Wednesday, December 17, 2008

YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES – Αnna Kafetsi: A conversation

ANNA KAFETSI: Flash poems, visual narratives, textual animations, text movies are some of the numerous terms used on the Internet to refer to your work. These, and other, terms describe in effect a hybrid digital narrativity, on the threshold between electronic pictorial poetry and prose, which incorporates words, sound, motion, using Flash computer software, merges artistic genres, leads language into new, exciting territories of aesthetic experience. You call your works simply “web pieces.” Would a distinction between a visual artist and a poet, like you two, still be meaningful? And how is it manifested in your joint work?

YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES: Distinctions are especially meaningful to those who make the distinctions. To us your distinctions are revealing because, quite frankly, we don't spend much time analyzing what we do. Distinctions such as yours give meaning to our work. They complete it. As paradoxical as it may seem, our job is to erase or muddle distinctions -- to create something different, to startle you into seeing the particularities of our work, making sense out of it. Once that's done, we all start over again. We muddle, you un-muddle. It's a great relationship.
We also like to call our work stuff.
Just coincidentally we were invited this fall to make presentations to the "digital writing community" at Yale University, to "language driven" digital artists, professors, and students at Brown University, and to "experimental poets" at Redcat (Roy and Edna Disney Cal Arts Theater), in L.A. -- three different writing networks with less overlap than you might think. Our point in mentioning this is that we were pleased to discover what they were all about, pleased to see how they felt we fit into their ways of looking at things, and pleased that we had never considered ourselves from their respective viewpoints. Pleased to be someone they thought we were and we never considered ourselves to be. Pleased to let them make distinctions about us.
Some people also like to distinguish us as pornographers.

Α.Κ.: Anonymity is an Internet condition, to a large extent adopted also by the artists who create on the web. Corporate names (such as YHCHI), pseudonyms, names or photos that do not correspond to actual persons, multiple identities… The point is that anonymity in all its forms affects the writing and reading process each time. Does it liberate the text from its author, or does it restore the author-reader relationship? What is your point of view as Internet storytellers?

YHCHI: Anonymity is both a shield and a weapon, in any case a provocation. Unpunished criminals are anonymous. Good-deed doers are often anonymous. Throughout history artists have also been anonymous. (But are they criminals or good-deed doers?) Anonymity drives good and evil, both in fact and in fiction. Anonymity conditions then not just the Internet, but life, without which there is no . . . mystery. Anonymity is a whodunit, a status that by definition should only be temporary. For us, this means that under the cloak of mystery we can be other than ourselves. The Internet is a great facilitator of the desire in many of us to be someone else. From there it's a mere question of defining (making distinctions) what an Internet storyteller is -- a not-so-easy definition, for everyone on the Internet is telling stories by sharing information, which is also, as may be in our case, disinformation.
Of course, the storyteller's desire for anonymity and mystery can't exist without the reader's equally strong desire for identification and revelation. In our case, we feel that the less readers know about us, the more they will plunge into our stories and reinvent who we are. They will do us a favor by making us other than ourselves.

Α.Κ.: “In the text, in a way, I desire the author: I need his figure […] as he needs mine,” wrote Roland Barthes in 1973 in “Le Plaisir du Τexte,” following his celebrated 1968 essay “The Death of the Author,” and his view had been regarded as a traditional shift. Today’s Internet reader also seeks the author’s identity, through the use of pseudonyms, and this quest can be a liberating process. Without biographical, racial, sexual, social or cultural stereotypes, which restrict the hermeneutical horizon of the works. In the era of anonymity, the biography of the author – or authors accommodated under the same pseudonym – does not reflect his reality; it turns it into fictional narrative. I cannot find a more brilliant example than your own RESUMAY I on your homepage

YHCHI: Thank you! You're right. What we do is liberating -- for everyone involved. It's one of the perks of the vocation: to be untruthful and irresponsible -- to put it bluntly. And this is ironically what the reader/viewer expects of us. There have always been two essential mysteries to the textual and visual creation: the writer and the writing, the creator and the object created. The virtual reality of the Internet invites the reader to intensify this relationship. The reader wants instant revelation with no responsibility. The writer sees an irreconcilable distance. We feel it. Our desire to connect with the reader is immediately satisfied, yet we've never been further away. This futility leads us to act crazy, much like, relatively speaking, the power of a president to push the button -- the gesture is so small, the target so far away, the explosion so inaudible, yet the results so possibly earth-shattering that you wonder why more people don't do it. Write poetry, that is.

Α.Κ.: In recent years, in addition to your own homepage, in which all of your net works are available, you also exhibit your work in museums, biennials, lectures, as installations with projections or on plasma TVs. Getting out of the internet into actual space certainly brings a web artist out of anonymity and isolation. It moreover entails a different kind of relationship with the reader/spectator, who now has a figure. Is the translation of online works into offline ones and their recontextualization, this in between two conditions or forms, a new creative stimulus for you?

YHCHI: Yes. On the one hand, showing our work offline is a technological regression -- sort of like going from a cell phone to a landline. On the other hand, it accomplishes a major mission of the Internet, which is to bring people together. So although we may be betraying innovation, we're pleased to shut down the computer every now and then and honored to travel to places like Athens to meet people like you.
As for the differences or similarities between our work online and offline, we rarely stop to consider them. We feel it's O.K., even necessary, to try new approaches, especially given the apparent simplicity of our style. In art, size has always mattered. Our online work has always been noteworthy for how it fills up the browser. It's big for the Internet. It's also resizable. So, we tell ourselves, when given the occasion, why not make it really big? Now we have the best of both worlds.
Oh, one other little thing. It's hard to earn a living as an Internet artist. It's all virtual money.

Α.Κ.: Translation, in both its literal and metaphorical sense, is a prevalent element in your digital poetics. A translation not only from one language into another, but also from older art forms, genres, media, practices and semiotics into totally new ones, and vice versa. A fluid sense of the familiar and the unfamiliar at the same time is created in the spectator, which first attracts his attention and then lures him, transfixes him in the world of reading. Would you like to comment on this aesthetic strategy?

YHCHI: Actually, if we have an aesthetic strategy, it's one we tripped over (but don't tell anyone, please). Young-hae's background is artistic, Marc's is literary. At the outset we wanted to reconcile our two vocations on the Internet. Our feeling, er, strategy, was that we would combine two mediocre talents into a synergetic superior talent. We came up with text set to music because before broadband it was hard to download images quickly if at all. By using Flash text and mp3 files we were able to present several-minute-long pieces that downloaded in less than 20 seconds and played full screen on your computer.
Although for most writers one language is enough, since the ethos of the Internet is its world-wide availability, from the very beginning of our collaboration we felt the need to write in several different languages, if only to keep up with other Net artists, whose image-heavy work, if and when it downloaded to your browser, had no problem communicating with the farthest corners of the Web. And to be honest, writers are proud of the number of languages into which their writing has been translated. At last count we've done work in 14 different languages, a tidy sum that only the most successful conventional writers can boast about.
As you so correctly remark, a piece of writing translated into another language carries with it a new culture. That is exciting for us, especially because it's a culture we have no hand in. We get it for nothing, and it's something that turns us into strangers to ourselves. Translation renews us. It's funny, too, like when, in Seoul, we watch a foreign movie dubbed in Korean. We imagine Greeks reading a sequence in our piece The Movies where our two heroes are confronted with an Armenian-Russian taxi driver in Los Angeles -- everyone is speaking Greek. Strange and marvellous.

