only areas considered not picturesque, nonhistorical-‐or at least not conventionally historical-‐and unsentimental would qualify for Dadaist tours, beginning with St.Julien's abandoned courtyard, which-‐although it was situated next to the oldest standing church in Paris-‐existed in a state of disrepair and was then mistreated as a garbage dump by residents of the fifth arrondissement’ […] ‘They do so most commonly, as is well understood by now, to critique the false autonomy of art, which is shown to be fully immersed within capitalist institutions, and to create spaces of sociability different from those enmeshed within a reality perceived to be domininated by commercial spectacle and its reified social relations (ibid). The idea of movement through sites and places was later embarked upon by the Situationists,who ‘challenged people's passive conditioning with […][the] playful tactic of detournement’ Dérives is a technique of ‘rapid passage through varied ambiences’. It involves playful-‐constructive behavior and awareness of psycho-‐geographical effects, and claims [to be] if different from the classic notions of a journey or stroll (Debord 2014, initially written in 1985) 66. Space cannot produce the ‘stability of its place’. To walk is to be absent of place. From this it follows that movement without destination (arrival site) is against stability. A pedestrian walker processes multiple spaces and re-‐formulations of linguistic and experiential spaces. 67The walker’s experience of being aware of himself performs the space through the ever-‐changing stories that re-‐site it as he walks with his body.
Performing Spatialities: Walking Practices See list of Walking works68
Debord, Guy 2014 ‘Theory of the Dérives’ [originaly created 1958]in Bobsecrets.org;Situationists International Online [ONLINE] Available at: < http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/2.derive.htm >; < http://www.cddc.vt.edu/sionline/si/theory.html > [Accessed 15 February 2014]. 67 note to myself: To walk means no stability but to walk is to be absent of a place and in between the re-‐siting of the multiplicity of experienced spaces. 68 Vito Acconci, Following Piece (1969) New York City Janine Antoni, In Migration Tristan Tzara, Excursions & Visites Dada / Premiere Visite (1921) Paris Francis Alÿs in The Green Line (1995) Jerusalem, The Collector, Honoré d’O, Duett (1999) Venice Tsai Ming-‐Liang ‘Walker’ 2012 Marina Abramović and Ulay, The Lovers – The Great Wall Walk (1988) China Guy Debord, The Naked City (1957), Paris Tehching Hsieh, One Year Performance (1981) New York City Pilgrim, Peace (1992), b. in 1908-‐1981, Peace Pigrim (adopted name) is a spiritual teacher and an activist. She walked across United States for entire 28 years devoting her entire life to writing for, walking and encountering the strangers on her unknown routes and experiences. Yyoi Kusama Walking Piece New York City Alex Villar, Upward Momility Valie Export, Body Configurations
41 The following material is obtained from the flyer announcing the exhibition Walking in the City: Spatial Practices in Art, from the Mid-‐1960s to the Present curated by Melissa Brookhart Beyer and Jill Dawsey, and brought to my attention in a workshop in Berlin by Nicolás Dumit Estevéz also available here. It is based on de Certau’s chapter Walking in the City 69. His idea of lived experience within the city is ‘inhabited by walkers’ and is here used by artists to comment on built architecture enforced by urban progress. As noted in the flyer “Walking” in this exhibition is used as substitute for other spatial practices closely related to it like standing still, loitering in the city and encountering people while walking. Their performances introduce new language and new voices to talk about their newly created spatial system-‐ as a commentary on the existing one. “They point to the heterogeneity of lived experience, a global unevenness articulated locally through the stubborn insistence of the body. “ One of the works featured in this event was Yoyoi Kusama’s Walking Piece during which she walked through Manhattan under her flower parasol wearing her kimono. She points to the state of being a stranger, an immigrant, and the status of her body as point of difference in the city. During the walk she encounters a stranger-‐ a homeless man. This act works by looking for a different kind attachment to the city and to a pointing to a population of people that already live there in migration mode, practicing the city as a way of living.
David Wojnarowicz photographed Brian Butterick, disguised as phantasmagoric figure exploring somewhat promiscuous and abandoned city’s spaces: underneath bridges, piers, red light districts, run-‐down apartments. He declares ‘a right to a public life for marginalized groups and their refusal to be removed from urban reality’. Valerie Tevere’s project, A Preliminary Guide to Public and Private Space in Amsterdam, is a mapping of Amsterdam ‘based on citizens’ perceptions of private and public space’. She interviews residents to gain their perspective on how they think of these spaces and how they practice the city as individual walkers by asking them which paths they take. She looks at how people find ways to navigate regulated public spaces. I've selected three of the works featured in the flyer because they resonate with the unfolding of my work, Lazarka: Bulgaria, Lovech -‐ Greece, Porto Rafti, From one place to another, here within elsewhere where I walk in the city without the Lazrka costume but with my identification card,and encounter the police who bring me to the police station where I discover a tv with a live feed-‐ a real time screening of the population of arrested deviants living in an under ground police cell. Through this action I ask questions about access to public space within the migrants rights to the city, to their
Kim Soja, Needle Woman Sophie Calle, Suite Venitienne (1979), The Sleepers, The Shadow (1981), Address Book (1983), The Telephone Booth Grigoris Lamprakis-‐ a person walking with the flag of Greece and a peace symbol that was latter on joined by spontaneous followers on the road and mysteriously killed shortly after, believed to have been a political murder. 69 Certau, Michel de 1984. ‘Walking in the City’ in The Practice of Everyday Life. The University of California Press Berkley; Also available here <http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/rogerbb/classes/berlin/de%20certeau.pdf>
42 bodies and the right to my body. This work turns into another work which is a protest against arrested spontaneity in the act of walking, and a protest against the unlawful detainment of refugees in Athens. These refugees don't have the right to identification cards and thus no rights to their own bodies. As part of the immigration process, sometimes waiting for their legal papers can take years during which time they can neither leave nor stay in the country legally. v The rabbit doesn’t is another work-‐ a phantasmagoric figure that inhabits space and the right to the city as a rabbit rather than as a stranger/immigrant. The body of the rabbit does not become a point of difference but an encounter for small talk. The rabbit acts as human walks through the city’s hidden corners and most public spaces like the metro and cafes and encounters people and reflects upon the nomadic in the conceptions that world presents to us. Identities then can be understood as stories of self-‐realization, as fictional selves but also as our relationships within the exchanges that append and index within and with our surroundings. The third work comes out of the stories I write and collect about Rafti Island as well as about people I encounter during my city and intercity walks-‐ not so much to gain a perspective for navigating public space there but as an intervention of their connections to the island in my work. I pose the question about how to let their suggestions and perspectives direct the decisions in “my” work. Or else, how is it that strangers and imaginaries can direct the work?
The walker is in a constant process of performing the continuous and contingent of practiced spatiality -‐ walking to it, getting to it, and anticipating it. The anticipation and the perpetual getting to the original site is re-‐sited in the becoming site: the site of the process to there. This means that there is the possibility that even the site to get to, is constantly referred to, sited from some place else and at first sight excludes the possibility of being in the present. How are those conceptual limitations of space challenged through artists’ practices? Is it in the very presence of a body in space? 70 71 Moving though a place or a space would allow for the simultaneity of sensual experience, however those places again can be referred to as the fragmented space of ‘other spaces’ (as spaces coming from other places) like the site of hearing, the site of vision, the site of talking, the site of the background etc. 72 This means that space is in the constant process of a way of conscious reading being made across the sites of sensual experience, the site of speech, the site of walking, the site of talking, the site of writing, the site of sensing. 73 Those spaces can be considered as a walking across
This suggests to art practitioners that a possibility of being present in the work is to be found in the immediate artistic practices of the happening of the walking, the happening at the site and defying the previous conceptual limitation with the physical action. 71 Resonates also in Sophie Calle when she gives her stories to be edited by professionals. The conceptual layer expressed in the ‘textual’ can allow room for re-‐creation of the performed space to be re-‐performed as a textual story, that initial performance can be written on top. 72 Maybe moving across those could bring some reconciliation within the site of re-‐citing and re-‐ placing their original site of creation within one another, or the very opposite -‐of practicing the experience of a singular activity at a time. 73 This can further be downsized to the site of saying one word, one gesture, one bell ring, or the durational tying and untying of shoes bracketed in boundaries of time to be analyzed as a succession
43 sites that constitute the experience of being conscious of that presence at the same time, making and experiencing those connections. Janine Antoni focuses exactly on that tension between the process of work being made and its finished product. She uses her body, as a site for experimentation with attention to body parts as tools, utilizing her mouth, hair, and eyelashes to perform everyday activities to create her work. In her Migration (2000) video –documentation of a performative action (mentioned here) she walks along the beach leaving footsteps while being followed by another pair of feet of Paul Ramirez Jonas fitting within another’s wet footsteps in the sand (capture of work). Janine Antoni explores territories of a human condition and that of the body to document the histories of her own body though the use of ephemeral everyday walking. Her action suggests a relationship between her body and the ephemerality of the everyday, and also her body’s relationship to another’s body. The two artists’ relationship mentioned above point to a whole other invisible world of bodies' communications. Francis Alÿs (a transnational artist working in Mexico) works' major focus is the act of moving through cities, countries, locations and spaces. The nomadic aspect in his work is expressed as the act of walking through urban spaces and how this is documented becomes central to the work. His video work Railings (2004)74 depicts the artist walking through the streets of London, sliding a wooden drumstick on the enclosed fences (click here to listen as your read) of properties he passes by to create a sound that articulates a performance of boundaries within public spaces and outlines how spaces are regulated through man-‐made urban architecture. However his childish and playful act asks us to consider the re-‐invention of public build borders in a creative way as a child would do: he makes a sound piece and a journey into the city unbound by its regulations, signifying its limits and making a subverted entrance for the viewer to enjoy a seemingly playful act that is nevertheless loaded with issue of anonymous borders. Another of Alÿs’ performance was the gathering of 500 volunteers in Peru to move a sand dune a few inches to the side-‐ problematizing his role in the organization of the piece. Also, this work is the very event of place where a seemingly impossible and absurd act takes place-‐ people moving a sand dune. Again this act, alike the previous, activates the romanticism of fairytales and children's play. He ensnares us in both a collective absurd and the power position of artists to make people ‘move mountains’ and in this way also exposes the seductive possibility in the impossibility of creative practices 75 76. In his performances The Green Line and The Leak we see him dripping green paint from a can -‐ a work he did at different places (São Paolo and Jerusalem (1995 and 2004) and Paris (links to video works of the walking performances) This way he calls into question the different meaning that a work acquires according to its geo-‐location. Thus the forces that define and contextualize the understanding of a work of art are made graspable when thinking of those works in relation to one another. Finally, Alÿs work comes to re-‐invent ‘its’ place in these public spaces allowing its own spaces to remain ethnographic backgrounds, realized in events of walking and practices which counter public space access with unexplored spaces and actions. In this sense, Francis Alÿs' spatial explorations obtain a specificity to site by producing a kind of negative space, where the ‘pedestrian’ becomes aware of one’s own performance in the city. Francis Alÿs also becomes the author, a trickster
and as interconnectedness of spaces one experiences: the background noise space, the noise form trying the shoes, the noise from speaking body. 74 Railings http://www.francisalys.com/public/railingsfitz.html 75 Faith Moves Mountains http://www.francisalys.com/public/cuandolafe.html 76 Potts, Jonh 2014, ‘The Theme of Displacement in Contemporary Art’. Erea reviews. [ONLINE] Available at: < http://erea.revues.org/2475 > [Accessed 15 February 2014].
44 mastermind figure, that subverts actions associated with space and uses walking to problematize connections we make with spaces to reveal their hidden sociopolitical load. He doesn’t struggle to find agency within the regulated spaces – he exposes their confines and plays with them. Other examples of long standing walkers are Tehching Hseih and Peace Pilgrim. Tehching Hseih announced his One Year performance 1981-‐1982 out in the open to the readers of a single document and a single picture promising that he will not enter any enclosed area for the period of one year, including vehicles. He practically lived one year within the experiences that the outside and the streets presented to him. Though he used movement and walking to complicate his participation in open space he also problematized the relationship of the moving site (his body) with the transferability/nontransferability of mass produced art objects. He leaves us disconnected from our fictions of what may have happened to him during that time in terms of survival, strolling, access to public space for sleeping and the like because we cannot experience the work unless we do it. Even if we do it we will be subject to other specific circumstances one cannot contain in a fore-‐seeing plan, unlike his previous one-‐year piece from 1978 in which he lived in one cell-‐room solitary confinement. Activist Peace Pilgrim, on the other hand, walked for an entire 28 years in the open across the United States, traversing state borders. She walked and slept in trenches but wrote about her attachment to the instability of the circumstances that such a journey presented to her (book available here). She faced different rules for access to space from state to state, even encountering some in which walking and strolling were prohibited. Yet she found a home in the transitory state of movement. She also found home in talking to strangers she encounters on the road, those who offer her accommodation, and even the police that picked her up for illegal walking. By walking without knowing what people and spaces may offer her, she disengaged from people's pasts and insisted on experiencing the moment of encounter as a deeply appreciated, shared interaction with her surroundings.
