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Study.Room.In.Exile. Gary Anderson and Lena Simic (The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home)

This performative paper was written during a 7 day separation (23 – 29 September 2015) of Lena, who stayed at home at in Liverpool, and Gary who was away at a conference in Athens, Greece. It was delivered as part of the Study Room in Exile launch on 30 September 2015 at the Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home. All photos were taken by Alex Eisenberg. The Study Room in Exile is a collaboration between the Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home and the Live Art Development Agency. LADA donated their publications to the Institute for the launch of the Study Room in Exile. In preparation for the launch Lena digests some of the LADA titles while Gary thinks about ‘exile’.

Day 1, 23 September 2015 Lena. EasyJet to Athens. I’m going into exile. The over pretty steward just made an announcement that, I think, she’d written herself. She asked everyone on board to ‘donate to UNICEF so they can get fresh water and medical supplies to the children of Syria’. Then, with solemn face and glittery lip balm she walked down the aisle with a small plastic bag and ‘Any donations please? Thank you’. ‘Any donations please? Thank you.’ ‘Any donations please? Thank you’. We’ll touch down in 23 minutes to temperatures of 23 degrees. The conference ‘Institutions, Politics, Performance’ begins at 11am tomorrow with a walking tour of the anarchist inspired ‘How failure of the state becomes the state of things’ by Konstantina Theodorou. The failure of our government to fulfl its legal obligation to receive refugees makes me want to fy this plane straight into Downing Street. Lena. On the long bus ride from the airport to Syntagma Square a different air steward, exhausted from work back from the airport, fell asleep on my shoulder. She did that nodding off thing for about 5 minutes then gently fell onto me. She woke up, went bright red and said ‘I’m so sorry’. I said it was perfectly fne and that if she liked she could stay there. After all, I thought, she was overworked and beautiful. She gave me a shy smile as she alighted, as if to ask forgiveness one last time. Lena. Our frst conversation in exile via WhatsApp. Sid’s back from Colomendy, the 1