Α.Κ.: Another equally prevalent element is the speed of reading. You address a reader/spectator who is already accustomed, from the wealth of moving information in his daily reality, to quick, rapid reading, from advertising in the city to online news headers. Faced with your works and trying to follow the story that you narrate at such a fast pace, he lets himself surrender, one might say, to a total contemplation that any narrator would envy. Is that your “trap,” or a “play” in this in a way love relationship, between author and reader? How do you imagine the reader of your stories?

YHCHI: We're learning that not everyone appreciates the speed with which some of our texts move. And we hear them. We've been slowing down our texts considerably. We've also been eliminating a lot of the flashing, which can be annoying, it seems. When we started out, it just seemed natural to speed the text along. Speed in life is intoxicating. Slowness is boring. It seemed like speed was the whole point of streaming media and of a certain philosophy of modernity. But now we see, more and more, it's not. Or rather, it's aesthetically pleasing to alternate fast with slow. During a workshop we were giving this fall at Brown University, a student told us that our work was extremely frustrating for her dyslexic boyfriend. Touched by her comment, we told her we would do something that her boyfriend could enjoy, something slow. We intend to do it.
That said, we think that the ideal reader is someone who is so into the text, into a zone, so to speak, that he or she forgets themselves and are carried by the images and the story, much like when you're transfixed by a good movie. This is not so much "playing" with the reader, we feel, as presenting compelling literature in exactly the same way that more conventional writers do it.
Α.Κ.: It is at precisely this point, I think, that the difference, often noted by commentators of your work, between the hypertextual interactivity of most net art works, which requires the reader to click, and the open character of your fragmentary and, in that sense, non-linear narrative, which mobilizes the reader’s cognitive, perceptual and aesthetic experiences, is annulled. Interactivity takes on many forms. The rich intertextuality due to numerous texts and references crossing in your works is one of them, the most profound one. Serious scholars, such as Jessica Pressman, whose essay is featured in this catalogue, have highlighted such relationships in your works. I would like to ask for your point of view on this.

YHCHI: We think it's fair to ask, even at this early stage in the development of the Internet, what the future of the hypertext is in literature. At the advent of the online hypertext, say around the mid-'90s, some in the literary world supposed that it would quickly become an important way of writing fiction and poetry. Instead, most hypertext fiction and poetry seem like novelty acts. On the other hand, the Internet itself has become an overwhelming success. We read somewhere that in the early '90s the World Wide Web had around 500 users. Less than 15 years later it has become a way of life for countless millions. What stands out then is not the failure of the literary hypertext to catch on, but the desire among all writers to exploit somehow the many other possibilities of transforming their writing on the Internet. This includes us. We initially approached the Web not with the intention of writing hypertext but with a vague idea of creating an audiovisual artwork -- of exploiting the Internet's sound and image ambitions -- that reached a virtually limitless public all the time.

Α.Κ.: Let us remain with the text a little more. As a prose narrative in the form of poetry verse, or vice versa, it uses the traditional semiotics of typography, such as smaller/larger letter size, bold/light, regular/italics, punctuation, and always the same Monaco font using capitals, which is the trademark of your works. The image is the written text, with its specific typographical arrangement on the white computer screen, or in horizontal bands, often in two languages. The playful return to forms of printed language, yet in a way that reverses their original use, is your critical stance vis-à-vis information aesthetics and content on the Internet. Do you agree?

YHCHI: Yes, but by default. Your succinct summary of our aesthetic and poetic style validates a literary precept, that the writer have a voice -- a trademark, as you say. You've mentioned the few basic elements of our voice, which we've found is rich enough to express so much of what we'd like to say. We believe in what we do, but obviously also believe that there is room for every other aesthetic voice and content on the Internet. So in that sense we're not taking a critical stand. What we have noticed, though, is that our "playful" way of writing prose poetry on the Internet is in stark contrast to hypertext fiction. So by default we are challenging hypertext fiction writers to write compelling works.

Α.Κ.: In your works, writing moves in an undefined territory between visual and written. Interrelations with older art forms lead us, besides the more recent visual and concrete poetry, to futurism and the Russian avant-garde, and in this sense to a kind of continuity in the history of art, as established through ruptures, appropriations, crossings and subversions. An effort to redefine poetry and writing in general or to transcend the mere fascination exerted by the new media? Or both?

YHCHI: Both, possibly. Every creative writer tries to redefine writing through his or her work. It's the name of the game. What's interesting about Internet writing is that it's the bastard child of technology. The creators of the Internet probably didn't give much thought to how it would influence literature. But by creating such a rich and ubiquitous medium, it has become irresistible to many creators, including writers. So whereas it's the Machine Age that may have inspired futurism and the Russian avant-garde, say, it's the machines themselves that have inspired new media writers. It's technology itself that is redefining poetry and writing. It's hard to escape that realization, especially when the Internet reader needs a little more know-how than the conventional reader. Our work, both on and off the Internet, minimizes the extra know-how, perhaps because we began writing on the Internet with very little of it ourselves.

Α.Κ.: Various media, new and old, mingle, merge, interpenetrate in order to create the verbal/visual/acoustic entity that is each of your stories. A term widely used today is intermedia. I would like to ask you to comment specifically on the role of music and sound in your works. Also, how the shift from a jazz soundtrack to your electronic music came to be, and what media you use in order to create it?

YHCHI: We think music makes everything better -- or worse. It imbues every experience with an atmosphere, and in its most magical manifestations makes certain experiences memorable. Poetry is often discussed for its musical qualities. Somewhere along the line poetry was accompanied by a lyre -- that may have been in Greece. But how do you maintain the musicality of a translated poem? It's hard. Since we were writing from the beginning in three languages -- English, Korean, French -- we made the simple decision not to worry so much about the musicality of the phrase, all the more so since no one would be reading aloud our writing. Instead, we would add a musical soundtrack -- get back to the beginnings of poetry and exploit the audio component of the Internet.
At first we used other musicians' music -- jazz, just our taste -- but after a while realized that any music, not just famous jazz, even any sound, added an element of complexity and pleasure to a text.
We started to make our own music because the digital age encourages everyone to use technology. So we gave it try. We'd love to make jazz, but we're poor musicians, and jazz is a great art. So we make music on the computer with some loops and some midi, add some acoustic drums (drums are the easiest instrument for untalented musicians), and slap it on to a text. In art, what often counts is not so much virtuosity but difference -- that's originality. If you stick with it, that difference becomes a style, a voice.

Α.Κ.: Your profound relationship with language is demonstrated not only by the multiple appropriations, references and tropisms, especially the metaphor, but, much more, by the subtle irony as a principal stylistic choice, the diverse simulations of style, from which I would not exempt the style of your interviews. The spoken English and slang, which you often employ in your works, give me an impression of assumed lightness, as if trying to conceal a theoretical background and eruditeness. In other words, the opposite of a parody. Am I mistaken?

YHCHI: Uh, no. You're not mistaken, you're right. You're right, because the reader and the viewer are always right. And because -- and this is what's beautiful about our profession -- there is no right or wrong. Everyone is right! All the time! So even if you're wrong, you're right, because no one can prove you wrong. There's no math in art, thank God, just taste -- O.K., so there is some math here and there, and classical Greek architecture demonstrates it. But that's another story. You need no special training to be right about our work.
Are we hiding anything? Oh yeah. Aren't we all? The beauty of the Internet is, to get back to your second question, that you can pretend to be someone you're not. It may seem immature and irresponsible, but then, that's what poetry and art are all about. Society is fascinated by arrogant, egocentric, reckless poets and artists. Under this crust of disagreeableness hides an insecure poet and artist. O.K., so not every poet and artist fits this classic stereotype. It takes a lot of blind energy to go on and on about oneself. There's a reason why these brilliant guys die young. It's an exhausting shtick. Now irony, as you mention, is one way of economizing energy, of giving yourself better odds to make it into old age and avoiding what is obviously that great slayer of contemporary poetry and art -- sincerity. It's hard to be a sincere poet and artist these days. It's hard to attack the things that are important in life today with a straight face.
Does this irony end up as parody? And if yes, of what? Yes it does. It's tough being yourself when you don't like yourself. Look at James Joyce and Ulysses. He turned Dublin into a Greek odyssey. Most of us are glad he did.