The wanderer and time as public space problem In the article The Theme of Displacement a range of artists gathered to refer to the critique of our modern capitalist society, but also to show how this is subverted by the practice of walking and how that displacement occurs in modern capitalist society through the prism of art in the very ‘spaces of its production’. John Potts refers at the begining of the article to the theorist and curator Nicolas Bourriaud who views the times we live in as “altermodernity” comprising a “translation-‐oriented modernity”. ‘Such a culture must be “polyglot”, because “the immigrant, the exile, the tourist, and the urban wanderer are the dominant figures of contemporary culture” and we live in a “globalized culture busy with new syntheses” [...]. ‘The global network becomes a space of exchange, of diverse representations of the world, in which translation of ideas and representations places a crucial role in “discussions that will give rise to a new common intelligibility’ (Pott 2013)77. Contrary to this idea, site-‐specificity has been resisting transferability and the nomadic model as a way to overthrow the power of capital but has lately re-‐considered new ways to transfer a site-‐specific work as a resistance for the same reasons. Such concerns open up questions of access to spaces and places, not just their possibility to transform knowledge into something else but to make visible the dead ends of current capitalist ideologies as a bodily problem.This is a problem within and for the human body affecting its spatial, temporal and creative borders. Walking to nowhere in this context then challenges political and national
45 ideologies of ‘putting the people into a certain frame of mind’, concrete destinations and inverts the dead ends as well as the mythological ‘conditions of possibility’ of modern capitalism earlier questioned by the Frankfurt School.78 Today, in my neighborhood there is no unified public, social, or cultural space because of complex cultural and economic powers controlling our time and space. Because of the time needed to accumulate the capital needed for survival, space and time are being made obsolete and less effort and less physical movement is favored. That specific lack of movement is fairly addressed by Rebeca Solnit through her longstanding writing that resembles walking.vi The more we see the lack of movement and the more we see others and ourselves busy, the more we get used to the idea that the ways in which we live in houses and operate within limited movement (in containers of rooms) and affected by technology, the more we think that this ways of movement and experiencing spaces are natural. People park as close as possible to the entrance door. These time and space concerns are directly co-‐related to creative practices in art. Art is a complex and vast subject related to many elements, players, philosophies and ways to talk, walk and move the body. The capitalist containment of time enforces extreme limitations to finding the time to make and talk and ‘to space art’. Durational walking within this context is the very making of space and time for artistic exploration. Many artists are time-‐oriented and interactions are tamed down to quick and condensed feedback answers (as opposed to complex, meandering, disparate walks to nowhere, without points and unknown subjects of explorations), to an economy of words limiting artistic expression and creative interrelations. This condensed way of doing things is in direct conflict with how time has become a public spatial problem, which is, at heart, the great obstacle to making art, and making time for art in the contemporary world 79. I speak of an art based on exploratory practices. We are ourselves durational creatures. Capital and attention and time and meaning in our life have been given to the things that hold the greatest results-‐ often putting us in a position of someone not having time for meandering, talking to strangers, or just walking to nowhere. We are now, even in the art world, timed, scheduled, on the goal, success-‐oriented and thus alienated, especially with audiences not art-‐related. Questions of time problematize the ability to develop long-‐term relationships with site and/or audiences, or to create integrative spaces for socially isolated individuals that previously did not have access to art creative practices. This time problem is especially crucial when considering projects born out of developing relationships with audiences. The great challenge for the artist whose work is made through those interactions with “audience-‐participants” is very much related to inventing space, time and capital for re-‐occurring interactions with them. Traces of such concerns can be found in the discussion on the evolution of conceptions for site-‐specificity as Kwon Suggests in her book One Place After Another, discussed later in this essay. One may consider a walking body and its surrounding as an event of place. To adhere to chance-‐to-‐chance and unknown encounters is both a performance and a lived space. This opens up several sites for the work: the body as site, the relationship between a moving body and the speculations the body engages in while walking, and even the conversation between two bodies-‐walker and stranger (a situation as a site, a conversation as a site, a situation for contact as a site). Stability of a single space and
Time-‐success-‐ individuation. Time as public space problem and obstruction to making contemporary art. 79 For example I cannot feedback a work within five minutes and even if i am asked to do so for an artistic research I would turn to addressing the limitations of this approach, though i understand that this spatial problem comes from the high price for survival in contemporary and the displacement of art from leisure into profession/labor, which at first place occurred for the exact reason of legitimizing time for art. However, there are many programs in arts that favor the time of the artist and allow room for the collaborative design of spaces where profound discussions and succession of relationships with an audience can be created and deeply investigated.
46 even time becomes obsolete during moving activities: walking, canoeing, writing, paddling, and talking. This points straight to questions between site-‐specificity and mobility. How one inhabits and moves through spaces -‐ the very question of access to those spaces-‐ is always affected by global and mass-‐production society, by ideological powers and the time [and stamina] we have to engage with those.
The Reading of site In the book One Place After Another: site-‐specific art and locational identity Miwon Kwon discusses site-‐specificity in the context of public art and how its sociopolitical ambitions have been imagined in the last decades. Within the last 40 years of public art she discusses 3 distinct cases: art-‐in-‐public-‐space, art-‐as-‐public-‐space and Suzanne’s Lacy ‘new genre’ approach. The first two are considered ‘public’ because they are legitimate art in public outdoor locations, and they can be accessed by the public freely in city plazas, public streets, airports, parking lots and the like. Those were the 1960s and 70s modernist abstract sculptures that are enlarged replicas of works normally found in museums and galleries. Their function would be ‘an aestheticized vision of an object inserted in space and would enhance the aesthetics of the space’ as well as be little if at all concerned with the qualities of the site (here the concerns for the site are limited to the physical architectural entity in the space and the formal qualities of the site) (Kwon 2004). 80
Kwon, Miwon 2004, One Place After Another: site-‐specific art and locational identity, The MIT Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts, London.p.82
47 The suggestion that a work is tamed to its location (site-‐specific) is directly related to the idea of public art from the 1960. The interpretation that to move the work or to re-‐ place it and to make it something else as discussed by Miwon Kwon through the example of the famous Tilted Arch. According to the artist the work created in public space acts a commentary on that specific site reflecting and returning the gaze back to the people working close by. This work was not to be site-‐readjusted but was conceived to re-‐structure that specific site (the Federal Plaza) conceptually and as a critique of the very people working there. But according to those working and living around it, it was not wanted. This came to be in complete conflict with ideas of conceptually integrating the audience.
Whereas community based public practices since the1960s have been named by Suzanne Lacy “new genre public art”. They reside in the ‘intensive engagement with the people of the site, involving direct communication and interaction over an extended period of time’(Kwon 2004). The ambivalent result of the Tilted arch raised important questions about engagement with the site as a discourse rather than a succession of practical decisions coming from the people who constitute the site. As noted by Suzanne Lacy, art-‐specific concerns ‘had little bearing on the lives of the people who constitute the actual reality of the site. In the introductory chapter Cultural Pilgrimages and Metaphoric Journeys in her book Mapping the Terrain she writes ‘what exists in the space between the words public and art is an unknown relationship between artist and audience, a relationship that may itself become the artwork’. ‘In short, the dialogue moved from knowing more and more about what art was to wondering about what life was, the meaning of life’ 81.
In his attempt to disclose the role of social participation within the context of art, the French critic and museum curator Nicolas Bourriaud named it Relational Art. At the heart of this kind of relational aesthetics was the function of the ways in which artists, viewers, environment, and objects participate and interact. What is persuasive about relational art is that, by calling into question human relations it announces that all spaces are potential sites for artistic explorations in themselves. This way human interactions and the social circumstances fall into the assertion of independent form of spaces; independent from the institution or the very relationships with the institutions is the site in question. Miwon Kwon explains that by saying that the ‘site falls into its literal space’, this includes communication with curators and interactions with people in the everyday (Kwon 1997);(Garland 2010)’ 82. In many social occasions relational performances are mundane acts. The work of Rikrit Tiravanija prepares Thai food for the exhibition’s visitors reflects and creates the situation in which art is created and observed (ibid). Another such instance is his film Chew The Fat 2008 which is a conversation between the artist and his friend in
Lacy, Suzanne 1994, Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art. Bay Press: Seattle, Washinton. p.26 82 Garland, Vaughn 2011, Releasing space: relational aesthetics and the making of the artist removed from the work, [ONLINE] Available at: <http://www.vaughngarland.com/UnpublishedTexts/FINAL%2005-‐12-‐ 2011%20Vaughn%20Garland%20Final%20Relational%20Aesthetics%20Releasing%20Space.pdf> [Accessed 15 February 2014].
48 New York 83. The work is a relaxed situation in which a conversation can flow. While Relational Art seems too ordinary or unqualified to count as an artistic experience, Bourriaud’s arguments make room for an art that references the social environment and the process by which all art becomes a commodity. In that sense it is much like the multiple relationships between the spaces it inhabits, it is much like new genre's concerns of ‘where is the site of importance’ and the possible entry to the work for the participants. Successions of public art such as new genre and relational athletics pose a major question for the ability to invent social space and its ability to “invite”. Also, the 'site’ of the work is reconsidered not as object or a research but as an event of interaction, or the event of ethnographic observation translated into the living world and self-‐defying when translated into the art world. While radicalism introduces different approaches for (art/site/community) making, ‘for duration (re-‐visiting the site) approach’ addresses ways to relate and connect to the site and how is it performed. In non-‐art scenes (relational, everyday, experimental but outside of a gallery and museum context), work with other artists and inhabitants of a site would entail many critical tasks, but mainly that the actions and their negotiation are complex and ever changing. There is always a tension between the discursive site of artistic theory and an ideology of the artist, with that of the community not affiliated with art. Specifically, here I will refer to my engagement in the one-‐year Public Dreaming project with the Guerrilla Optimists at Omonia Square. The project manifested as steady engagement with the public square every week. Sleep actions, napping at the square, manifestoes and meeting its inhabitants was at the heart of our project supported through the everyday exchange of dreams via emails (for one year) among group members (Jennifer Nelson, Amalia Charikiopoulou, Alexandros Georgiou and Manos Tsatiris). The actions of choice are the result of intra-‐ group negotiations about how we could develop that project on Public Dreaming. This lead to somewhat more steady weekly visits to the site. In other words, the work was not preconceived but developed in the course of our actions. (See a detailed dicussion of this initiative in the Chapter Group Concerns entirely devoted to this project, observed as a case study towards the end.) Another project that involved the engagement with the audience (but an audience that was mostly never affiliated with art prior to the project) over a less extended period of time was Hymn to Freedom organized by Jennifer Nelson. The Hymn To Freedom action, involved the bringing together a group of immigrants, including myself, in an artist's studio in the center of Athens to work with a musician on a weekly basis -‐to study and learn the Greek anthem. The idea was that we would learn the Greek anthem and sing it in front of the Supreme Court in Athens. For me this act was about both finding an attachment to each other and a peculiar protest concerning our belonging to this country in the minds of others. However mainly it created a sense of interaction and community with the other participants. (See detailed description of how this project evolved and specific circumstances in which it was developed herevii). Many community and participatory-‐oriented projects start with the concern of how one encounters and invites participants, or else how one creates an entry into the work for others that can be maintained afterward. Of course those concerns depend
Chew The Fat 2008. Film. Directed by Rirkrit Tiravanija [ONLINE] available at: < http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1680695/> [Accessed 10 February 2014].
49 on the audience involved, and so when one works with people not affiliated with art, the action could be one where the public perceives the work as performing some useful task. The question about the action of course depends on many factors, and is indeed problematized by the authorship of the artist, how much he is willing to diffuse the work to his or her collaborators, and how willing they are to work on it. The notion of entry into a work was described by public artists and was expressed in creating shadings and spaces for seating so that it can be used by the audience, That idea of “inviting” audiences is associated with site-‐specific works and it creates a physical and public commitment. (Kaye 2000)84 According to Kwon ‘Space as a social experience, communal scope, individual response, may insure a larger measure of support.” In these critics’ writings of the early 1980s, physical access or entry into an art work is imagined to be equivalent to hermeneutic access for the viewer’ Kwon 2004 )85 . Today we see the usefulness of the piece in which Suzanne Lacy took the idea of engaging with audience, where her work was entirely based on the ideaof meeting the inhabitants of the place. A material documentation of this work shows Lacy shaking their hands. Another project based on engagement was taken upon Nicolás Dumit Estevéz and María Alós to create a museum from pockets of passers by. For his current Let’s Meet at the Bridge, art and life experience, 2011-‐ present, he goes to Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina) to Meet the People . They participated in gatherings and celebrations bringing togetherpeople from both sides of a bridge in a city that was separating the inhabitants. ‘Estévez also acts as a cultural conduit, bridging people he has met with specific places in their town or inviting them to bridge their histories and memories through conversations’ (more information on his work here) Similarly Jennifer Neslon and Dimitris Kotsaras bought products from the supermarket and created a chance map to knock on people's doors and cook for with them while engaging in conversations about [anything including] the changing demographics of their neighborhoods, producing a Limerick Cookbook from the histories of their encounters that included drawings of children, maps of their movement within the city, and their conceptual entanglement with the sites they visited and the relationships they created during their cooking experiments. The relationship becomes a very specific set of recipes ‘actually on behalf of’ 86the ephemerality of conversation, as if the conversation becomes a tension between intelligible matter of choreographed steps to be taken and the unknown route they will take to reach an unknown house according to a chance map that helps them fall through someone’s door. Someone performs the entry into the work by accommodating the [unexpected] artists in his home. The exchange and an assumed relationship is reversed: the artists bring food, the people fill in details on the situational and the sociopolitical context in which the people of the neighborhood live.
‘Here, ‘the site is a place where the work should be but isn’t’ [..];the site appears in the promise of its occupation by the Non-‐Site, where a recognition of the site assumes the absence of the work, [..] Indeed, the Non-‐Site’s site-‐specificity is an effect of this
Kaye, Nick 2000. Site Specific Art: performance, place and documentation.Routhlege:London and N/Y 85 Kwon, Miwon 2004, One Place After Another: site-‐specific art and locational identity, The MIT Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts, London. 86 Conversation with Jennifer Nelson
50 contradiction, in which the work and the site threaten to occupy, and be [linked in, the same precise place (ibid, p.93)’ The interior space of a work (inside the site -‐outside the site) can be explained by taking into consideration the exterior circumstances of its presentation, and that very comparison of an ‘interior space’ to ‘exterior space’, one may argue, is the illusion of access. There is a fictional tension created between the ‘real space of the work ’and what is ‘outside of it. That relationship falls into confusion then a relationship between the elements is revealed to the viewer. If space is to be mapped as spatial (from single to multiple complex), temporal (from permanent to temporary concept) and social (private-‐ public spaces) the work of Hector Zamora [would be a kind of departure from the physical site of the artist’] falls into the discursive sites of private -‐public spaces. Héctor Zamora´s work 87 lies outside the conventional and institutional exhibition ‘space, reinventing it’, generating oppositions and pressure between ‘organic and geometric’, ‘real and imaginary’ 88 He addresses the discursive site in which the viewer is engaged in the reading of the site. Specifically, how is space conceptualized and what kind of disruptions is he installing to speculate on the function of spaces and the objects he inserts? He often uses public unconventional spaces, and a big part of his creative acts turn into a bureaucratic quest for permits. His parasitic structures filling in between buildings, grow out of their confines, and spill out of windows (See Zeppelin Swarm89) always unfitting or outfitting the space and, in other occasions completed without the sanction of the local government, what his objects acquired is a mass-‐produced sense, economic crisis and the symbol of excess.909192 Vito Acconci performed his removal from the gallery in Following Piece 1969, when he followed different strangers on the streets everyday, and documented this in his notes and with a photograph of him following some-‐one. In Seedbed his body was displaced under the floor of the gallery where the artist masturbated and the audience could hear some of his mumbling to imagine the rest of the act. Once more he removed his body from the gallery's central space and lets the viewer watch a video feed of him (Claim excerpts 1971) from someplace down below the gallery space. Squatting in a corner with a crowbar, the site appears in the promise of his occupation by the Non-‐ Site (the feed)-‐site(his space in the corner). A recognition of the site assumes the absence of the work. Staking claim to his territory, he tries to hypnotize himself through language into an obsessive state of possessiveness: ‘The talk should drive me into a state where everything is possible.’93
Hector Zamora web-‐site: http://www.lsd.com.mx/
See http://www.labor.org.mx/wp-‐content/uploads/downloads/2011/07/Carpeta-‐Hector-‐ Zamora.pdf and from redcad Héctor Zamora: Panglossian Paradigm, accessed on Sunday, July 21, 2013 to Sunday, September 1, 2013
see also Pedro Gomez (double interactions) http://www.pedroreyes.net/07.php?szLang=en&Area=work&SubArea=07 92 See also Interactive work, Melanie Bonajo (allows the audience to leave with the piece) 93 Vito Acconci 1969. Following Piece. New York City in <
51 Sigalit Landau94 focuses on an exploration of her own body and its relationship to territories and boundaries. Landau reflects on the theme of physical and internal boundaries and on the achievement and loss of identity. In her video Barbed Hula, 2000 video projection, a naked woman on the seaside rotates a hula hoop ring made of barbed wire around her waist. Her head is removed and cannot be seen. ‘What you see is a living female torso, of somebody, anybody. Everywoman is hula hooping on the beach.’95. By the act of removing her identity in the video the conversation becomes about identity. Removing the harmless hoola hoop the conversation becomes about playing with pain. Inserting the barwire hoola hoop the conversation becomes reversed -‐ about internal pain. Within the containment of the architecture of a room Emily Speed finds both an exploration between private and public spaces, inside-‐outside, the interior and the façade, and an anonymity in the hiding spaces that interior space and urban architecture presents. Alike Acconci she moves from the physical body to psychological interiority, from exteriority speaking of interior transactions. To practice the place means to make a removal from it. In the video The Walker, Tsai Ming-‐Liang makes a durational slow-‐motion walking throughout the fast moving, working and never sleeping city. The work turns into the experience not of the slow walking as an act itself but into the background noises and movement of people that practice and reveal the city's busy liveliness around the slow walking monk performer who sinks entirely into his deeply concentrated state.
MAY 10, The Story: an attempt to re-‐write the whole story in collaboration with An Iceberg in the middle of the sea chapter -‐ a Project Report with a Monkey Mind
My current specific (non) site-‐specific work is a continuation of my previous year exploration which was a lot about “inviting” and creating entry into the work and as such all my interactions with the visitors became a subject of the work. The site specific was my home address where people would come and in my mind that specific place is changing through the successful interpretations and actions of the visitors with the hint that they are those that accommodate me. One of the people I talked to for many long hours in the house challenged me to recreate this idea of house within his house. His vision was that ‘the containment within the room’ calls for consideration of outdoors activities, away from virtual world and technology. In his view exploring the outdoor could put me in much more unpredictable circumstances, in his opinion very important for the making. His suggestion surely put me in a position to question the entire framework for my
http://www.metmuseum.org/collections/search-‐the-‐collections/283737 > [Accessed 17 September 2014]. 94 See the following: http://www.e-‐flux.com/announcements/unstable-‐territory/ http://rfc.museum/past-‐exhibitions/alone-‐together/artwork-‐images/sigalit-‐landau http://www.sigalitlandau.com/downloads/KW-‐dining%20hall.pdf 95 See http://mucsarnok.hu/new_site/dl/peter_kantor_opening_speech_sigalit_landau.pdf
52 experiment in reconsider decentralizing my sole structure and seek a whole new way to explore the meaning of art making and how I exist in spaces. It is the idea of going to a place I don’t know anything about. It implies spontaneity, movement and a relationship. So Yes, I accepted the proposition and went on my journey. In a way, I created a reverse project of the previous year's idea. The location was important (the space to which he invited me) the exploration was focused on me, and my movement outdoors to a specifically chosen site I called Outlandia. The ‘here’ considers my movement inside the site and outside the initial site of exploration. What looks like an iceberg in the middle of a Aegean sea or maybe a mirage, or a photoshoped reality, is actually an ‘open space’ on the tip of the Rafti Island and beyond Outlandia is an open space in the Agean sea located 35 km south east of Athens, in the city of Porto Rafti city whose administration depends on [is hinged to] one of the Athenian Districts. We are in the atmosphere, the aquatic life, from the sand to the moon. The Elephant Rock together with the Love Cave beach his private Garden and the Rafti Island make up Outlandia site. Where? There. No people live in Outlandia with the exception of a temporary inhabitant at the Love Cave beach, the occasional inhabitants that visit and is where my new collaborator works and lives it which make it ideal to spent time in solitary loitering and even more to turn it into an interactive approach for exploring space.96 About x, y, z meters beneath in time, it can take up to x, y, z ideas in the air and examine both how I invent performative spaces there (some imagined), want is the nature of these transient spaces and who else does the rabbit become? There are many political edges for I do this. I started collaborating with my adviser Jean Marie in August 2013 and the 1st ‘lead’ we had was that I intend to move a bed and sleep at the beach, which turned into the concern of ‘how to explore the space’. The intention to move the bed was because of the need to stay in the space and have a place to write and sleep. As a result of discussing it with my collaborator we came to the conclusion that I don’t need a bed to ‘exist’ there and as a result of discussing it with my adviser we decided that it would insert itself as frame that does not fit the ephemeral feeling of situations I attempt to document… The 2nd important concern was how to re-‐create the site and think in terms of interactive space but also be my private space, my escape vehicle, my 9 moths planning on escapism and isolation and the possibly upcoming of 1 month of isolation. I started scheming how to explore the space, how to get there, canoeing and straying from the Outlandia site for intercity walking on my walking journeys without destinations.
Whereas my 1st project year living life was limited to living and writing in a 75 square meter house in Athens, and inviting a few visitors to talk with on my couch, in 2013, I moved into a 40 square meters house in the city of Porto Rafti. However, in the latter the square meters of the house are not important anymore because I was out in the open. The action, the experimentations occurred in the space between the island and the coast. I started scheming about how to explore the space, how to get there, canoeing and straying from the Outlandia site for intercity walks on my walking journeys without destinations.
53 During this time I also spent many days sitting in the 40 square meters room and outdoors writing about it and telling it.
I kept a stream of writing logs as a result of my daily concerns long duration walking and travels with the canoe. And somewhere bordering and fusing between private actions and public appearances, I considered my public manifestations with the group Guerrilla Optimists to be a parallel project to that of Outlandia. There were always elements exchanging between the sites, but I always returned to discussions and explorations within and around Outlandia. Within all that walking and moving from one place to another I referred to the works as invisible works, walking stories, site for chance encounters, walks without destinations, walks to nowhere. Because it was very important to me that I don’t create a very certain thematic, a framework from which to work, and say ‘this is what this project is about’. I would embrace the possibility to change, adjust, survive in its looseness, decentralize the idea, and in this way practice the unhinging from the site. By questioning the ideological frame in which it is, I can begin to understand its power and control. This work is based a lot on what people tell me as the material of the work. In a way everything in the project was based on their creative input about what are directional and non directional decisions for my work-‐ that is, I do not know what will happen even if I want to and the heart of all that marching’ and streaming energy is driven by the creative nature found everywhere in peoples' suggestions about directionality and non directionality, hinging, unhinging, staying, moving, waiting, exploring spaces, ‘getting lost’ ‘going nowhere’ This often puts in question the negotiation that occurs between the Self and Other. It was important to me ‘not to direct the people’ (which is a kind of direction) into a specific project that is about xyz – i.e. ‘putting the hearer into a certain frame of mind’.
58 So I decided to undergo through that state myself. That is, by talking to people about what is the islands, what could be, what happens, what can happen, why a canoe etc. I also create a situation for contact. I felt I was re-‐directed constantly because the combination of people’s suggestions and their visions of it (including my interpretations) cannot be predetermined in advance and even decentralizing my own self. I would keep on attempting to tell the story of what has happened and create a kind of continuity in jumping from story to idea to story but the main story can never be told fully. I re-‐attempted to tell the main story but there is never time to finish it. Then I approached putting the one story in the other, making the detail ‘the central’ of an experience and the central the detail, and putting the one story next to the other. It was very important that I didn’t direct the people into a certain frame of mind so there was a continuous friction between intention and chance circumstances. Non-‐ directing would mean non-‐shaping a meaning, which rationally would mean no language (or everchanging language). And yet I attempted to re-‐tell the story multiple times and write stories about it in various ways (free writing and more controlled strategies, and writing from speaking while walking). In order to explain the departure from the initial site Outlandia, going back and forth and jumping and walking across sites (The sites around it and outside of it (like the collaboration with Guerrilla Optimists, my intercity walks and my public performances outside Outlandia).. So Miwon Kwon said that site specificity implies a fixed relationship with the original site, with grounding through the site, and the kind of relationship between the site and the work. She also explained that those site-‐specific and therefore unmovable works were initially made as a result of the intention of artists to create a work that resists the transferability of capitalist goods. Many of the works imply an inseparable relationship to the site in the kind of physical, experiential and phenomenological relationship of the body to the site but she also explained how later on that very ‘transferability’ of a site-‐specific work was practiced by artists as a resistance to the same issues. Its predecessors saw it communicated in the unmovable work and its successors saw moving the work from the original/fixed site as a new adaptation for the work and its permeability and adaption into the new site be a challenge that open new venues in the artistic world and considers relationships with all kinds of sites and be less confined and marginalized by its own specificity. That allowed for specificity to be re-‐invented as site transferred ‘under certain circumstances’ and those circumstances make the work alive and redefined in the new compromise, but in my view this is mainly important because the work is communicated in reasons for their circumstance to the new people related to that new site and so they function as an ‘entrances’ in to the work but complicated enough as frames for the work.
When I walk When I walk I am moving When I walk I feel freedom act in my body When I walk I make time to explore the creativity in the act When I walk I practice space and a removal from it When I walk I think of my left and right foot When I walk I think of how I feel the feet on the ground When I walk I feel one flowing narrative
59 When I walk I am forming a narrative that is not a capture When I walk I feel inseparable from the physical surrounding When I walk I listen When I walk I feel the continuity and the connections between all the pieces scattered coming from and going to some place else When I walk I think of the invisible line I leave behind me When I walk I don’t know where I am going When I walk I connect stories When I walk I think about my knees cups When I walk I get thirsty When I walk I think of the continuity of the act When I walk I perform the nomadic of human thought When I walk I decentralize on theme When I walk I free myself from the conceptual confines of the original and destination location When I walk I practice unhinging of the initial site When I walk I free of the ideological confined of my own original structure When I walk I tell stories When I walk I meet strangers which are chance encounters When I walk strangers tell me their stories When I walk and meet strangers I talk with then When I walk and strangers tell me their stories I connect theirs with mine When I walk and consider their story When I walk I consider how to implicate their story in my story When I walk I complicate their story When I walk I think of their story as a direction chance encounter When I walk and consider many stories in many direction and thus a non direction When I walk I consider conversations as chance encounters When I walk I re-‐organize When I walk I don’t control my thought When I walk I let my thought flee to tell the situation When I walk I I hinge and unhinge myself from the main story When I walk I pass through vegetation, architecture, sand, rocks and sounds When I walk I see sounds When I walk I enjoy the activity of walking within and on my body When I walk I develop conceptually When I walk I learn about the neighborhood When I walk I walking towards the next story but I don’t know what that is When I walk I don’t feel confinement Wen I walk I don’t have to organize because the fleeing thought is complete When I walk the pieces are falling together When I walk I have the full right to my body to walk on the ground and earth When I walk I don’t transform the space, the act of practicing the space transforms me
May 13 Osman : Paying out your freedom Provisional conclusion: a return to all the people that told me stories about the island
I grabbed a bag with tomatoes and started walking with my rolling snail on a string towards Love Cave beach to meet with Sami and return to the 1st person who ever told me a story about the Island. Ivan had invited him for a pic knick in the dark and had prepped to cook for us. In a way he created a situation for contact between Sami and myself. Sami’s story was how him and his brother stole a water bike and rowed during the night to the island. That night he further elaborated on the light around the island created by the night tower… Didn’t you find holes there?, he asked. I said-‐ yes, I found many holes. So I shared with him that I was writing a book about the island (I hadn’t seen him for a year since I started the project), through what people tell me and for my walking and canoeing experiences. And so he said, yes, writing through and about people is how books happen. You have to experience it, but also to invent the situations for “it” to come out. We must further talk about that. I can’t wait to meet
61 him again and ponder on his words. I told him how walking also made me think a lot about both legs. Sami also explained how the hands and the mouth of humans are probably the most developed areas and that the legs are not really the most stable part of the body. The mouth he said and the hands are well trained because we use them often in the everyday. Osman was also there. Osman was the 1st person I talked to on the beach for the island and one of the 1st strangers I shared with that I would like to “get there”. Osman is an a way the temporary but also a permanent inhabitant of the Love Cave beach because he lives inside a tiny wooden construction that turns into a bar in the summer. He guards the place and sleeps inside both: during the winter and summer. So in a way he is the keeper of the beach to secure the bar and cleans the beach every morning and so he sees the island every morning. But that night we didn’t talk about making a raft and going to the island as much as we talked about walking. Maybe he said something about walking or I said something about walking. Maybe Ivan said something about walking because I had spoken before on several occasions how migrants walk for many days to cross borders and at first it seemed odd to him. Other nights, Ivan and I talked extensively about how migrants cross borders by long walking and by boats and how is that related to my 43 km long walking experiment and so he noted how the few people walking intercity are the migrants and I explained how walking is used for transportation and in my view that walking within the borders of the same country shows the potential of immigration. Osman was talking a lot about how people from his country Pakistan would walk days and sometimes 9 months through mountains, and through snow to come to Greece. People die sometimes during the exhausting walking but he dint have an immediate friend. He explained that his trip was quite different and that it took him only 7 days to come because he was smuggled with a speedboat through Turkey. Then once he arrived here together with another 40 people they were placed in an underground room in a house secluded from central spaces where the police cant find them. They let you go out of that room only if you pay the money, he said. And so I asked what happened if you don’t pay the money? He said, well they beat you up but they don’t let you go. And so I wondered did he have the money on himself? He further explained that he stayed in that room locked with the others only for two days because it was a way of doing things that there was an arrangement with people in Pakistan and his father would pay from the other side, once Osman is in Greece. They communicate on the phone Osman confirms that he is here and so his father sends the money to pay Osman’s freedom. I was there only two days, but there are others that stay there for months until they pay their freedom. He talked about the impossibility to get residence permit or Greek passport that he had to wait about 7 years to start the process and explained how difficult that was for him to go to Petrou Rali [see what is Petrou Rali in the story Why I am not Leaving Greece] and deal with the bureaucracy there. He explained that he couldn’t go back to Pakistan because he didn’t obtain the needed documents to do so and so he can’t see his family. It’s been four years he is in Greece. He talked a lot about the position of the woman in Pakistan and how only men work there and the woman stays at home. We talked about what are the consequences if a woman is caught having sex with a man before marriage. He explained how things are with the deviant places like brothels. Ivan asked him about how people in Pakistan make vacations and there was not much Osman mentioned on that but explained that one can rent a hotel and this way have fun. I knew Osman from going at the beach and also knew that he has a special relationship with the island because he sees the island everyday. I had no idea about Osman’s border crossing story because I never asked. The Old spy was the 1st person I met that told me in extensive detail specific things about the island and when to find the rabbits. Mitaka was the 1st person that told there are rabbits fucking at the island and so shared that Sami has a story for the island. And the stranger I met in the water-‐ was the 1st person that explained to me that once I go behind the island the island drastically changes its shape and that there is a place to park – a tiny beach tiny beach. That day I started going to the island with the canoe without knowing if at all there is a way to access it because I had observed it with my binoculars and saw only inclined rocks that cannot be accessed but with the
62 binoculars I could not see what was behind the island because there isn’t a point from the lands that gives you visual access to what is beyond the island. That tiny beach he explained was a perfect and easy place to park. But when I got there I realized that there are dangerous rocks near by the coast and must be careful when I park my canoe vehicle there, not to have a tide because the tide can take me and slap me and the canoe against the near by rocks. So, in a way there are specific hours favorable for approaching the tiny beach with a shallow canoe. I know those hours well, and enjoy both canoeing in smooth waters and when there are waves. These two experiences and other tides variations are very different but they are all connected. Surprisingly enough Alex (a Guerrila Optimist collaborator) had a very profound relationship with the island (what a coincidence! He doesn’t even live near by, what is the possibility to collaborate with someone on a project in Athens for the central Omonia square and not to know him and that person to also have visited the Rafti Island (35 km outside Athens) and to have a profound relationship to that specific place!). He told me he went there with his brother and father in his childhood many time by canoeing and that the island for him was that spontaneous and childish exploration linked to physical experiments with the body that we lack today. For that same experience and connection to childhood we talk about a lot with Jean-‐Marie…
Advisor Meeting May 13 (forth meeting with Studio Adviser) Dear Jean-‐ Marie, I really understand what you said about the tying and untying shoelaces, learning and the accomplishment that a child feels when the bow is looped for 1st time in the difficult way. I still remember my fist time i did that-‐ I remember the smell of the room and the textile of my gradfathers' jacket. We were in the atrium of my kinder garden where my locker was, sitting on a wooden bench. My shoelaces were then, as they are now, so long that I had to master double loops. That trick I learned from my mother while practicing on ribbons and perfected gift-‐wrapping whose durations may involve hours of doing so.