Α.Κ.: The three-part work Close Your Eyes, 2008 was a commission by EMST for your first personal exhibition in Greece and is intended to become part of the museum’s collection afterwards. Would you like to talk to us about the work, its stories, the tripartite structure that you favoured, your music, and above all the experience of translation into another language, Greek, which is jointly present in the three-part narrative, along with the English original, the language in which you mainly write?

YHCHI: It's been a pleasure, a unique experience, and an honor to make this work for EMST.

Close Your Eyes is about . . . we're not sure what. As with all our works, we're never sure what we're doing. (That's an easy enough artistic strategy.) We know we're dealing with three experiences that occur in a few days time, in three different, dark corners of the world. We're dealing with darkness -- fear, even terror: you're being held in a small, windowless room -- ever been in one? -- or you're in a taxi that breaks down on a barren stretch of midnight highway, in a strange city -- Los Angeles, or an old Chinese guy is peddling you around in a rickshaw through the dark alleys of a Beijing hutong -- Why, you ask yourself, is this city so dark at night? And it's a certain kind of darkness. It's got the whiff of nothingness. Then it dawns on you: this is the way most people live and have lived forever -- in darkness. We noticed that in all three panels of this triptych you're in transit. We noticed that these days people, ourselves included, perhaps you, too, are going places. We live in privileged times. Places that took adventurers weeks if not months to sail or ride to you're landing at in half a day -- that is, if you get there. Hence, in particular, Close Your Eyes, where some poor guy gets pulled out of line and ends up in a gulag.
We like the triptych structure: one projection on each of the three walls that the visitor sees when entering a space, creating what we hope is an immersive audiovisual environment.
We've synchronized the three pieces to one almost 18-minute-long original music soundtrack, and we hope the music brings as much pleasure to the visitor as do the stories.
We're thrilled to be presenting our first work ever in Greek. We want to extend a special thanks to Christina Rizopoulou, our translator, for digging into our writing. We are sure it wasn't easy and feel she did a great job. As for the Greek version of the Monaco font, it echoes the English version nicely, and we think that's beautiful. For this particular work we made the English subtitles very small, because we like the graphic qualities of Greek capital letters and don't want the Greek viewer to be distracted by the English. We noticed in our first day on the streets of Athens that Greek is systematically translated or phoneticized into a less prominent English. That was our goal, too.
Thank you for giving us this unique opportunity.

Friday, October 31, 2008

A conversation between David Claerbout and Daphne Vitali. September 30th, 2008

Most of your works stand between the still and the moving image. You use digital technology to animate photographic imagery in order to renew the perception of time and space. When and how did your interest in the photographic stillness arise?

That would be around 1994-1995 after I had finished my Academy and I did postgraduates studies. I had a very academic training. In Belgium all trainings are essentially academic unless you choose for something that is new media, but if you would choose for sculpture or painting or graphics then it would be all very old fashioned. So, I had never worked with photography or film and essentially I had enough of wanting to be an artist. My whole academy period was a struggle to find an identity as an artist and I went through many different periods of different work. I was in fact a very good drawer; I was always the best in class so to speak. Then, when I was confronted with looking for an own kind of language, I had to abandon, because I found I had none. I felt very much lost. So, what I did is I searched for a number of years and then at the last year of my postgraduate -it must have been in 1995 or 1994- I decided I am going to stop producing objects of art altogether. The day I did that, I felt liberated. I started to put together on my studio walls all the pictures that I had used as a source material that gave me ideas. That was the first time that I worked with found photography.
My very first series was a series based on fitness books. I got fascinated with propaganda about health culture and the body and I was collecting exactly those pictures where the patients profoundly relax, coming to such a state of relaxation that they look depressed and I had singled out all those pictures of those depressed very healthy people. That was my first series somehow and it was titled “fitness, light exercises” or something like that. And from there on, I never actually took up a paintbrush anymore. I thought painting for me was false altogether, was not direct enough and I wanted to do something with existing photography.
So, today, after more than 15 years, I have an enormous digital collection and I have just lost it, last week, by accident, by stupid mistake. I erased the wrong hard discs and then I erased the back ups of those discs! But instead of feeling bad about this, I felt rather good. Actually it was time. I thought ok it had to happen one day, cause it’s always risky and I was always a freak with digitizing. I have been digitizing a lot of imagery as an archive since a very long time. So, all I have left now is my archive as very small thumbnails as small as you little recorder- so I said it’s enough, I will do it with that. So, essentially, I think that answers the question “how did your interest in the photographic stillness arise?” That was, in fact, out of the impossibility, technologically, I had no possibility to do something with photography because I didn’t know how to handle a camera. So I started working with whatever was available to me. Then, later on, you can imagine out of that, started to develop some sort of auto-animation, As if I saw a picture and I… I think I was always very sensitive to the hidden layers in the photograph. I kind of detested film and video because, anyway, they were too expensive, so it was a little bit pragmatic and I didn’t like them. Later on I started to like them because I could handle them, but in the beginning, it was too much for me so I stuck to photography. And I mentally started animating parts of the photograph and that’s how I discovered the in-between fields, in-between different media. And what interested me from the beginning was to be able to unite two media on one surface, which would be the projection. And what interested me more specifically about that, was to unite them in a way, which is without conflict. So this idea of non-war, or non-conflictive situations was always there from the beginning. Sort of not wanting to be involved with an accusing gaze, which looks for the weak point in the picture. I was looking for the point in the picture, which opens up for new interpretations and new stories. I actually always considered the photograph to be an orphan of a reality that is located in the past.

In your early works, narrative derives from silence, duration, contemplation and reflection. Tell us about this kind of narrative in your work.

I think it’s an appearance that in my early works -in the earlier silent works- the narrative is exclusively drawn from duration and contemplation or even reflection. In the later works –actually we could also refer to the third question, to the Bordeaux Piece as well- the narrative in fact also goes back to one of silence, duration and contemplation but is being eclipsed by storytelling, by film narrative. But in fact the film narrative never really takes over from the contemplating structure of the work. Dialogues are some kind of foregrounding, three actors play a game, they talk to each other, there is a story going on, and that becomes the foreground, but in fact, the background is still one of contemplation and one of long duration as the piece lasts for about 14 hours. So, it might appear that structurally that element in my work has evolved over the last 10 years but in fact it hasn’t. I am always looking for certain panoramic feeling attached to time. And in the Bordeaux Piece that would more notably be the length of duration of a day, making physical how filmic time is compressed and nervous. In other works, that would be played out in a different way, like in one of the pieces that is in the exhibition, in The Stack for example, which is from 2002. That would be 5 years into my career so to speak, the homeless person narrative is of course very literal, because the piece looks photographic, and as being photographic it presents itself with the silence that is in fact part of the nature of photography. So, this is of course an opportunity that I’ve had and that I’ve taken with both hands, to discover this rather accidental relation between photography and storytelling. If film were encapsulated in a photographic appearance, it would be able to play out different qualities. They are able to play out their qualities of the tableau because nobody expects the photograph to evolve in time. They maintain the potential of evolution in a story or in movement that film has, and they also provide the certitude of stillness that photography has. In that sense I used of course, consciously, older photographs as the starting point, because they were immediately recognizable as located in the past. So, these are pictures that had no future, they only have a future in the duration that we spend looking at them.