63 It really spoke to me when you said in which tying and tying is related to learning and childhood and in my view is also related to the physicality of things and being ‘present’ on the site of exploration. I think about that on several occasions. It is indeed connected it with the lack of physical experience and technology, and with the lack of hands dexterity of children today due to technology trends operating our lives. In this context, technology controls the movements of our bodies and even bodies abilities and potential to develop like the example you gave with the use of iphone by children. As you noted the hands of children are limited to the movement of sliding the screens of the iphones. In a way I see the lack of passion and the need to play outside with sand and stones and wooden sticks and dress up as Indian costumes, play with arrows, weeds and costumes...All the invention, the discoveries, and the messiness in climbing up a tree and searching for something mysterious that may or may not live in the water are fading away…displaced by computer games and ipads. Since I got my snail I ‘ve been thinking a lot about the ephemerality, the invention and the constant transformation of things in children’s games. What many of those games have in common is the Sisyphean act that you pointed at many times -‐as the sun has it when it rolls on the island contour skin (like Sisyphus’ stone). The rowing with paddles has it, as walking has it as weaving flower chains has it. I think a lot about rolling objects we played with when we were small, towers from cards that fall down but we build them back up, making sand castles with walls and towers that change and transform-‐ every minute they become something else. Sincerely yours, Ro ko ko
This chapter is dedicated to Monkey mind We talked about how the time after May 15 (the time that the book is almost finished) I have the chance to explore those games and return to my initial proposal’s aspect about finding ways to collaborate with Ivan (among the initially indented) and the -‐ unfolding (unintended) aspects: exploring the space, finding a way to relate of what I am doing with people (intended); exploring paths that practice what the journeying presents in the course of action which turned out to be in the walking, in the canoeing, in and the getting to the island (unintended-‐ found sites). The more I write about the more I am flooded with lengthy stream writing logs … How is that the initially intended and non-‐intended actions unfold? In order to explore the space I walked and canoed a lot. I canoed because I was given the canoe for the project as an obvious everyday way to reach it, even though I would secretly intend to get there by swimming and by raft of some sort. The idea was that while I walk it could be possible to talk with people met by chance encounter about what is this as an artistic work, what is the island, what could it be, and be decentralized-‐directed and thus informed by people’s creative ideas. In that way the ‘work of art’ can be considered in the living life with people who haven’t been acquainted up close with art but most importantly I can acquaint my self with seeing through the prism of life and how a work happens naturally in its literal space of the everyday but threatened to be erased.
65 This is how I started with the idea of Outlandia around the island. I retell the story of ‘getting to it’ by using the peoples’ reflections on the idea and what they knew about the island and used the stories about what they see in their life (not only in the work) that becomes a the work. A key word from their stories would be the central site of exploration in my story and in my view a departure from the island. In short and to repeat, My idea was the idea of going to the island, and exploring the space around it but also finding ways to relate the work to people and collaborate with the very person that invited me to live there. The story I re-‐tell about ‘getting’ to the Island (chance circumstance) makes a situation for encounter with strangers but it was also important for my bodily contact with the physicality of the space and the physicality of movement. It was in a way a resistance to the lack of contact with outdoor space and the lack of time to explore long durations due to the ways in which I work, create capital for survival. As a result of journeying to the island, walking, and canoeing I became very aware of my two hands and legs. While walking I discovered the bougainvillea flower that was important because it was available both within the Garden (inside Outlandia) and outside Outlandia and third, they were important because they seem to be used by people as their fences or on top of their fences-‐ and thus were used as some kind of private boundary. Also, the bougainvillea flower was a material that was readily available and free and was well known by all people so it was another possible situation for encountering a small talk with strangers. As well, in many occasions I asked people to open their doors or to share the flowers leaking on the outside of their fence with me.-‐ one more way to learn something more about Porto Rafti and the island and ways of living and seeing life as well as seeing the creativity in making a flower chain intended to reach the island. This way the bougainvillea flower had the potential to be turned into a conversation about secluded action of collecting it and walking and be turned into interactions and vice versa. Discovering that common thing between the Garden and the Outside world that I can use/collect as material in durational work, An element that I discovered in walking while exploring the spaces around but one that is also used as reason to walk. So, it is the idea of the bougainvillea in the walking and the walking in the bougainvillea. Kept on weaving the flowers into a long line but then I observed that instead of making my intended line reaching the island I started making flower chains [closed circles] for necks and giving those to people. So the knitting of one 36 meters long line turned into a line that was getting longer and shorter, longer and shorter, until one day it disappeared. Then I started talking about and how to turn the flowers into invitation and into the practice of walking into connecting sites (the beach with the island, the city with the idea of going to a island). I started my intercity walks without destinations as a way to practice a public invitation for people who may want to come to Love Cave beach and near the Island at the Athens Photo Festival at the Gazi Museum (in the center of Athens). My performative action would be a to weave chains for 7 days (no relation to Christian rituals) and would distribute those to people in the several galleries as an invitation together with the story about what I knew at that point about the island and that I invite them to connect the garland rings in one common line in the water. Ideally this would be a situation for meeting strangers with strangers. I dug deeper and discovered an invented relationship of walking with an old Bulgarian ritual Lazarka [which is about walking, encountering strangers and letting flower chains in the water-‐ but this is my adaptation of the ritual]. The original ritual is on Lazarus day, some time before Easter according to which small girls in the Bulgarian villages collect eggs for dying. They walk from their house with a basket and knock on people’s doors, perform something of their mastery and then return with the collected eggs to the house. Prior to starting to walk the girls are dressed up in specific handmade clothes and adorned with red on their chicks, with coins and flower chains. At the end of the ritual I would go with my grandmother and throw the flowers in the river and watch it fluid going in all directions and restless in the water for as long as it
66 leaves our sight. Every time I imagined that I am that flower ring-‐ free and floating (see Lazarka book)97 After practicing for the long walk that would connect the Gazi site with the space around the island I went on walking that distance of 43 km walk in between the two. The ways in which I exist in those spaces is through actions [the Sisyphean actions in the duration]. I created a stream writing story of for 43 km of walking tittles Almost the Whole Story and a video telling the same story titled Outlandia Now: encounter with the police and further created the chapter The Arrested [as in motion] walker in The Book of the Great Rabbit:Anythinglandia elaborating on the idea of how the detainment by the police during my walk is the capture of the spontaneity in the action. After that I continued walking and canoeing with and additional element – a bell tied to my body and to the canoe paddle, which permeated in both my exploration at Outlandia and my collaborative project with the Guerilla Optimist. As a result of going in between the two sites, in between walking and canoeing, in between solitary wandering and talking to people I though a lot about ‘movement in between the so-‐ called sites here, but in the everyday I absorb them as lived spaces ’. I continued writing stories as a result of going to the island with other people, as a result of making new acquaintances and as a result of canoeing alone and with others. This way I could use elements from experience and what people tell me but also through writing I can depart to other places. Through writing I could put the one [chapter/element] in the other [story/site]. After the walk I returned to the bigger picture (and how is this related to a bigger picture? – the physicality of experience, and immigration) I discovered how walking is related to potential of immigration, to the encounters with strangers, to physical experience and to the idea of using walking as both an exploration of the site and as departure from the initial site and its potential to invent encounters). I kept on collecting flowers and tied a bell (to the body and to canoe the paddle)(the bell I see as my co-‐traveler, as attached to my body while walking and as a device signaling my location in the water from far away, a sound that can be used to record walking). How is it that getting to the island and talking about it with others creates a consciousness of the island and a situation for exploration? Working on storytelling through encounters with people and the here concepts related -‐ I try to re-‐tell and re-‐write the story over and over again. The way in which the bell is in the walking, the walking in the bell, the bell in the canoe, the bell in the island. The bell in Outlandia and the Bell in the collaboration with the Guerrillas (very different from that of how is use in Outlandia; See information on that in chapter Group Concerns)…. the bell is an element that was transferred into all sites. The idea of using personal actions for communication like what stream writing and the bell was alike the idea of writing the stories in the book. There are other texts I kept logs of that are more irregular and written in a stream of fast typing. After collecting and selecting some of those freely written texts and stories I matched them with a corresponding image from my physical experiments and walks to create an Album. That album uses the stories from the book and some that were not featured inside so as to start telling the story all over again….
I am guessing that this ritual as once talked with a stranger is a way to get the small girls think about marriage and fertility and show her beauty and tricks to the others of the village so that she can be liked for marriage and known for her special character exhibited during the performance she gives in every house>
67 The book was that attempt to tell the whole story through its smaller departing stories but it has started to leak out again, out of the book ….and to the island. I am leaving I am going there now… Put in a paragraph what was your research on all that The researching ideas of places, spaces, and sites and the practice of walking This idea of de Certau that to tell ones legend is to invent space and his idea that to the very drifts and leaks of meanings are the creation of space related to the (out of place) and that the idea to observe a site as a departure from the site as in Miwon Kwon. Related all that to the idea of Massey that telling a story is the very ‘here’ and is the very creation of space that is constantly re negotiated through the multiple trajectories of elsewhere space is related to Space is always open, under construction, never finished linked to some place else. That space is negotiated through the provisional happenstances that may or may not be met. Related to the idea of collaboration and a work is not preconceived but it happens in the course of action and in my case due to chance circumstances and the provisional explanations of my experience and peoples stories. That people’s stories (but written by me) and intentions in a way is what directs my explorations: Ivan invited me (inspired me to the physicality of things, the present and canoeing), that the Spy told me about the rabbits in on the island (which further excited me about going to the island and question what rabbits do? the idea of being a rabbit inspired me to make up methodology for rabbitness as a way to explain the negotiation of the various sites I walk across) (See chapters Rabbitness and Rabbitography and the Rabbitness in the Outlandia)
GUERRILLA OPTIMISTS: Case Study The exchanges between group and solo In this text I reveal some concerns from my engagement with the Guerrilla Optimists group (est.2006 in Athens). Specifically I will refer to my engagement in the last one-‐ year 2012-‐2013 and ongoing Public Dreaming project in Omonia Square. The project manifested as steady engagement at the most central public square in the city of Athens (Greece) every week. Sleep actions, napping at the square, manifestoes and meeting its inhabitants were actions at the heart of our project and these were supported through the everyday exchange of dreams via emails among group members (Jennifer Nelson, Amalia Charikiopoulou, Alexandros Georgiou and Manos Tsatiris). The actions of choice are the result of intra-‐group negotiations about how we could develop a project on Public Dreaming and this resulted in somewhat more steady weekly visits to the site. We started with sleeping over at each other's homes (slumber parties) in order to create the space for discussions. Those developed into an idea of public sleeping and into a relationship for our experimentations with Omonia
68 Square as a specific site. This demanded live engagement in public space, constant reinvention as well as extensive writings of manifestos, statements, every day dreams and complex forging of promotional materials like flyers, a newspaper and a handbook, press releases and the like (the opposite of advertising). Even though those promotional materials were disseminated through known professional channels and to artistic audiences locally, the true ‘audience of our actions were the people at Omonia square’. 98 The idea for making a book arose after one year of writing and sharing dreams on daily a basis, including sounds created out of our slumber parties, with the aim to communicate how those are related to our public actions in Omonia Square. The book was barely half-‐way when we were invited to create documentation of the project for Bozar, for the exhibition No Country for Young Men: Contemporary Greek Art in Times of Crisis. Given that the transferability of the work was unthinkable unless as a sound streamed live or performed some place else, and that an institution's regulations would limit the nature of our exploration, we found the ‘right circumstances under which a work can be documented’ without being streamed or performed (Kwon 2008) The idea of a newspaper is the result of the feeling that all the ephemeral actions of the same group since 2004 constitute extensive work and must see the light of document, despite the fact that Optimists engage in invisible ephemeral actions: the work was substantial and the voices in it could reach audiences in other sites. It was a question of whether we should or should not ‘appear’ in a museum. In questions such as this I try to escape the limitations of this idea, and so we saw the possibility of being present in a museum as an opportunity to make new acquaintances and share our creative materials with other participating artists, get acquainted with each others' work and participate in an exhibition that was addressing times of economic crisis for Greece. The Guerrillas have been talking about other kinds of social, spiritual and experiential crises due to forces operating within an economy of corruption and isolation. A series of non-‐traditional actions, events and human concerns were introduced to those spaces and we further questioned our abilities to operate in more connected ways with the local communities, as difficult as this can be without funding or much free time on our hands for such explorations. In addition to our actions, other special events had been organized in the city by Jennifer, Toby and Alex over the years, offering not only critical insights and challenging disruptions in the ways in which we think and make art, but also in the very link with doing this in public space out on the streets. (For selected actions since 2004 See Guerrilla Optimists Newspaper pages here: <http://www.transart.org/ivanovar/2014/03/20/the-‐dreamers-‐handbook-‐and-‐in-‐ between/> The purpose of sharing dreams was to speculate on the inability to distinguish between reality and dream. I discovered that violence has invaded my dream space and was somehow permitted and dissolved into our dreams. Can they own our dreams? Then, dreams did not turn out to be fairytales -‐they were filled with worries, fights, violence, uncomfortable leftovers, sexual material, fears and fears of something else. This to me showed the lack of common space for re-‐considering those in our city. Jennifer referred to a trauma in the collective unconscious. Somehow through ‘re-‐
conversation with Jennifer