Bordeaux Piece is your first work that has the features of a conventional feature film. However, as you mention, the plot itself as well at the acting is not your central concern. Why did you introduce cinematographic characteristics in you work? What were you aiming at?

I have already more or less answered that…
I must say that today I’m still working on some narrative works which have in common with one another, that their interest lies far outside from the realm of film narrative. Their real goals -of works from Bordeaux Piece on- lie radically far away from storytelling. And in fact are almost ironic -or perhaps even cynical- comments on filmmaking, on sequential montage and storytelling. So, Bordeaux Piece is a work that ridicules the work of actors through the 75 repeated films per day… very exhausting job having to repeat the same lines, and the quality of the film becomes less and less until in fact, is almost completely disintegrate in the early afternoon when actors become to be very tired. So that was all part of the idea. The idea was that the fresher moment, which is the early morning we started filming, from 5 o’clock onwards when it was still dark. Actually we started filming right before the sun would appear and then the acting is still relatively fresh, the light is amazingly beautiful in the morning, because you can see the evolution –you can almost physically feel it- and in the evening as well the light becomes very spectacular. All of a sudden it’s straight into the lens and you don’t see the film anymore but you just see the sun and there she really takes over. But the most boring parts are the parts that are shown during exhibitions of course; because institutions are open from let’s say 11 a.m. until 5 o’clock in the evening or 6 p.m. So, a real purpose of the piece was to show the most exciting parts that would never be part of the museum shows. In such a way, it is not only critique on film but also on exhibition making, in a sense. So, it’s best shown privately if you want… It’s best shown to the people who own the pieces.

In 2000 you realized your first Internet based work. You offered the viewer a choice of three flowers -a pink amaryllis, a yellow gerbera or a red rose- to download and install on a computer. The flower begins in a full bloom and progresses to full decay. In this work you put real time temporality into a digital environment. You used the internet as a means to explore the real and the virtual. Did the internet offer you new ways of experimentation with time? Do you intend to investigate further the opportunities that the internet offers?

That internet piece is called Present and it in fact emphasizes on the internet as a gift-based economy. It’s a free economy in which you can download most of the items for free: knowledge, images, music, etc etc. So, I thought the piece should have something to do with the idea of giving. And as viruses are the most poluted gifts in the internet, I thought I wanted to make a friendly virus. A virus that would be implanted on your computer, would live it’s life, and then would just leave a little seed which then would in fact be a link to the internet. But that friendly virus never actually came into existance because when I talked to the technician –and therefore I think the internet piece is a failure- we were not allowd to make a virus. Because a virus it would mean that as the owner of the computer you wouldn’t be able to find back the seed. I did not want the person who downloaded to be able to see what’s going on or to be able to find where it has hidden itself. I really wanted to think to work as a virus without the intention to destroy something but only with the intention to live on your desktop and you could not erase it before it has lived it’s life. So there were certain things that instead of doing an official project for Dia Center I should have done a real virus .. who knows how to make viruses! But anyway the intention was there.
So, “Do you intend to investigate further the opportunities that the internet offers?”
I have lost interest in the internet somehow. I don’t know why… Maybe I became much more occupied with my own complicated installations...

You are among contemporary video artists who play with the concept of time, exploring its dimensions. Do you find yourself in close artistic dialogue with any of your colleagues? Where does your artistic interest in time lie?

Every artist would tell the same story, but I find that my work on time has become very fashionable with others, who refer to time for no reason… : ‘take your time’, ‘time after time’ and so on….
What I mean is that it seems there is something in the air about time, about slowing down, about speed, about capitalist production and the machinery which has no purpose except to eccelerate all the time. And I remember that yesterday I spoke several times with some of the people that interviewed me and I don’t know why I repeated that and I will repeat it again, because I think it belongs to the same occupation of modern human being, to consider the benefits of a far and better future not as a goal but as a way of working or living. In this line of thinking time becomes an arrow that unavoidably moves forward and at the end of the horizon is the future and today we work for the future but in fact the promise lies in the future and not in today. And I think in my work I have always tried to unify a presence in the past, a presence in the now and a presence in the future. And I have tried to unify them in one surface, which is the video screen, if you want, or anything that I am busy with. Indeed, it is probably in the air that time is of importance to contemporary artists and to many of my contemporaries, except that I would be very unhappy if my work would appear moralizing. I dislike the discourse on slowing down and deceleration, because what those discourses do, is they still take ‘speedyness’ as their reference and then they slow down from there on. So it becomes therapeutic or it becomes a way of making the whole system crashing down, falling apart and disintegrating, refering Arnout Mik’s work for example. It is very much a discourse that is in the air except that in my work, I think, you will never find trace of the desastrous –the tragic. So if I work with decelaration is probably more deceleration of the perception itself, of how you observe. So I still think that you do not perceive the same work when you spend 15 seconds or when you spend 5 minutes. I literally try to include a changing factor even in the photograph that is not moving, that is not evolving. So that it becomes your own perception that is starting to do the work. And you may call that a certain kind of deceleration, but is certainly in opposition to the zapping culture. And it’s certainly an opposition temporal montage, which is always a step ahead of you. It’s always a step ahead in time and space. Therefore, I understand that my work sometimes is associated with melancholy or with slowing down because is the spectator that is being thrown back into her own perception.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Νέα αρχή
A new beginning

Εγκαινιάζουμε απόψε στις 20:00 το νέο μας χώρο στο Ωδείο Αθηνών και σας περιμένουμε.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Κλεισμένο στον εαυτό του

...και αντιμέτωπο με τα παλίμψηστά του

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ελένης Εγκώμιον

«…θέλησα να γράψω τον λόγο ως εγκώμιο της Ελένης και δικό μου παιχνίδι».

Έτσι τελειώνει ένα από τα απολαυστικότερα αναγνώσματα, το Ἑλένης Ἐγκώμιον του Γοργία. Προηγουμένως, ο γόης του λόγου έχει προσπαθήσει, εν είδει ρητορικής άσκησης και χαρίζοντας τους μεγαλύτερους επαίνους στην «πρώτη των πρώτων», να ανασκευάσει τα όσα πιστεύονταν για την ωραία Ελένη, κι έτσι να την αποκαταστήσει ηθικά.

Ο αναγνώστης σίγουρα ξαφνιάζεται, δυσπιστεί, το σκέφτεται αλλά και συνεπαρμένος από τη γοητευτική αφήγηση των διαφορετικών εκδοχών της αλήθειας, αφήνεται στην επαναληπτική φούγκα της μεταμοντέρνας αυτής νουβέλας. Κι εκεί στην τελευταία γραμμή, τον περιμένει μια άλλη αποκάλυψη. Το «παίγνιον» του Γοργία.

Ο συγγραφέας παίζει και το ομολογεί. Εξαπατά τον αναγνώστη; Του υποδεικνύει να μην τον παίρνει στα σοβαρά; Παίρνει πίσω τις πολλές αλήθειες; Ή το παιχνίδι παίρνει τη θέση της μιας και μοναδικής αλήθειας, εναντίον της οποίας είχε εξαντλήσει όλα του τα επιχειρήματα και τις λέξεις; Κι αν η ιστορία του παιχνιδιού είναι κι αυτή ένα κάμωμα;

Ο αναγνώστης, είτε πάει γυρεύοντας είτε όχι, κάνει υποθέσεις, δοκιμάζεται. Ποιος όμως μπορεί να αποκλείσει ότι, και από τη δική του μεριά, κλείνει το μάτι στον αμοραλισμό του δεινού σοφιστή; Άλλωστε, αυτό που πραγματικά παίζεται στην ανάγνωση, δεν είναι μόνο η επίδραση της γραφής σ’ αυτόν που διατρέχει το κείμενο. Είναι η επαναφορά στο προσκήνιο της σχέσης συγγραφέα και αναγνώστη. Η απόλαυση του κειμένου, χρειάζεται και τους δύο, για να θυμηθούμε Le Plaisir du texte και έναν άλλο διαχρονικό γόητα, τον Roland Barthes.

Όσο για την ηθική, αυτή έχει το δικό της πεδίο, τις πράξεις μας.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Four minutes thirty-three seconds of silence

Cage wrote in "A Composer's Confessions" (1948) that he had the desire to "compose a piece of uninterrupted silence and sell it to the Muzak Co. It will be 4 [and a half] minutes long — these being the standard lengths of 'canned' music, and its title will be 'Silent Prayer'. It will open with a single idea which I will attempt to make as seductive as the color and shape or fragrance of a flower. The ending will approach imperceptibly."

4'33" by John Cage, Histories and Theories of Intermedia blog

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


“…He told me his book was called the Book of Sand
because neither sand nor this book has a beginning or an end”

He suggested I try to find the first page.
I took the cover in my left hand and opened the book,
my thumb and forefinger almost touching.
It was impossible:
several pages always lay between the cover and my hand.
It was as though they grew from the very book.

“Now try to find the end.”

Jorge Luis Borges, The Book of Sand, 1975
(translated by Andrew Hurley)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


It’s My own private Alexandria

Audio essays by Paul Chan through multiple translations from silent words to audible voice.

Readings and listenings: Adorno, Sontag, Beckett, Heidegger, Anna Freud, Lynne Tillman, C.L.R. James among others.

And a brilliant text by Voltaire, the philosopher and writer of the Enlightenment: Kissing (Baiser, 1764).

Monday, August 4, 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008

... a stone


I long for nothing
for neither yesterday passes, nor tomorrow comes
and my present doesn't advance or retreat
nothing happens to me!
I wish I were a stone, I said, I wish
I were some kind of stone for the water to burnish me,
turn me yellow, or green . . . and I could be placed
in a room as a sculpture, or as an exercise in sculpture,
or as matter for the bursting of the necessary
out of the frivolity of the needless . . .
I wish I were a stone
so I can long for anything!

Mahmoud Darwish,
(translated by Fady Joudah)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ήχοι και στίχοι

Και η ιστορία του Γεωργίου Βιζυηνού με την Μπετίνα Φραβασίλη;

Μια εκδοχή της ιστορίας εντοπίσαμε στις σελίδες του ίδιου Ημερολογίου, ψευδωνύμως ξανά («Ο έρως του ποιητού», 1897)
Την αλήθεια όμως των μύθων, που φτάνουν σε μας από τους “
bloggers” της εποχής, δεν την γνωρίζουμε.
Αλλά μπορούμε να την ερμηνεύσουμε. Με άπειρους τρόπους.
Ακούγοντας την άγνωστη μουσική της Μπετίνας, τους στίχους του ποιητή πεζογράφου.

μετεβλήθη εντός μου
και ο ρυθμός του κόσμου

Monday, July 14, 2008

Η Μπετίνα στο πιάνο

Ο/Η Α.-Ω. έγραψεν:

…Δεν την είχ’ ακούση ποτέ παίζουσα μέχρι τότε. Και ήκουα, ότι έπαιζε τόσο μαγικά, όσον δύναται να παίζη μαγικά μία αληθής καλλιτεχνική φύσις. Την έβλεπα εις τον δρόμον και η παρθενική και αιθέρια καλλονή της, το λεπτόν της βάδισμα, η αβρότης του σώματος, η χάρις της κόμης, η λεπτότης των κινήσεων, τα μουσικά τετράδια που εκράτει, η έκφρασις της μορφής της ιδίως, η έκφρασις των καστανών, ζωηρών, των αναπεπταμένων, μεγάλων οφθαλμών της, η γλυκύτης η λεπτοτάτη του ωοειδούς προσώπου, του προσλαμβάνοντος ανταύγειαν αγνού ονείρου, ρέμβης αρμονικής, μου καθίστων την Μπεττίναν Φραβασίλη, ως ον τι υπεροχής, ως μίαν γυναικείαν ύπαρξιν, την οποίαν μόνην εις το είδος της είχον αι Αθήναι, ως μίαν κόρην, την οποίαν δεν ευρίσκει τις ευκόλως, ούτε μέσα στα σαλόνια, ούτε μέσα στους περιπάτους μας, ούτε εις τας εξοχάς μας, εις τον κόσμον μας καθόλου. Μου ετύχαινε δε πάντοτε, οπόταν διήρχετο εις τον δρόμον ν’ακούω τους διαβάτας ψιθυρίζοντας γύρω της, κατά την διάβασίν της:

- Να! Η Μπεττίνα Φραβασίλη!…

Δια τούτο μ’εξαιρετικήν ευχαρίστησιν είδα επάνω εις το δημοσιογραφικόν γραφείον μου μίαν ημέρα ένα μπιλλιέτο προσκλήσεως εις τινα συναυλίαν του Αθηναϊκού Ωδείου, καθ’ ην θα ελάμβανε μέρος και η λατρευτή κόρη των Αθηνών, η λεπτή καλλιτέχνις Μπεττίνα…

Όταν εισήλθα την εσπέραν εκείνην εις το Ωδείον, η μικρά, η στενόμακρη, παλαιά αίθουσά του ήτο γεμάτη μέχρι ασφυξίας. Όλος ο καλός κόσμος, όπως γράφωμεν τυπικώς ημείς οι δημοσιογράφοι, ενώ διαφοροτρόπως αισθανόμεθα , ήτο εκεί μέσα. Η εσπέρα ήτο χειμερινή και όμως εις την αίθουσαν εκείνην ίδρωνε τις μετά διαμονήν εν αυτή πέντε λεπτών. Τουαλέτες πλούσιες, λέγουσαι πολλά, τα οποία δεν λέγονται, κομμώσεις προδίδουσαι μακρόν αγώνα προ του καθρέπτου, σοβαρότης και εμβρίθεια μορφών, που κάτι άλλο παρά δια σοβαρότητα και εμβρίθειαν ήσαν κατάλληλοι· μία υποκρισία τελεία ζωής και αισθημάτων, η γνωστή αθηναϊκή κοσμική υποκρισία ήτο διακεχυμένη εντός της αιθούσης. Εν τω μεταξύ λάγνα μάτια αρσενικών και θηλυκών διεσταυρούντο δεξιά και αριστερά, και αι μεν εψιθύριζον διά τας δε, και οι μεν και δια τους δε, ότι δεν είχαν λείψη…από τα ραντεβού των!

Επί της μικροσκοπικής σκηνής ανεφάνη τότε, μία αβρά κόρη, μία χαριτωμένη νεάνις, μ’ εξαισίαν λευκήν εσθήτα, η ιδία, όπως την παριστά εδώ η εικών της, άνθος εύκαμπτον, καλλονή όντως εμψυχωμένη, ψυχή όντως συμμετρικώς ενσαρκωμένη. Τα λορνιόν διηυθύνθησαν προς την σκηνίτσαν, ψιθυρισμοί ηκούσησαν:

- Η Μπεττίνα!