69 calibrating the acoustics’ of the dead square one could heal then a collective unconscious… Whether that was the unconscious of the city or the people living in it is still negotiable. For Alex the square needed healing. And for me – I was trying to concentrate on the situation as an opportunity for contact with them. I was trying to ‘get my body there’ which was a tremendous effort as it was for the other members given that we would have to cross 30-‐40 km distances to meet at the square for the weekly occasions in the center of the city. It could be said that our presence would produce the occasional questions of statements and ways to challenge the ways in which we all think about what is our relationship to this space and people, to art, how we exist in performance life, how we do not record, what we record and how we approach. Mainly how we let each other to be challenged by one another and how we navigate contradicting views within a group. There were constantly elements from other personal projects, excitements and biases infiltrating the politics of our organization and elements flowing in and out. The challenge for me was not to separate my personal work from that project but to let it infiltrate me and fluidly let elements come and go and affect the practices of my walking, island site and non site explorations. I would use elements and aspirations from their wanderings and unconsciously what we were talking about was inhibiting the group and changing the course of actions. It took time to decipher everyone’s intentions and motivations for participation as the activities over time were changing and they would require new ways of modalities to speak and ponder upon how would an action be done. With the impact of Alex much of our groups activities turned to doing instead of scheming on planning and on how to be done or recording it. Jennifer’s [impacts] would be manifestos and that would keep urgent issues moistly and sound and into the unknown for a long time now. The exchanges that happen within the group reside in many layers. Our communication would occur within the daily dream texts, ‘getting into each others heads’ and occasionally we wont be able to recognize who was the original creator of the text in question. Other way to communicate would be through the ‘reports of what happened’ after our actions and whom we met at the Square and what we learned about this person-‐ however this strategy was not used regularly. Ideas, images and flying elements from the dreams exchange was affecting all of us and exposing states of mind to one another. There was no censorship. Many concerns were freely exposed and stripping down to identity questions of the things the self is willing to censor to the group-‐if anyone ever did that. I was pushing for trespassing and smuggling of non dream experiences of daydreaming and conversations and questions that may or may not have happened, like conversations with strangers I meet in the metro and how they react to the sound of the bell attached to my body. The line between what was presented as my dream and what was ‘real’ was gone presenting new ways to re-‐ consider my personal work for transart-‐ to consider my experiential walks experiment with the writing of fictious stories as if they had happened and keep on re-‐ contextualizing the work and considerations for new actions. What’s ‘real’ and ‘reality that I experience’ I also re-‐framed for myself in that being a Rabbit does not make me any less real. The use of the bell was also an element that entered both the group project and my transart project. The ways in which it was used in the one was helping me differentiate how is used in the other. In my walks the bell was the sound following me everywhere I go, signaling of my presence in the space. The sound of the bell attached on my body or on the paddle of the canoe was my co-‐traveler and ringing the bell intentionally was a celebration of imagining walking and travel. The bell would ring when I move as a result of the movement and the ring of the bell when I am not moving reminds is time to go out on the street. With the Guerrillas the bell was more of discipline to which we would attend every week. We would sit down at Omonia Square in a triangular formation to ring the bells. The re-‐doing of that allowed us to see this action extended in time, re-‐think it without changing it but through practicing
70 it at different occasions in the same site. The bell ringing with two other people was much about making music and conversing through the sounds of the bells and occasionally re-‐inventing on conversations after the ringing with passers by about ‘why is it that we are ringing the bells’. For many passers by this was a religious act of some sort they would come to explain. For me this was an entrance into the context of the bigger work on Public Dreaming. For Alex this was sound therapy for the hurt spirit of the square. For Jennifer this was a practice in experimenting with new ways to approach one another. There was a constant tension coming from Alex that we must think of it the same way. My understanding was that it is previous because we found the commonality in the very act of ringing the bell and the symbolic reasons of each did not matter as context as much as it mattered that we have the bells as the context bringing us at Omonia Square (neglected space) every Tueasdays and that we were there actually doing it-‐ carrying for, giving time for this invisible action. The development of the bell action was in the sole importance in the act of doing it and not that much an act of re imagining it through its successful meanings. This made its textual explanation somewhat obsolete, and to be sited fully only through experiencing it. ‘Non of us own these ideas. They are (un)consciously collaborative’99
Omonia Bells J+R A page from The Dreamers
Since September 29, 2013, A, R, and J have been ringing bells for one hour, nearly every week in Omonia Square. We arrive from our various lives, spend time reconnecting to each other and the square, and then begin. We sit on the ground, or on a piece of cardboard when the concrete is too cold, facing each other in a triangle- about 2 meters apart. Some days it is hard to concentrate, but when we finally settle into the action- made with small, multi-toned but inexpensive bells that penetrate the sound field of Omonia- we notice change in ourselves and the people around us. The bells, miraculously, can be heard above the circling traffic. Their specific frequency sends vibrations across the cement. Passersby pause. Some sit nearby and listen. A few come to speak to us. Who are you calling to? I know what you are doing. Some draw spiritual connections, some just enjoy the strange intervention. Drivers stare out their window as they pass. We are focused.
Lacy, Suzanne 1994, Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art. Bay Press: Seattle, Washinton
71 We are dressed casually. We are not on drugs. We are greeted by the dealers, the users and the man who sweeps the square. We have noticed many details about the square in our time there. Small moments of beauty: the bird shit accumulates on the glass wall until it looks like a painting, the light on the pavement in the morning shines across the dark lines, the pigeons are free in the sky above and cast shadows on us as they move, if you are low to the ground it is quiet. The gesture, of course, evokes the symbolic nature of bellsbut for us it is active. After ringing the bells we are all calmer and happier, in an alert but trance-like state. We chose Omonia Square for flying and dreaming because its problems seem so obvious. We can activate a painful awareness of this absurd landscape by juxtaposing our own vulnerability with such a harsh place. We did not expect that we would come to Omonia Square to heal ourselves. But of course we do. Engagement- rather than avoidance, in dreams and awake, is a way to celebrate life. Despite the long geographical distances that separate us, the frequent strikes that block our movement in the city, we believe that our interactions catalyze important space where we can further our inquiries and discussions on how to invent our peaceful vibrations that are in real contact with our surrounding, the people there and between each other. We all come from different culture, different backgrounds and pasts and there is something very specie sprouting from our dreams (as in sleep), bell sounds exchanges, our new encounters with Omonia inhabitants and mainly ideas that spring from our disagreements as artists. We invent, we challenge one another for and during our actions because we see in in group practices the potential to shake and reconstruct both the problematic setting of Omonia and our assumptions as people. We have to continue communicating through actions, manifestations, bell sounds, everyday dreams exchanges for the sake of optimism and find new ways to navigate from and to each other, through the harsh setting in which we weak up. We weak up in loud Athens congested with sirens, cars, buses, people, dispersing in the concrete. We weak up with all our different feelings, concerns and others coming from the stories of the strangers we meet at Omonia square. We travel to Omonia to meet, to sit down and start ringing. It is our attempt to put together a ways to catalyze the co-presence of our interactions in urban public space and to observe how the spatial configurations underpin to co-create concrete behaviors in public spaces. It has come to our attention that one place is constructed by the multiplicity of the situations coexisting in a space. Places are not mere settings but they are reorganized and co-produced through lived experiences. Observing Omonia square has made us create dynamic views of how public spaces are constructed and performed by its inhabitants- it changes from morning to the afternoon- just like our ringing explorations evolve into something else every time; and our bells produce different sounds in different areas of the square. We have a devotion to the same act but it changes through our experiences and new observations of Omonia Square. Each one of us incorporates his understanding of the space and the situation into combined modes of situation and this is very much what this book is about. We make use of the potential of the ‘open space’ the ‘open access’ and the activities performed in that space to examine what are the dimensions of the situations. What is ‘open public space’ in different social occasions? We become acquainted with the community found at Omonia and of the community we create among each other as a group so as to challenge our own preliminary assumptions of the space and the nature of our interactions. Here Omonia (space) is the Other. The bell sounds we exchange with each other is another way to become acquainted and communicate with one another, the space and learn about the people there. We are sending intriguing bell calls to each other and those present there so as to slip into the possibility for new and unexpected ways in which we may spontaneously re-organize a situation. We simply create a situation for contact. In the midst of individuation, fragmentation, public and city crisis we are optimistic that our actions leave traces in the bodies of the living people.
The logic of nomadism and impermanence
The more that we walk into the logic of nomadism, the more the ungrounded transience gives us ‘the feeling of being at home’. Home is ‘here’ and is always negotiating through elsewheres. How are we assuming home in the provisional here?; how is that the feeling of fleeing situations, chanced encounters making us participate in homelessness? When one has found home in a provisional space –it is the permanence in the impermanence. It has occurred to me that the inability of the human mind to organize multiplicity and navigate the body through physicality is assumed to be the result of capitalist creation of the experience of disorientation and fragmentation. This alarming disjunction points between the body and ground, water atmosphere, even between the body and the (built environment), and the lack of time to re-‐invent on how those affect our body. The ‘breakdown of spatial experience’ in both the perceptual and cognitive is lost, disoriented, alienated, is the feeling ‘out of place’, and consequently unable to make coherent meaning of our relation to our physical surroundings-‐it is the cultural symptom of late capitalism's political and social reality 100. The impermanent feeling of ephemerality of creative works has been associated with the choice to experience impermanence, to experience nomadism as a practical decision in ones work been wrongly confused with the forced instability caused by forced immigration. These concerns are at the very heart of postmodern heterotypologies of disorientation – the inability of oneself to map the self in the world of transitional capitalism. Unwillingly one is put into disorientation. Now –here-‐ so many things were mentioned – and gaps are left open-‐ exactly because of that un-‐mapping. The challenge here is to distinguish between the variations of transitionality, ephemerality and instability and the variations of un-‐mapping. That is, how the first can be practiced as freedom of will and the other is a political instability and a political problem. In that every citizen is required to perform the stability of legitimization with identification cards and income and the other is…. Am I walking through or am I moved through the architecture of space – the physical structure (unused) ? And are people-‐device oriented and reduced to few experiential walks in front of the computer; Can we see this in another way? Or is it again about inducing irresistibility of the goods of God101 Capitalism and God bank account and God car and God travel outside. “Qualities of permanence, continuity, certainty and groundedness (physical and otherwise) are thought to be artistically retrograde, thus politically suspect, in this context. By contrast, qualities of uncertainty, instability, ambiguity and impermanence are taken as desired attributes of a vanguard, politically progressive, artistic practice”(ibid) and wrongly accused for not being able to progress on continual local relationship.
http://www.google.gr/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=wrong+place+kwon&ie=UTF-‐8&oe=UTF-‐ 8&gfe_rd=cr&ei=791pU9TYDIrc8ge-‐24HICw 101 inspired by Toby Short from his statement on mageia in the Guerrilla Optimist Newspaper
73 We need to closely understand why is it that impermanence, movement are not vanguard (discourse) instances but are related to conjunction of the body with its material surrounding and the body accessing public space, revealing both the dead ends of the state power [by showing the limited access and instability advertised by media] To be out is something unknown, unstable, where anything can happen to you. It reveals some kind of ‘a fear society’ whose feelings of safety and well-‐spent time are tied to God credit card. Deluze and Guattari saw in the ‘displacement of fixed bound place identity with the fluidity in a migratory model producing multiple allegiances and meanings, identities based on non rational convergences forged by chance encounters and circumstances’ (in Kwon, repeated for a 3rd time), I have found in those three to manifest walking on the streets and encountering strainers and in canoeing to a fixed site. What I am proposing is not ‘Moving’ beyond the inherited conception of site-‐specific art as a grounded, fixed (even if ephemeral) for the forthcoming of nomadic practice, rather is the interplay of the two, or else, there is a departure of the initially fixed site and returns to it for the site is no longer where is supposed to be but there is the need to refer back to the site and the grounding site is a necessary index to the work. That is, it is not the work a necessary index to the site but is the movement and the negotiations between the site and the space in which I walk (the removal from the site) that supposes the possibility to forge ever-‐changing conditions of a work created through the conversations on my way. What brings the permanent by practicing the impermanent of that act and the possibility that the work is conditioned by human relations and physical presence. In my view that is a nomadic work, based on chances that may or may not have the provisional ability to create local longstanding relationships.
Omonia Square at 22:00 Friday, May 17
There were at least 4 other sleeping bodies on the stairs when we came. We placed Amalia's blanket on the ground. We felt the vibrations of the subway vent. I was tired but I knew I couldn't sleep. The Square was alive. Cars were circulating, sounds were coming from all around. A massive group of bikers populated the roads around the Square. We were waving at them. They were waving back at us and smiling. We learned that they meet every * at * and then they go around city's roads, trying to make space for their circling activities. Spiros and Marie-‐Rose passed by our square blanket, smoothly approaching us with not a real question but a gesture of intent to interact. What's different is that we said we are trying to dream and fly in our dreams and Rose said: Yeah I want to get to another place too. It felt friendly, honest, natural and beyond safe to have their
74 presence. They opened their hearts and shared their struggles with us. They are both in a program for detoxification and explained their involvement there. I saw their intent for the future. She told me about a book: Love, Life and Hope had the format of verses and said everything that there is to be told about life! She shared her fears. We talked about death. Spiros was helping her go through that and was himself going through the program. She had her purse filled with various books, notebooks, and more notebooks. She shared them openly with us. I felt and understood everything else she said. She said on several occasions that she wanted to travel. In one of her notebooks I saw her budget estimate to travel to Nafplio, a kind of dream she wrote in her little book. I talked with Spiros for more than an hour and learned that you can read about a person's personality from his wrinkles, specifically to find out and see how young his soul is; That people are like colors, but there are so many colors that you cannot judge who they really are. He shared about 'being himself' and 'being stable'. He told me about the changing nature of people, that we are all in transit. He told me about presenting who you really are, about his home, about another 2 kinds of people: the ones that make pictures with their mind and the others that act on pictures and change the physical setting around them. We talked about the intent of people and their Dark Beast inside. He said on several occasions how important and what a special person Marie-‐Rose is. His eyes were honest. Marie-‐Rose and Amalia were talking at that time next to us about things that filled their eyes with tears. It was as if Rose was transitioning into a new space in her dreams. Her tears that were full of pain were also vessels for her spiritual growth and a way for claiming her future. Rose started drawing. I trusted her. Her last words were: 'I want to have that which people are jealous of'. The Square calmed down slowly and we all went our ways. I want to thank Amalia for her all-‐day support, for caring, for helping me with my luggage, for carrying it with me, for being honest, for the rides around the city with her blue dreamy vehicle, for the green beans, and for her demonstrative and tender sensitivity. For seeing the good in the bad I see.