- Η Φραβασίλη!…

Και η κόρη εκάθησε με κίνησιν Σάρας Βερνάρ, - ας μη θυμώση η υπέροχος καλλιτέχνις μας κ. Ευαγγελινή Πα-ρα-σκευ-ο-πού-λου, - προ του κλειδοκυμβάλου. Ήτο η προδιάθεσις, ην είχον, ήτο η περιέργεια, ήτις μ’εφλόγιζεν, ήτο η αναμονή, ήτις μ’ώθει, ήτο η επιβολή, ήτις με προδιέθετεν, ώστε από την πρώτην της εκείνην λεπτήν κίνησιν, από την πρώτη καταφανή ευκαμψίαν των δακτύλων, συνηρπάσθη η ψυχή και η σκέψις εις την δύναμιν της τέχνης της, εις την φοράν της αρμονίας της, εις την καλλονήν της μουσικής της, - επιτρέψατέ με να εκφρασθώ ούτω.

Δεν εξεύρω, ούτε ενθυμούμαι τόρα καλώς – η συναυλία εκείνη χρονολογείται προ δύο ετών και πλέον. Ακριβώς τι έπαιζε τότε η μουσουργός κόρη τόρα δεν ενθυμούμαι.

Ευτυχώς δε διά την μουσικήν δεν υπάρχει ανάγκη ονομάτων, δεν υπάρχει η ανάγκη χαρακτηρισμών. Η τέχνη είνε μία, όπως μία είνε και η αρμονία, οπόταν την διέπη η τελειότης του καλού, οπόταν εκπορεύεται αύτη εκ του απροσδιορίστου και απεριορίστου νόμου του ωραίου.

Και καθισμένος εκεί επί της καθέκλας μου έβλεπα την κόρην θίγουσαν, ψαύουσαν, θωπεύουσαν, γαργαλίζουσαν, τύπτουσαν μανιωδώς, πιέζουσαν μεγαλοφυώς, λεπτεπιλέπτως, τα χονδρά εκείνα πλήκτρα του κλειδοκυμβάλου δι’ όλους σχεδόν τους λεπτοφυείς δακτύλους των ατθίδων μας.

Και ήκουα της μουσικής της το εναρμόνιον βαυκάλισμα, της τέχνης της το μέθυ έξοχον, της αρμονίας της την γλυκάν την ουρανίαν.

Και διά μίαν σπάνιαν φοράν εις την ζωήν μου η καλή κόρη, η χρυσή καλλιτέχνις, χωρίς να το ειξεύρη αυτή, χωρίς να το θέλη, χωρίς να το προμελετήση, προσέφερεν εις έναν άγνωστόν της, όπως παρέχουν οι απόκρυφα ελεούντες ελεημοσύνην ψυχικάς ανακουφίσεως, ελεημοσύνην καταπραϋνσεως νεύρων, αλγηδόνων της ψυχής, πόνων της καρδιάς, βασάνων του σώματος…

Και εφαντάσθην τότε, τι ευτυχία θα ήτον εις τον κόσμον, αν υπήρχον πολλαί τοιούτου είδους καλλιτεχνικαί φύσεις, αι οποίαι άπαξ του έτους καν ν’απαλύνουν την ανθρωπίνην ζωήν επί εν τέταρον της ώρας. Ω! βεβαίως, τότε αυτή η επί πικριών καθ’εκάστην προσκόπτουσα ζωή, θα ήξιζε κάποτε κάτι.


Ποικίλη Στοά, Εθνικόν Εικονογραφημένον Ημερολόγιον, Οκτώβριος 1897

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ποια ήταν η Μπετίνα Φραβασίλη;

Αντιγράφω από την Ποικίλη Στοά, Εθνικόν Εικονογραφημένον Ημερολόγιον του Ιωάννη Αρσένη, Νοέμβριος 1897.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Δια χειρός Γεωργίου Βιζυηνού

Ρωτούσα για το Ωδείο Αθηνών , την ιστορία του, τους μαθητές του. Μητρόπουλος, Μαρία Κάλας, Σκαλκώτας, Χατζηδάκης και τόσοι άλλοι. Αρχεία που φτάνουν βαθειά στο 19ο αιώνα, στο νεοσύστατο κράτος και τους πρώτους καλλιτεχνικούς θεσμούς.

Έκπληκτη μάθαινα ότι το καταστατικό της δραματικής σχολής είναι γραμμένο με το χέρι του μεγαλύτερου, για πολλούς, έλληνα πεζογράφου.
Φέρνω στο νου μου «Το μόνον της ζωής του ταξίδιον», τον συγγραφέα του «Ποιός ήτον ο φονεύς του αδελφού μου». Την ιστορία της Μπετίνας Φραβασίλη.

Η άγραφη ιστορία και το χειρόγραφο, ένα σημερινό έργο τέχνης. Θα μπορούσε…
Θα ’θελα να ανατρέξω και πάλι στις σελίδες του Μοσκώβ Σελήμ…

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Νίνα Παπακωνσταντίνου
Nina Papaconstantinou

Προφορική Ιστορία μέσω e-mail της Νίνας Παπακωνσταντίνου στην Τίνα Πανδή.

Πραγματοποίησες σπουδές ελληνικής φιλολογίας στο Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών και στη συνέχεια σχεδίου στην Αγγλία. Θα μπορούσαμε να υποστηρίξουμε ότι στην καλλιτεχνική σου έρευνα συγκλίνουν και οι δυο αυτές κατευθύνσεις ;

Σίγουρα, το ενδιαφέρον μου για τη λογοτεχνία, που με ώθησε στις σπουδές ελληνικής φιλολογίας, έχει επηρεάσει ένα πολύ μεγάλο μέρος της δουλειάς μου. Με απασχολεί η σχέση ανάμεσα στο κείμενο και την εικόνα του, είτε αυτή δημιουργείται από τα ίχνη της γραφής, είτε από συσσωρεύσεις γραφής στην ίδια επιφάνεια. Και στις δύο περιπτώσεις απουσιάζει το κείμενο ως αναγνωρίσιμος κώδικας επικοινωνίας, και ως εκ τούτου υπάρχει πλέον μόνο η εικόνα. Ως προς τη θεματολογία πάλι, δεν είναι τυχαίο ότι αντλώ από -κλασικά ή μη-λογοτεχνικά κείμενα και χρησιμοποιώ τα βιβλία στη δουλειά μου. Ακόμα ίσως και ο τρόπος που βλέπω το κείμενο -γράφοντας, αντιγράφοντας, αποτυπώνοντας-, και το ενδιαφέρον μου για το κενό ανάμεσα στα γράμματα και το λάθος παραπέμπει όχι τόσο στην πρακτική ενός καλλιτέχνη, αλλά περισσότερο σε αυτήν ενός φιλολόγου.

Αναφέρθηκες σε «ίχνη» και σε «συσσωρεύσεις γραφής». Με ποιους διαφορετικούς τρόπους μέσα από την πρακτική του σχεδίου επιτυγχάνεις τα αποτελέσματα αυτά ;

Τα ίχνη της γραφής έχουν κυριολεκτική σχέση με τη διαδικασία του σχεδίου –έχουν σχέση δηλαδή με την ιχνογράφηση. Το κείμενο σε αυτή την περίπτωση μεγεθύνεται τόσο που το γράμμα διαλύεται σε κόκκους, χάνει τη σαφήνειά του, δημιουργείται πάλι μία εικόνα από ό,τι απομένει από το μικρότερο στοιχείο του κειμένου –το γράμμα. Αυτή την εικόνα ιχνογραφώ πάνω σε ριζόχαρτο. Σε άλλα έργα το ίχνος του κειμένου είναι το αποτύπωμα της γραφής στην πίσω σελίδα, το ανάγλυφο που δημιουργείται από την πίεση του χεριού που γράφει. Οι συσσωρεύσεις γραφής δημιουργούνται με την αντιγραφή κειμένων ή ολόκληρων βιβλίων πάνω σε μία επιφάνεια –χαρτί, ριζόχαρτο ή κάποιο άλλο υλικό. Τα επίπεδα της γραφής, το ένα πάνω στο άλλο, δημιουργούν τελικά ένα πυκνό στρώμα, που εξαφανίζει τα γράμματα, τις λέξεις, το νόημα, καταργεί δηλαδή τον κώδικα επικοινωνίας του κειμένου.

Η επιλογή των κειμένων που οικειοποιείσαι αντιγράφοντας τα, κινείται από την αρχαία γραμματεία ως την σύγχρονη λογοτεχνία, από το λόγους του Δημοσθένη και την Αποκάλυψη του Ιωάννη έως τα παραμύθια των αδελφών Γκριμ, τον Αριστοτέλη Βαλαωρίτη, τον Φραντς Κάφκα και τη Σύλβια Πλαθ. Από ποια κριτήρια υπαγορεύεται ;

Η επιλογή των κειμένων και των βιβλίων εξαρτάται από τι θέλω να ερευνήσω κάθε φορά, μπορεί δηλαδή να είναι σε σχέση με το περιεχόμενο, ή με το μέγεθος του βιβλίου, ή με κάποια άλλα στοιχεία που με ενδιαφέρουν. Η σειρά των έργων που έχουν γίνει με καρμπόν σε χαρτί ξεκίνησε από την Αποκάλυψη του Ιωάννη, για παράδειγμα. Ήθελα να δω πώς ένα κείμενο με τόση ένταση εικόνων θα μπορούσε να εικονογραφήσει τον εαυτό του. Από κει κι έπειτα επέλεξα τα βιβλία σε σχέση με την έκτασή τους για να δω τη διαφορετική εικόνα που παρουσιάζουν μεγαλύτερα ή μικρότερα βιβλία, τη διαφορά πυκνότητας τελικά και υφής στο σχέδιο. Το βιβλίο του Φραντς Κάφκα όμως Γράμμα στον πατέρα επέλεξα να το αντιγράψω πάνω σε λευκό καρμπόν, με μια δόση ειρωνείας απέναντι στον μόχθο της αντιγραφής που δεν αναγνωρίζεται (εφόσον είναι λευκό πάνω σε λευκό), αλλά και απέναντι στο συγκεκριμένο κείμενο και την ιστορία του –μια εκ βαθέων εξομολόγηση που τελικά δεν βρήκε ποτέ τον αποδέκτη της. Από την άλλη μεριά, επέλεξα τα παραμύθια των αδερφών Γκριμ για να διερευνήσω τη σχέση των παραμυθιών, της αφήγησης που ξετυλίγεται και πλέκεται, με σχέδια που δημιουργούνται με τη λογική της πλέξης, είτε με γραφή πάνω σε χαρτί είτε με πλεγμένες λωρίδες χαρτιού.

Το σχέδιο ως εικονογράφηση είναι κατεξοχήν συνδεδεμένο με την αφήγηση ιστοριών. Πέρα από την περίπτωση των παραμυθιών των αδελφών Γκριμ για την οποία κάνεις λόγο, πώς τοποθετείς τη δουλειά σου απέναντι στην αφηγηματική λειτουργία του σχεδίου ;

Η αφήγηση στη δουλειά μου, τόσο στα σχέδια που είναι βασισμένα σε κείμενα, όσο και στα άλλα, που αναφέρονται με άλλον τρόπο στην υφή, σχετίζεται περισσότερο με τη διαδικασία: γράφοντας ένα βιβλίο για παράδειγμα σεστρώματα, «καλύπτω» το κείμενο, δημιουργώ μία κρυμμένη εικόνα, μια μη αφήγηση. Η διαδικασία της γραφής σχετίζεται με το χρόνο, και οι διαφορετικές υφές που δημιουργούνται, οι πυκνότητες και οι αραιώσεις, αντανακλούν αυτήν ακριβώς την ποιότητα. Το σχέδιο ως εικόνα, ως τοπίο γραφής πλέον, επιτρέπει στο βλέμμα να ταξιδέψει στις υφές του, και να αναρωτηθεί για την κρυφή του «ιστορία».

Με αυτόν τον τρόπο η «μη αφήγηση» που δημιουργείς από τη μια ακυρώνει τον κύριο στόχο της αντιγραφής, που ιστορικά έχει συσχετιστεί με τη διάσωση και τη διάδοση του κειμένου, από την άλλη έρχεται κοντά στα παλίμψηστα χειρόγραφα.

Ακριβώς. Υπάρχει σαφώς η ειρωνεία απέναντι στην κοπιαστική αντιγραφή, που αντί να διασώζει, να βγάζει κάτι στο φως, το κρύβει μέσα από τα επίπεδα της γραφής, παραδίδοντας τελικά μια «μουτζούρα», μια ακατάληπτη συσσώρευση γραφής. Και υπάρχει και ο υπαινιγμός ότι η εικόνα που προκύπτει προέρχεταιαπό ένα λάθος.

Θα έβρισκες αντιστοιχίες ανάμεσα στην κοπιώδη διαδικασία δημιουργίας των σχεδίων σου με παραδοσιακές χειρωνακτικές γυναικείες εργασίες, όπως λ.χ η κεντητική;

Υπάρχουν σαφώς αντιστοιχίες σε αυτό το επίπεδο, αντιστοιχίες που σχετίζονται με την χειρωναξία και το χρόνο. Με ενδιαφέρει η χειροτεχνία και οι διαδικασίες που τη διατρέχουν, όπως για παράδειγμα η οργάνωση, η επιμέλεια, η αντιγραφή, η επανάληψη αλλά και η ελεύθερη δημιουργία. Το «ξετύλιγμα» της γραφής ή των σημείων σε μία επιφάνεια, και οι νοητικές λειτουργίες που συνοδεύουν μία τέτοια μηχανική εργασία, η αφήγηση, η αναπόληση κλπ. παραπέμπουν σαφώς τόσο στην υφαντική, όσο και στην κεντητική, χωρίς όμως να είναι μέσα στις προθέσεις μου –ενσυνείδητα τουλάχιστον- η αναφορά σε παραδοσιακά γυναικείες εργασίες. Είναι μία συγγένεια πολύ φυσική βέβαια, εφόσον τα χαρακτηριστικά τους είναι παρόμοια, κυρίως ως προς το χρόνο.

Σε ποιο βαθμό σε ενδιαφέρει η χρονική διάσταση που υποδηλώνει η εκτέλεση του σχεδίου;

Με ενδιαφέρει τα έργα μου να υποδηλώνουν το χρόνο που καταναλώθηκε για να γίνουν. Ο χρόνος δεν είναι μόνο θέμα διαδικασίας, είναι ζωτικής σημασίας για τη δουλειά μου, γιατί είναι ακριβώς αυτή η διάσταση που δημιουργεί το ίδιο το έργο. Οι συσσωρεύσεις γραφής ή σημείων, και οι αντίστοιχες αραιώσεις ή πυκνώσεις μαρτυρούν τη διάρκεια και κατά συνέπεια το χρόνο.