Endnotes In opposition to previous singular event works, the work of younger artists are seen to advance an altogether different notion of a site as predominantly an 'intertextually' coordinated, multiply-located, discursive field of operation.' This is the reading, for example, of art historian and critic James Meyer, who has coined the term 'functional site' to distinguish recent site-oriented practices discussed in Miwon Kwon.[…]
Wrapping up everything into a site of sites: Summary of Miwon Kwon Notes on Site Specificity “‘substantive’ notion of site, such site-‐specific work might even assert a ‘proper’ relationship with its location, claiming an ‘original and fixed position’ associated with what it is. Summary of the whole document In One Place After Another: notes on Site Specificity also featured in the book site-‐specific
75 art and locational identity Kwon starts with writing that site specificity is concerned with something grounded, subject to laws of physics and is very much engaged with the ide of ‘presence’ even when the work is materially, ephemeral, nomadic, immobile, or is made to be erased. Site specificity starts with the idea of being tied to a specific location, an actual tangible place or a complex site composed of multiple elements. If modern abstractionists made their work places, transportable and nomadic site specific reversed that and was concerned with the environmental context in which the work was made. A real place is experienced by the body, which involves sensory immediacy and temporal duration of a site. This establishes an indivisible relationship between the site and the work. The demand for physical presence was seen as the body resistance to institutional discipline, market economy transportability and virtually, transporting art goods as exchangeable commodities. To be ‘specific’ also meant to decode institutional conventions and their motivated operations trying to generate economic value of their product. The site falls into the ‘coincidence with the literal space’, the physical condition of a specific location and the previous conceptions of the site. Many have argued that the work falls under the definitions of the institution and the production, dissemination and communication of the work become parts of the site as a critical intervention. Going against institutional habits and commercialization site specific works become extremely antithetical and even antivisual to come to be textual and didactic, expositional or performances bracketed by temporal boundaries. The site specificity is moved to the site of critical site: to the site of viewing provoking the viewer’s critical understanding and regarding the ideological conditions of viewing. In this case the relationship with a site is not based on physical permanence but on the unfixed impermanence experienced as ‘fleeing situation’. The dominant practices of site specificity however today turn to more site-‐oriented practices in pursuit for engagement with the viewer and the real space of the everyday-‐ a critique on culture that is inclusive of non-‐art spaces, non-‐art institutions, and non-‐art practices. So public sites are being considered outside of the confines of the physical, the institutional and the intellectual property. Furthering these practices site-‐specific works occupy hotels, supermarkets, staircases, metro stations, buses and the city. Within this site –specificity is informed by a wide range of disciplines: anthropology, sociology, mechanics, hydraulics, urbanism, political theory, even everyday cooking). The distinguishing characteristic if the site specific work is both the relationship of the work to the actuality of the location and the social conditions in which those happen. Unlike previous conception of site specificity the work is not preconceived but becomes generated in the course of action. However even in those instances many works are brought back to the institution (referred to as the third site) due to artists finding ways to meet their work with society in curatorial frameworks where their site specific artworks are residing and are being made for. So here we have again a relationship to the institution but a more integrative one. Many artists working with site-‐specific art deal with variety of concepts revolving around that and many find their works anchored in the discursive site. They perceive cultural debates, theoretical concepts and political problems, community or seasonal events as particular sites that can house the discursive potential of the awareness and the addressing of the ideologies needed to be addresses through artistic frameworks. [Explain ‘functional site’, p.95 is Site oriented practice functioning between sites, a mapping of institutional and discursive filiations and the bodies that move between them. Is a site of overlaps of texts, images, videos, physical spaces devoted to a particular focus’. A chain of meanings which is to say that the site is structured around (inter)textually rather than physical locations and the sequence of events happens through spaces, that is, a nomadic narrative whose paths are articulated by the passage of the artist that experiences transitively one thing after another. A provisional summary here would be that site specificity has transformed from grounded –location fixed to ungrounded-‐discursive vector. We ‘ve schematized here 3 paradigms of site specificity: phenomenological, social/institutional and discursive. Those definitions overlap and simultaneously are found in various cultural practices even in the work of a single artist. In addition to the discussed site oriented art which readily take the social issues, more and more artists engage with the collaborative participation of audience groups as means to strengthen the possibility of art to penetrate actual sociopolitical happenstances and bring a greater meaning through physical contact with people, rendering even social groups and making ‘the conceptual
76 leap of the public role of the art and the artist’. The more site specific and site oriented practices are becoming more and more ‘unhinged’ by their location and emerges in variety of complex issues related to that: What is the originality and the uniqueness of the work? What are the artist authorship conditions and how he problematizes that/or does not with reader-‐viewers and collaborators? What is the commodity status of the anti-‐commodity, immaterial, performance collaborative work? What site specificity once defied as commodification by insisting on immobility today it uses nomadism and for the same purposes that site specificity was bound to in the first place: nontransferable, resisting the movement of capitalistic goods. In this new view the nomadic has become a fluid way to resist capital, power and unhinge site of resistance to the ideological establishment of the capitulation of power and capitalist expansion. Photographic documentation, drawings and sketches of site specific works have become the main way to transport and exhibit the work within the standard exhibition staple of the art market. Many site specific works are relocated and refabricated because of costs of transportation, because they were too fragile to be moved, or because their locational character required a re-‐siting of the work on site. Relating back to Serra’s saying that there are works that cannot be moved and to move the work is to destroy it more and more artists practices seek the possibilities in transferability and mobilization. By the very process of institutionalization many overturn the place-‐ boundeness principle through which site specificity developed their critique of ahistorical autonomy of the object. Site-‐bound works make transferability and mobilization new norms for site specific practices. Site specific has become to mean ‘ to be moved under certain circumstances’. Decontextualisation in the guise of historical and re-‐contextualization’s are series of normalizing reversals in which once again the specificity of the site is rendered irrelevant making it easier for autonomy to be smuggled back into the work and allows it to gain back the primary source of the works meaning. The work is re-‐ described as a personal choice rather than structural reorganization of aesthetic experience. The artist is self-‐serving the ambivalence of cultural legitimization. This problematizes the authorship of the artist and its presence at the point of re-‐production of the work : weather through his presence or through an instruction or itinerary certified by the artist for those that will re-‐install it in its new site specificity as ordered by the artist.[Continue specific discussions on authorship, presence and nomadic site specificity] ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In and Through Space: the situation constructed between two bodies talking Encounters as sites, encounters as lived spaces Today’s “performance ” art offer to “site-‐specific” and has developed an understanding of site beyond its location as the place of the work in relation to spatial and ethnographic practices and theories. The argument that performed space can reside within an ethnographic perspective that includes the research processes of fieldwork as well as the artist bringing ethnographic material into the artistic world. These understandings do not present the sites in terms of sole spatiality but in relation to the cultural and performative
77 practices that produce extensions of the physical space. Practically, that those sites happen when I meet people on the way while walking, or else, that they happen in the specific site location of the conversation in question. I did not approach the conversations as documentation for relational art-‐I did not tell my self-‐go out walk and talk with strangers, come back and record. Prior to assuming that a conversation is a site I was trying to incorporate interactive strategy into my walks and around the Island. Instead of trying to invite people to come at that specific location around the Island I realized that the interactive element is already happening while I am on the move, in the elevator, on the street in the water, in the store… The reason for not recording those with sound was because I do not encounter the conversation as a work before a conversation occurs. I am not aware of documentation so that I can completely experience the site as it happens in its spontaneity and doing it was far more important. I would record it afterwards with a text story remnant of the lived situation. This allows me re-‐create the encounter in a new space and the significant moments in relation to this investigation, as well as, allows for the possibility that the stranger can add to the reinvention of that conversation. Instead of having on our hands a recording of our conversation, a re-‐writing of it stresses the inventive element and care to how we tell stories and what kinds of stories we re-‐tell. Such texts allow for the re-‐visit the site of the story, forging and adding post reflective thoughts to their broader context of the complex cultural conditions that produce the sociopolitical conditions of the locations in question. So, we have the first, the site of walking, the second site – the moment of encounter, the third site-‐ the moment of exchange, the forth site the textual recording of the lived story and the possible 5th site -‐ the adding to and the re-‐ writing of that artist’s text by the stranger. Raising the stakes of the moment-‐ of encounter and not the text. What are the needs for performance (experience) in question, taking into consideration the function/state and the possibilities consequential to participation… What do we want it to do? Would this be a deeper understanding of the histories forming the changes of the location in question, would this be the consciousness that a deeper understanding has the potential to participate in social space created? The answer of this cannot be answered solely by the artist but one becomes a co-‐creator within the field of the questions that arise as important to address at that moment within the specific cultural conditions and personal reflections of the storyteller and the storytelling. We could have the aim to ‘reach’ a state (site) as a result of an activity. This draws again to the experiential site but a question more to: the activity shared as a site has the potential to create a community of conversations-‐ these stories disrupt the alienation consequential to social isolation due to immigration and economic crisis forced displacement. The here site work is not always sited within the walking line but it is the displacement of the body and the duration spent in that displacement. That is -‐ when the site of the work is within the segments of the body – the experience of the work becomes contingent upon encounter with the duration measured by the awareness of the walker’s/writer’s/speaker’s r own duration and participation102.103
where the pedestrian is in the constant process of being aware of
78 However, self-‐contradictory, this journey is important for the unknown tracks being taken. It is not so much important to be explained, however, the more textualized the more drifting occurs-‐ the more unstable and the more loose its context and relationships become. (same drifting can occur when thinking). Paddling and walking for example do that drifting as well text does, however the difference is that while in action the brain and the body have a completely different experience of drifting and multiple spaces constituted of varied ideas. In that, while paddling what the mind creates is drifting that re-‐tells the pieces scattered over the borderlands and re-‐tells the same story again in completely different manner. In that, new relationships and new ways to invent on drifting are created. There appears to be a profound synchronicity and concentration between though and bodily parts and consciousness of the physical movement.
A conclusion that is not a conclusion: […..]
her performance in the city 103 “The Non-‐Site’s ‘mapping’ emerges, finally, in the restlessness of this relationship; in the possibility of the Non-‐Site’s convergence with the ‘Site’, in the implication of one in the other, and so in the Here, ‘the site is a place where the work should be but isn’t’ (Bear and Sharp 1996: 249–50): the site appears in the promise of its occupation by the Non-‐Site, where a recognition of the site assumes the absence of the work, yet the work is a necessary index to the site. Indeed, the Non-‐ Site’s site-‐specificity is an effect of this contradiction, in which the work and the site threaten to occupy, and be defined in, the same precise place.” from Kaye, Nick 2000. Site Specific Art: performance, place and documentation.Routhlege:London and N/Y 104 the means by which city planning forces our movement in a particular trajectory, by attempting to traverse buildings vertically. At once a futile gesture and a grasping for freedom, it reveals the restrictions that are placed on our freedom of movement by the built environment and the regulation of city planning.
a rabbit hole in Outlandia Â
I lived in rural Bulgaria, in between a tiny village of 300 people, and a bigger city, a smaller one, and the capital. I lived there in between long enough when I came to Athens. When I go back there I see many things as a stranger. When I came to Athens I was a stranger to the big city lights but they were a great fascination. The megalithic was making the feel of the small but at times bigger and as if I am flying, especially when I am in a fast moving vehicle watching the lights. I would walk out in the night in Athens, and would just wonder on foot to understand the neighborhood and possibly to meet someone new. 105
Back here I now have those multiple webs creating tiny maps of the streets of those cities. The buildings look older, others renewed, some things look very different creating entirely new sense of the spaces. Only at certain spaces I can go and feel somewhat similar to how I felt then. The difference is that now I give attention to the public monuments created during Communism, as before they were something else to me.
Over there Sound. Sounds. Athens is the city of sounds. Motorbikes, buses, cars, movement, people, lights, way to many cars and lights, and ...the sea. The tiny streets around the center near Plaka offer exuberant amount of tiny passageways, stones, tiny bars, street musicians and hidden galleries passages, all sorts of places to eat and sit on the street. One and very distinctive observation I made is the ways in which public squares are built. 105
‘Cities have always offered anonymity, variety, and conjunction, qualities best basked in by walking: one does not have to go into the bakery or the fortuneteller' s, only to know that one might. A city always contains more than any inhabitant can know, and a great city always makes the unknown and the possible spurs to the imagination.’ Solnit, Stroller, 572
81 More specific Questions106
Sometimes Over here in nowhere The misconceived prison for the refugee: Why I will leave Greece but I want to stay? By Rosina Ivanova and other voices, ‘translating myself by quoting all others’108 and traveling tales
What do you think of migrants? Should they go back ‘home’? What do you think about the immigrants and immigration in Greece? Can migrants navigate through it? How do you understand that someone is not Greek if he is not talking? How do you separate the tourists from the immigrants so as not to exercise ruthless rudeness of explicit recommendations about going back to that terrible place ‘home’.
Migration issues misconceived: non people in non space Their Outlandia is my outlandia. I am like a tourist and often like a
tourists. When I am here I am not from here, when I go back there I am not from there. I am from somewhere-‐someplace else-‐ from here there and an elsewhere. For people who have been disposed and ‘have been forced to leave for uncertain circumstances’ they return to the no land of here called Xeniland or in its Greatness -‐ Outlandia. The roads of the solitary walker, a traveler, a xenos, a non tourist, a practitioner. The process through which people are mutilated by the shifting event and are expelled from home they learn to live in insolation, if not, in multilayers without navigation. Why is direction finding and orienteering so important? Refugeeism109 for example is made by political and economic conditions impossible to stay permanent. That is to make distinction between being 106
Performance as space and vice versa What can geographical theosries of space performance theories, site specific and public art add to lived performance? Specifically performance as lived space and lived space of performance How is space performed? How do we perform and document performance as lived space? How can we investigate spaces as lived spaces and lived spaces as stories? How is walking a lived space? How can we perform a mundane performance (lived performance) and keep its creative side? When does performance becomes a relational work? When does performance becomes a mundane work situated in life? how do we perform a mundane work as art and still keep its creative inventiveness? 108 Trinh T.Minh-‐ha 109 (ibid)
82 forced in this transitory state and willingly to engage in it. Staying permanent in what kinds of dwellings? The need to ‘settle down’ is like proving that one is not needles homeless xsenos. Intensely connected to the history and the politics that have erupted to displace them are further connected with the local conditions of the provisional here shaped by the brutality, the ‘routing’ and the ‘direction plotting’ of the nation state translated in the vertices practiced every day in the prejudices of people. Almost Everywhere. In the bus, in the metro, at the market in the supermarket, at the beach, next to the περιπτερο110, at the bus stop…Realtimerudnessapproachestechniques. Migrants are burden to a community centers to the community of nothingness. Who is really the burden of community? That is how they inhabit nonspaces like Omonia or other city squares not populated by locals where you don’t have to pay. When I say non spaces I don’t refer to the expensive airports and train stations (like Auge did) where public sleeping is strictly prohibited no matter that your body needs to sleep until the next flight. You need to buy another coupon or a room and this way forced to use the services ‘offered’. If a migrant is at the airport he or she is very different and you can understand that from…. They are almost invisible. Their bodies are visible but their doings and lifestyles are rarely reported, if not, in the report they are the ruthless once coming from the outside taking up the space and the jobs, creating dubious zones where the rules of locals are replaced with something dirty or out of the law. The media represents them as ‘coming from the outside’ taking up the space and doing something very scary to the locals. Those ‘outsider’ are all one and they all have those characteristics and do one and the same ting-‐ they hurt the elderly, the local, they, violate, they, ‘break in’. They are like different color stickers that never stick, walking almost invisible, only their faces and their clothes separates them from the rest of the fabric but their lives becomes and stays at rest – a mystery of walking practices from one place to another unknown place. The only creatures that walk long inter-‐city distances here are the migrants. Those who fail to secure happiness in the adopted land also fail to appreciated, have no connection with it, they are always from some place else, and they are disengaged and their imagined connection with home is more of an engaged business, or else tied to a bank account number that sends money back home (golden eggs111). The migrant is tempted to naturalize himself even if is through an imagined better sometime imagined in the future of here. The ksenos is named as a separate category and this a kind of inclusion happens because ‘to be classified makes you
[periptero] from Greek, kiosk
performance for the Athens Photo Festival, ‘Kindergarden Golden Dawn (insert photo essay documentation supporting materials)
83 part of that classification’ and then is the feeling of fitting into a non fitting category. ‘Foreigness is accepted when I don’t draw a visible line between the Other and myself’. When I go back ‘home’ I feel estrangement. There I can draw a very thick line of otherness and stumble upon it, almost unable to speak my mother tongue and estranging people further when I slip in English talking practices. I am a stranger to this language, to the Bulgarian language, to Greek language also, but often a sibling to all. 112
The Statue of Liberty the ensima in the Azax and Scavengereeism I was aware that this was a dream but it didn’t make the rest of the dream less real... I was at an interview for a job and i had to explain to her why was it that i was working all these years ILLEGALLY-‐ because there was no other job available for me and those that were didn’t want to pay the “extra”. She was really trying to understand me but somehow she couldn’t.
85 It is a common practice in Greece that immigrants don’t get health insurance let alone ENSIMA (payments from your employer that cover your health ins. and pension)-‐ they are underpaid that is why they make it to the position, let alone is very difficult to find a person who cleans floor or washes plates and that this person is Greek; is a common practice that an Albanian, Bulgarian, Romanian would wipe shit (not a bad job). Then i watch public speakers, and even creative people (supposedly those have grown conceptually not to be racist) at TED that say jokes ab how the Albanians take OUR jobs (their not ours). What jobs -‐ i haven't seen a Greek person to want to work the job of any immigrant. Migrants are like the scavengers...do the work that nobody else wants to do; and why is it that those are your jobs, because they happen on this geo area? The problem is that when you get fired or let go you don’t have any right to pension, experience or unemployment benefits. Even those that pay some find other doors: Like my pregnant American friend, who when got pregnant was 'let go' from work so that they don't pay maternal time, like my friend who acquired and MFA and was let go so that someone new without and MFA would come so that they don't pay the extra...its a whole miracle-‐ a vehicle for doing things. I’ve always been sure that there are some companies around that protect their employees, but my illegal experience of serving, making cocktails, washing windows and taking care of people 'under the table' could create expected questions because there was no over the table…My mother and myself, we would pay the insurance and the ensima alone from the salary(turn the table upside down) but now this is gone…I am performing this on the stage and I see the dissatisfaction of the audience they are about to explode arguing and I know that there are so many other things I want to say on the subject but somehow my mouth becomes mute and I cant talk, I cant explain to defend the subject and I know that this is very important, I cant explain because I get carried away fro the hurtful fallings that people see this as racial (imagined) issue and not as contemporary problem. It reminds of the situation when I was in the bus someone stole my wallet and i called the police to check the bus and the only thing the people inside the bus were interested in is to scream for the bus to start taking them home and get what they were entitled to….they started screaming, swearing malaka, calling me Xeni (from another world) that cannot do this on their land in their THEIR bus on THEIR land and what am i doing there….so they started the conversation among each other in the bus how we (the xeni, and I am the representative of the ‘we’ take their jobs and this WHY their country is experiencing economic crisis!, because we-‐ the xeni took their jobs! and I was the problem of the entire country and the reason for the economic Crisis once again sitting there, knowing that my passport/ id is in the lost wallet – my ticket out ) i asked them what would they do if this happens to them: the wallet not the immigrant position…xeni xenos, xeni; Can this speak to
86 you?113 ; when I stay at queues I start hearing the word whispered around my ears and eyes checking out my shoes, outfit as of i am an alien-‐ other kind (this cannot be proven easily disproven as some paranoid state on my part),so i have to work with "facts", show pictures, document, buses, tickets, bruses (I cannot works with feelings bec feelings are ONLY self imposed feelings of my paranoiac states of non becoming, fear, irrationality, delusional, false accusations and phobia of ksenophobia); when I call services to fix something I played for they ask me where I am from and start explaining me not to tell them how to do their job because I am xeni and so I know less and I cant orient my self, I am lost in my knowledge of how things are done here -‐ not in a Xeni way (again I am delusional and somehow disoriented). (this hypothesis is always explained very well, thorough almost as art history thesis laid out with no room for comment on my part-‐ explaining me that I don’t have a saying in the conversation becomes more important than selling their product on the phone!; this is the first conversation we are having ‘where I am from’, when I get a phone advertisement and I ask them politely not to call back again the conversation ab ‘where I am from’, explaining to me that I don’t know the laws of this country I am xeni and that I cant ask them not to …advertise at 23:00 in the night…when I go to cut my hair…everyone is talking with everyone, I am xeni, only few start a conversation with me, and the others observe with disparagement, these are feelings in the atmosphere, they are triggered by specific word xeni, something like a stray dog, something that is not in its right place (I agree) and something that is somehow less than what they are, I try not to even give them any attention, lately this has stopped to be annoying because is kind of like part of the weather, but I ve notices that I accumulate around 7 of those Xeni Xenos Xeni Xena experiences (within a week) I blow up in the face of the 8th start talking about human rights, politeness, understanding and fare treatment….talking to the weather, about the weather, talking to the currents of the climate all around me…a social fabric of some sort and the machine that was making it, had some major computer error and turned the people to grow Xeni to themselves, their closest to human feeling of understanding was deteriorated taken over a virus and eaten down to its very roots, and humans grew now without that feeling of empathy for other humans. A guy in front of the bank (showing I know my location) once told me: ‘Why are you so passionate about it. Calm down, siga, (I was calm). No matter what you tell me and if you meet me in 3 months from now I will still be that impolite guy that tells you these terrible things. You cannot do anything to change my mind and I can do what ever is that I want to do and tell you!’ Within the brushstrokes of the canvas of a setting for optimism and making my personal practice as an artist based and for people….for contact with strangers ...a motivational setting …of some sort for longing
Jennifer Nelson question from her text Giving Birth in Crisis.
87 for the Other. The Scavengers knew that this part of the game they are participating and they don’t really talk about it because it doesn’t take them anywhere, could only create problem and put some fire and more pressure in the weather. How do we scavengereeisms xeni, xenos, xena, could talk about how is this affecting us, or do we continue to pretend that it doesn’t exist, Et si tu n'existais pas J'essaierais d'inventer l'amour Lately with the falling down of an overall feeling of nationalism and pride those instances are less-‐ maybe I ve grown to be more and more at the “right places” on less Xeniland; now we are not so much ‘from the outside’ as much as ‘taking their jobs’. This is a general weather I wouldn’t say I am Xeni to. Is something I know well, I feel and I wish I could become xeni to this feeling……and I have grown to do so. I take and I put forks on my head, plates, Azax, Ariel, and other towels, clothes pegs, water, nylons so that I cant see what is happening around me. I don’t want to hear it see it let alone experience, I will continue to put forks on my head. Eat some Xeni Fafla, waffle, falafel and fly to the Caribbean or the AMERICA-‐ the dream of the xenos, like I had a dream to come Grekoland because for some reason I was convinced is better-‐ it is way better economically than Bulgaria so all these other things look like tiny bugs and bugs are parts of biting you. It is like doing a performance about staying in a place where kounoupia bite you as a performance. You start taking them seriously on the 6th bite, but who the heck is actually going to a place and sitting on a chair and having them bite her for entire 2 hours without any resistance, let alone 10 years of no resistance and lots of forks on the head! I am the statue of Forks Liberty, completely deteriorated and blind to all that bec i (the embodied problem WE xeni, they! RIDICULOUS ) dont really have time to look around.. the more the Azax the cleaner it becomes, we(who is we) need some other kind of Azax to clean up all the shit, WHAT SHIT?
The Rabbitness in the Outlandia
Outlandia is like living on an island, being a rabbit and having all sorts of unknown holes to hop in. When you get in the hole you start falling Down Down Down Down114. In that very moment of falling what the rabbit does is something similar to Alice. The rabbit doesn’t. The rabbit thinks about the possibility of the hole, the potential of falling, the duration of falling and the possibility to get in and imagine all these Other holes around and their relation. It is the archiving of each hole and making its relative connections and possibilities in relation to the other holes. It is the cartography of holes. Here getting out of the hole is not a solution. Getting out is not thought of for a moment. Getting in deeper and deeper and deeper is what counts the rabbitness in the hole. The deeper the jump the more of rabbitness the rabbit possesses. The darker the hole the more of rabbitness the rabbit can experiment with. At times rabbitness is so strong that rabbit jumps in the hole and the jump is the only documentation of this act (and this sentence). Rabbit hole 115
Conversation with Jean-‐Marie
Iceberg in the middle of the sea(project report)
What looks like an iceberg in the middle of a Aegean sea or maybe a mirage, or a photoshoped reality, is actually an ‘open space’ on the tip of the Rafti Island and beyond (35 kilometers southeast of Athens and on the Aegean Sea side of Attica) I tuned into a site for experimentation and wanderings. The space in question is the island’s skin, the atmosphere, the aquatic life arounding. The island together with and The Elephant Rock, The Love Cave Beach and a hill on top of the beach has a Garden. make up Outlandia. Outlandia is visited by a person who decided that will find all important artistic questions and transformational decisions for experimentation with people in art, and with the self. There. Where? In Outlandia. No people live there (with the exception of two inhabitants on the Lova Cave beach and a few around it which is what makes it even more of a challenge in solitary loitering be tuned into interactive approaches in performance and in life. Ownership There are many reason fro why I went to Outlandia and what I do there with who. But those reasons are not logical and are not subject to principles of validity. They are related to complex histories of pasts, of intention, non intention, spontaneity, of ephemeralities and migration practices… About x, y, z meters beneath in time, it can take up to x, y, z ideas in the air and examine both how I invent performative spaces there (some imagined), want is the nature of these transient spaces and who else does the rabbit become? There are many political edges for I do this. I started collaborating with my adviser Jean Marie in August 2013 and the 1st ‘lead’ we had was that I intend to move a bed and sleep at the beach which turned into concern of how to explore the space. The intention to move the bed was because of the need to… The 2nd important concern was how to re-create the site and think in terms of interactive space but also be my private space, my escape vehicle, my 9 moths planning on escapism and isolation and the possibly upcoming of 1 month of isolation. On my way to the island I found all other obstacles and intriguing paths to take most of which had no destination. Bordering somewhere between private actions complemented through public appearances, involving demonstrations of my manifestos and invisible actions of inter-city walking; I would be pulled back to discussions about Outlandia and more canoedeling. These out in the gallery inter city walks and actions in Outlandia are taken as and reefed to in this text as ‘invisible works’ and ‘moving through
90 spaces’ ‘walks to nowhere’ whose audience is passers by, police, guards, strangers, and my private visitors (people I invite to Outlandia). However, I would not like to keep this division of audience and maker. These ‘invisibilitas’ (are recorded when possible with ‘walking stories’) hoping that I will have more time and energy to involve this audience in the making of the work and incorporating not just their bodies in photography but also their physical input. In a way their conceptual input is what directs directly (or else does not direct because of the amount) the decisions for my work- that is, that, I do not know what will happen even if I want to and that the heart of all that marching’ and streaming’s energy is driven by the creative nature found everywhere in peoples suggestions about directionality and non directionality. This often puts in question the negotiation that occurs between the Self and Other, ‘the idea of getting lost’ ‘going nowhere’, open space under construction’, the problem with legitimization of ‘invisible art’; its negotiation with ‘lived life’ and the very transitions from the work being in constant process of its making to what it means to do a finalizing a piece.
It was important to me ‘not to direct the people’ (which is a kind of direction) into a specific project that is about xyz – i.e. ‘putting the hearer into a certain frame of mind’. So I decided to undergo through that state myself. That is, by talking to people about what is the islands, what could be, what happens, what can happen, why a canoe etc. , I am re-directed constantly because the combination of people’s suggestions and visions of it (including my interpretations) cannot be predetermined in advance, nor there is time to record them. Whatever the narrative created by unknown acquaintances on the road or the visions of the interpreters of this experiment everything is brought into question and multiple relationships are re-discovered. However, there thinking is not to be understood as waiting or not moving. Thought is one of the most flexible materials and is constantly making connections. Whatever the interpretations of the interpreters I always see a political in the canoe, the political in the line, the political in making a hut from plants and the freedom of will, the right to m body, the right to walking, and the right to spontaneity. That is apart from the physical actions, Outlanida is a small spot on the hill on top of the beach looking towards the island and the air above the sea level. With that air I make sculptures. [was moved to spaces, places and sites chapter] These concerns are at the very heart of postmodern heterotypologies of disorientation ‒ the inability of oneself to map the self in the world of transitional capitalism. Unwillingly one is put into disorientation. Now ‒here- so many things were mentioned ‒ and gaps are left openexactly because of that un-mapping. The challenge here is to distinguish between the variations of transitionality, ephemerality and instability and the variations of un-mapping. That is, how the first can be practiced as freedom of will and the other is a political instability and a political problem. In that
91 every citizen is required to perform the stability of legitimization with identification cards and income and the other is . I am walking through or am I moved through the architecture of space ‒ the physical structure (unused) ? And are people-device oriented and reduced to few experiential walks in front of the computer; Can we see this another way? Or is it again about inducing irresistibility of the goods of God116 Capitalism and God bank account and God car and God travel outside. Whereas my 1st year living life was limited to living and writing in a house of 75 square meters in Athens and inviting few visitors to talk with on my couch, in 2013 I moved to a 40 square meters house at the city of Porto Rafti. However, in the latter the square meters of the house are not important anymore because the action, the experimentations are towards the space in between the island and the coast. Those actions are my scams on how to get there, canoeing there and of course my occasional straying to long inter-city walking journeys without destinations (as much as possible whereas many times I was sitting many days in the 40 square meters room and writing about it). In this second year my living life is widened to more continuous writing and the stream writing stories (immobile states) walking, canoeing to the island and living with another human being that supposedly would join me in the inhabiting of the island, or support this endeavor, which is negotiable. His invitation and intention for interaction is what inspired me in the first place. These continuations could change easily and be transformed into something else: into another medium, another focuses, another 7 hours of walking. I did not have the rule go to the island every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. The method was more fluid than that however I did have the rule ‘invite people every Monday’ and... Because of unsettled practical need to connect the two sites (border house and Outlandia) and find ways to invite people to the new site, I undertook a 43 km walking performance (signaling the site and my devotion to get there), inviting people to follow me all the way to the island (absurd way to involve people but exploring the limits of my body, exhaustion and the devotion to do it was at that moment extremely necessary…). This was preceded by 2 weeks of everyday 6 hours intercity walks, and after that continued with walking explorations on the island alone and walking intercity to nowhere. That sentence is the only documentation of those walks but people are welcome to come and walk with me including you. You just need to get down on the Athens Airport, Greece and signal me somehow….start walking towards Porto Rafti and watch out for the cars. It took me troumendous amount of energy to explain to my beloved once (especially after I was detained by the police during the 43 km walk for walking to nowhere) that walking to nowhere in the night is meaninngfull 116
inspired by Toby Short from his statement on mageia
92 for its meaninglessness and the possibilities it presents and that I have the right to walk in those unknown spaces during the night or at whatever time In the meantime, I had the occasional public performances in collaboration with my self and a group called the Guerrilla Optimists where I had the opportunity to collaborate with people not for a project that was initiated by me but by all of us. […]
Inviting people to Porto Rafti (another intention) would happen in a site of a hill near by the island and the view straight forward of the sole island, a distinctive rock formation and a beach under the hill where I park my canoe vehicle, a space known by the people as Love Cave beach. Within this setting the challenge was to excite people strong enough about the idea of going to the island (intention), or at least share with them my anticipations and reasons for this need as well as the nature of my experimentations so that we could at least start a conversation about artistic practice with people who thought or visited very little art sites ever. This would be done in an everyday setting in which visitors are invited to lunch or dinner with me and my new partner Ivan whose invitation to go to live and recreate my habitus there as an artistic act was what brought me there in the first place. An extreme amount of energy was celebrated to inviting them, to preparing food and spaces for those conversations. Ideally my longings for living and getting to the island would bring a energizing conversations with those with whom I discuss the possibilities of the site and would invigorate imagination, consciousness of the island and the space around it. I had to attend the creative proposals from people on how to bring more celebration into our everyday lives and during our dinner parties, beach walks and would eventually have the potential to develop into getting to the island: physically or conceptually, or would at least start a sceming conversation about such a possibilitie. (another intention) Thought moving and being in transit either from Outlandia to anywhere, or from the coast to the island, or immobile writing….. there was one element that was reoccurring and that I found important to revisit at times. This was the idea of the alien, the stranger, the immigrant, the walker, the illegal crossing, the wanderer and the site. (another intention) In physical setting this would be a reoccurring chain of flowers on my neck , a bell, my two feet and my intentions for interaction. Re-occuring conversations with strangers I met during my walks… As the project progresses the canoe trips to the island became more and more often. (another intention) How is this helping me re-think what kinds of documentation is created for the interactive occasions?
Materials- imamterial My entire two years of practicing are entirely made with ideas and interpretations contributed to me by people in a conversation, the objects they give me including all the food I eat and materials I find during my walks. For example, I did not intend to use a canoe but the canoe was a suggestion and lend to me by a person I met on my way. The same for the rabbit ears, the lazarka costume and the shoes and the oranges. They involved a specific exchange. For example I proposed my free help to care for and cut the orange trees. I would carry a basket with me to the island, carry a basket with oranges and bring them to The Guerrilla Optimists group, and invite a group of people to come and harvest some oranges. An ‘oranges party’ followed a walk in the garden, to the top of The Elephant Rock and conversations about the Island. Another example is the lazarka costume lend to me by the Sliven Military club in exchange for a picture of me performing with it.
Why am I not leaving Greece From: anonymous Edited by Alexandros Georgiou, March 16, 2014 Written March 15 Why am I not leaving Greece: From: anonymous I am staying here (abroad-‐ Athens) and not going anywhere else because I want to avoid going through any kind of immigration services again. In the past (circa 2006) immigrants would go to Dimotiki Astinomia (police station) of the area where you have applied for a temporary address and this is where you will submit your application for immigration (written in Greek). That time I signed many documents written in Greek – I had no idea what they were saying, nor what the immigration clerks were telling me. The thing is that even asking for an empty form was made to make you feel ‘guilty’ you are asking for it. Latter on the process changed and you would do these applications straight in the local police quarters of your district. But when you go to the police they tell you ‘ you are not to come here’, go to the Dimitiki Astinomia. When you go to the Dimotiki Astinomia they tell you ‘you are not to be here’ you must go to the Police Building. So you are to go nowhere. There was another confusion that in order to apply for a permit you need to have an address. In order to have an address you need to have a job. To have a job you need to have a permit-‐ circular impossibility. The other confusion is bigger-‐ refugees coming without papers cannot stay (for they are illegal) and cannot leave (for they don’t have papers). Some of them stay for 6 years in this prison of nowhere without the right to their body and the city (to
95 walk in the city) without a right to employment. They are nowhere to go, nothing to do. In the last years it has been a common practice that you go to the new center for immigration at Petrou Rali. Petrou Rali building is one of the ugliest and most scary institutions I have been to. It has back and front entrances. On the back where is an off road street there is a great wall made of metal bars and chicken wires. Someone from inside comes close to the door and screams something in Greek in a very bad mood of the day and says: Today only 40 will enter. This mean that when they open the door only 40 will go in and then from those 40 there will be the possibility to apply for becoming an immigrant. From this follows that there is a specific amount of bodies-‐fly papers that are allowed per day. The rest of the people, the long cues of human bodies are waiting there for days. Some of them live in the near by park, of course police hikes constantly breaks them away. The ridiculous thing is that there are so many real stories online from those people, footage from actual attacks and documentaries of this needless violence but the situation doesn’t change. Every time I was there, I am in the state of mind I see only Pertou Rali surrounded by police carrying machine guns. I hated that. Every time I go there and I see the look on their face I always think-‐ What is stopping this person from just freaking out and taking my life away – just like that-‐ in a splash of a second. Every time I am to enter – I need to explain to them why as if they are protecting something against me and the feeling is that I am "breaking in". What are they protecting there anyways? The public servants? Why so many guns and so many police? Why all these machine guns in and around the immigrations building in the middle of the city? When they ask me things they come close to me with their guns, I feel they emphasize that they are carrying this metal monster. I wonder do they have a safety button – I can’t think about anything else but their guns. I get dizzy. I can’t explain. This makes me look even more suspicious than they already have assumed. I don’t want to go through similar immigration practices with metal walls and people carrying guns right at my face. No immigrating offices again please. No more ‘guilty until proven innocent’.
However, not leaving is mainly about fear and lack of energy (very optimistic), but staying or coming back would be for the nature and the feeling of the sunlight and the sea. Also staying in Greece would be better because back home in Bulgaria there is more corruption and more violence in the streets; surely here I don't feel that at any moment I may be the victim of a local gang, that they can just grab me and use me as their puppet for the night, which is worse that machine guns as landscape view. And there is surely less drugs here as well. Staying here means being reminded at least 6 times a week that I don’t belong here and I have to go back “from where I came”, that we (the scavengers-‐ how I call people working low played -‐no ENSIMA jobs) take “their” jobs …. I stay here and want to stay here, because on my bumpy road I met many local people that helped me in many ways and enjoy the spirit in the air during the summer and that air on top of the sea level. With that air I can make sculptures.
Miwon Kwon ‘relational specificity’ and Doreen Massey ‘relational spatiality’.
Whereas Miwon Kwon writes: “[ ] addressing the uneven conditions of adjacencies and distances between one thing, one person, one place [space], one thought, one fragment next to another, rather than invoking equivalences via one thing[space] after another (Kwon 1997, p.166) “ This Miwon Kwon writes is a kind of ‘relational specificity’ I trace to Massey’s relational spatiality’ that she names as ‘relational politics’. For Massey space is made through its relations. ‘Space becomes, therefore, the very ground of the political because to think spatially is to engage with its processes of coexistence. In this sense it creates a type of relational spatialities (politics) based on ‘the negotiation of relations, configurations’. So if one follows Kwon the interconnectedness of the possible reconfigurations of one ting [space] next to the other [space] will open up the negotiation of interrelations of spaces (sites) but according to Massey they will also ever discontinue and re-organizes their relatedness through the adding of the new arrivals. The interconnectedness of the possible reconfigurations of one thing[space/site/text] next to the other[space] ever discontinues and re-organizes their relatedness. Temporality is a prerequisite for spatiality or else temporality is taming spatiality and so relationality is an instance and a capture taking instantaneous fixed points of positionality providing provisional instances to unhinge that positionality and perform it as constellation of meanings as openings, entrances to other spaces.
Lefabvre proposed analysis of lived spaces and discusses our ‘right to the city’ within the context that the organization of space is a materialized product within modes of production and labor but is our right to transform the city through our movement in it.as the Marxists followed his line of thought and saw the structure of mobility as producing money, generating a model of production and the labor process. The Frankfurt School and that the consciousness of that reveal the possibilities that synthesis of transformation of space and time.
97 Caron, Emmanuel and Richaud, Lisa 2014, ‘Behaviour in Open Public Spaces. A Tentative Combination of Spatial Analysis and Interactionism.’ [ONLINE] Available at: < http://www.interdisciplinary.net/critical-issues/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/richaudsppaper.pdf. > [Accessed 15 February 2014].
In their essay ‘Behavior in Open Public Spaces. A Tentative Combination of Spatial Analysis and Interactionism.’ Emmanuel Caron and Lisa Richaud discuss the ‘understanding of social norms underpinning behaviors in open spaces’. Using the in situ ethnographic research they ‘try to demonstrate how “observing details” can be a relevant method to understand how public space is being constructed and performed .“open public space”, we refer to portions of the built environment which are physically open to anyone and which are not explicitly and/or immediately perceivably devoted to a particular type of activity. They create a revisitation of the site and observe it in terms of people’s movement and changes of their positions at the times of the days to explore how these different definitions of the situation are performed and coexist with one another. The two engage with public spaces and how to study those .’[O]bserving details’ are relevant to how space is being constructed. Though public places and through a spatial analysis they draw patters and discover behavioral and public norms. They discuss notions on public spaces, in situ ethnographic research, and how those evolve. The conceptual construction of place may be too tied to its mono historic image. One can ‘incorporate the culture into the definition of situation’ making evident how the same space can be caught in different social occasions (time). Multiple social realities occur in the same place which makes it impossible to grasp place as a single event. Sitting at a square then as a performative work would be a question of how do we form, think, experience, predefine and re-define the concept of social spaces? For more on spatial theorists, writers on space in social theory see Lefabvre, ‘right to the city’, David Harvey and Edward Soja who worked on the idea that space is the production of the social relationships Harvey connects our right to the city with individual rights and collective power that is inactively neglected and thus we neglect our human rights.
Solnit, Rebeca 2006. A Field Guide to Getting Lost. Reprint Edition. Penguin Books: London / NY. This book by Rebecca Solnit draws on intimate moments from her journey. It explores inventive ways of thinking and writing about the unknown through the practice of walking, wandering and getting lost in one’s thought. Often, her stream like thought explorations fuse with internal questions, practices of other artists and ways of seeing. She uses long illustrative sentences falling apart as she continuously takes the reader to a new point and looses connection with what was previously talked about. This way of writing about distance and walking makes connections with both physical and conceptual aspects of the physicality surrounding her, giving the reader a journey through her observations. Her book is constant weaving through unknown ways into her mind. Her very distinctive way of writing creates connections between concepts and elements seemingly dispersed and in a first stage of their shaping. Her writing appears unfinished or in process though her book is carefully structured and elaborated. In her book we can capture moments with performance and essays, with sculptures, yet at the same moment permitting a creative human mind at all times to make connections and traveling. I see her work as an allusion being made between creative existence and the inherent inventiveness of wandering/walking minds; as metaphor for duration in art practice and the durability of the artistic mind to question conceptions as the artist-writer breaths and walks into the unknown.
‘The Hymn To Freedom’ action, involved the bringing together of a group of immigrants in an artist studio in the center of Athes from including myself to work with a piano musician on weekly bases -to study and learn the Greek anthem. The idea was that we will learn the Greek anthem and we will sing it in front of the Supreme Court in Athens. For me this act was both finding an attachment to each other and a peculiar protest concerning our belonging to this country in the minds of others but mainly the interaction with the other participants created a sense of community. Jennifer (the initiator of this work) had planned a way to show this at the Kafeneion pop up urbanexhibition space (an alternative gallery space organized by Paul Zografakis which was perfect for this kind of experimentation because it was a real apartment for rent on the level of the side walk he obtained for free and was more of a ‘walk- in&drink a coffee with us’ space). The idea was that walk in and drink coffee would create a space to meet with the local passer by. For the night of the final performance, which was quite peculiar, we (all the participants) shared a very tiny room (almost a box space, somewhere on the back of this place where no one from the people that were in the main exhibition room to see the whole program could not see us) and so we were very close to each other, compressed in this back space for nearly two hours. When I say very close it means that we were all
98 rubbing onto each other and speaking in each others faces and this made us closer than ever before. After staying in this tiny room (at the back in the hidden room of Kafeneion where the rest of the people at Kafeneon cant see us) after the 2 hours we would walk through the main exhibition space where others were performing that night and out to the street facing the Supreme Court. On that sidewalk there we would sing the practiced anthem together- all lined up. My role in this project was as an assistant to Jennifer (this was 7 years ago) and for me it was not so much about the piano or the statement as much it was a blessing because of the tiny community of people from all over the world that formed during the weekly singing. My contribution to the project was very demanding in that I had to communicate with people from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Africa and other places to take their statements on why they are here, how they feel here and what is the nature of their belonging here- in Athens. Of course the challenge of that was to initiate a conversation in a language (since we rarely shared one and could not understand what the other is saying as well as the tension that I had to record that and the responsibility that their statements are passing though me and be aware of my biases in this type of communication and not to put something in their statement they didn’t mean) I did not know any of their mother tongues nor they knew English or Greek of Bulgarian but still we could speak. Here are some statements that were produced as a result of these conversations and were then slipped into peoples hands at Kafeneon, to those who were not part of the making of this experiment but saw us singing in the lined up hymn to freedom anthem. I think that the printed statements on the slips were making more sense to their original authors for having and seeing that their voices are present, out in the open and that they count and reveal something that we all kept inside for a very long time because no on ever asked…