Στην έκθεση Σε Ενεστώτα Χρόνο πραγματοποίησες για πρώτη φορά μεγάλης κλίμακας σχέδια. Το έργο που παρουσίασες, είχε άμεση σύνδεση με τα κείμενα τα οποία αντέγραψες, την Κόλαση και το Παράδεισο από τη Θεία Κωμωδία του Δάντη.

Η έκθεση Σε Ενεστώτα Χρόνο πράγματι μου έδωσε την ευκαιρία να προσανατολιστώ σε μεγαλύτερης κλίμακας σχέδια. Επέλεξα τη συγκεκριμένη διάσταση για την Κόλαση, και τον Παράδεισο από τη Θεία Κωμωδία του Δάντη, αφενός για την επιβλητικότητα του μεγέθους σε σχέση με το περιεχόμενο των βιβλίων, και κυρίως γιατί το σχήμα και το μέγεθος αυτό παραπέμπει στη σελίδα-πόρτα-πύλη, προς τον Παράδεισο ή προς την Κόλαση, κοινός τόπος για τη ζωή και το θάνατο, αφού η πύλη έχει να κάνει με το πέρασμα προς ένα νέο στάδιο, προς μία άλλη διάσταση, που όμως είναι σκοτεινή και ανεξιχνίαστη από τη γραφή. Επίσης, το σχέδιο πάνω στον τοίχο δημιουργεί μία αίσθηση τόσο του ανάγλυφου, όσο και ενός κάποιου βάθους, ενός «ανοίγματος» στον τοίχο. Το κείμενο – το βιβλίο γενικά- είναι εξάλλου το άνοιγμα προς έναν άλλο μαγικό κόσμο, προς μια άλλη διάσταση.

Τι σε παρακίνησε να ασχοληθείς με τα ημερολόγια της Σύλβια Πλαθ στο έργο με το οποίο συμμετέχεις στην έκθεση Διεμπειρίες Ελλάδα 2008, που παρουσιάζεται αυτό το διάστημα στο Πεκίνο από το ΕΜΣΤ ;

Η έννοια του ίδιου του ημερολογίου πρώτα-πρώτα, της ανάγκης για εκμυστήρευση, καταγραφή, αιτιολόγηση κλπ. που χαρακτηρίζει αυτή την τόσο προσωπική διαδικασία. Το ημερολόγιο σαν κάτι μυστικό και πολύτιμο, και αυστηρά ιδιωτικό. Όταν έχουμε εκδόσεις ημερολογίων όμως και το ιδιωτικό γίνεται δημόσιο, η απόκρυψη ή εξαφάνισή του –όπως λέγεται ότι έγινε στην περίπτωση της Σύλβια Πλαθ- υπαινίσσεται μια άλλη πραγματικότητα, μιαν άλλη διάσταση των πραγμάτων, πέρα και πίσω από αυτό που ξέραμε. Πίσω και κάτω από το κείμενο που λείπει –όπως είναι και η αφετηρία του έργου με το οποίο συμμετείχα στις Διεμπειρίες Ελλάδα 2008. Στην περίπτωση της Σύλβια Πλαθ, η ιδιαίτερη ευαισθησία της και ο τρόπος με τον οποίο πέθανε, με παρακίνησε να κάνω με κάποιο τρόπο ορατό αυτό που έχει χαθεί, όπου όμως τελικά η σιωπή υπερισχύει στο λευκό ανάγλυφο χαρτί, σαν ψίθυρος.

Ποια η γνώμη σου για τη στροφή όλο και περισσότερων καλλιτεχνών στο σχέδιο που παρατηρείται τα τελευταία χρόνια και την εκδοχή αυτής της τάσης στην ελληνική εικαστική παραγωγή ;

Νομίζω ότι η τάση προς το σχέδιο που υπάρχει σήμερα βασίστηκε στην ανάγκη για μια άλλη προσέγγιση της απλότητας και της αμεσότητας. Το σχέδιο μπορεί πράγματι να είναι ένα αυτόνομο και αυτοδύναμο εκφραστικό μέσο, όχι απλώς ένα στάδιο για κάποιο έργο. Υπάρχουν βέβαια περιπτώσεις που τα σχέδια είναι αυτό ακριβώς που δηλώνουν «προσχέδια», κάτι που είναι βέβαια εξίσου γοητευτικό και ενδιαφέρον με ένα τελειωμένο έργο, ίσως κιόλας έχει περισσότερη φρεσκάδα και ειλικρίνεια. Από την άλλη πλευρά, η γενίκευση αυτής της τάσης, όπως συμβαίνει συνήθως με τέτοιου είδους γενικεύσεις, δημιουργεί παγίδες και εγείρει τους γνωστούς κινδύνους που συνοδεύουν οτιδήποτε γίνεται μόδα. Αυτό στο οποίο διαφωνώ εδώ –και ιδιαίτερα όσον αφορά στην ελληνική εικαστική πραγματικότητα- είναι ο επιφανειακός και εύκολος τρόπος με τον οποίο προσεγγίζεται το σχέδιο, σαν κάτι «εύκολο», και εμπορικό. Ίσως το βλέπω έτσι επειδή για μένα το σχέδιο –ως αυτοδύναμο και ολοκληρωμένο έργο- δεν προϋποθέτει απλά ή αποκλειστικά μολύβι ή μελάνι και χαρτί, και σίγουρα δεν είναι μια αναπαράσταση ή μία επεξήγηση ή έστω η έκφραση ασυνείδητων νοητικών συνδυασμών, δεν είναι απλώς ένα γρήγορο σκίτσο. Για μένα έχει να κάνει περισσότερο με τρόπο σκέψης και με μια εννοιολογική προσέγγιση σε όλα αυτά τα ζητήματα που το ίδιο το σχέδιο προϋποθέτει και εγείρει, δηλαδή, σημείο, ίχνος, γραμμή, υφή κλπ., είναι ένα ταξίδι που ξεκινά το σημείο ή η γραμμή, και είναι η πορεία αυτής της διαδρομής και ο πλούτος της.

Little Red Riding Hood I, 2001, χρωματιστό μολύβι σε ριζόχαρτο, 38 x 38 εκ.

Ιωάννη Αποκάλυψη, 2004, αποτύπωμα καρμπόν σε χαρτί, 42 x 32 εκ.

Φραντς Κάφκα, Γράμμα στον πατέρα, 2006, αποτύπωμα καρμπόν σε χαρτί, 42 x 32 εκ.

Between the Lines II, 2002, γραφίτης σε διαφανές χαρτί, 70 x 70 εκ.

Αρκαδικό Τοπίο I, 2006, τρύπες με βελόνα σε χαρτί, 40 x 52 εκ.

Άποψη από την έκθεση Σε ενεστώτα χρόνο. Νέοι Έλληνες Καλλιτέχνες, 2007

Δάντη, Θεία Κωμωδία, Κόλαση, 2007
Mολύβι conté σε mdf, 220 x 120 εκ.

Δάντη, Θεία Κωμωδία, Παράδεισος, 2007
Μολύβι conté σε mdf, 220 x 120 εκ.

Άποψη από την έκθεση Transexperieces Greece 2008

Σύλβια Πλαθ: Το χαµένο ηµερολόγιο, 2008, χαρτί, µαύρη κλωστή, 21 x 500 εκ.

Σύλβια Πλαθ: Το χαµένο ηµερολόγιο, 2008, χαρτί, µαύρη κλωστή, 21 x 500 εκ. (λεπτομέρεια)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday, May 30, 2008

Διεμπειρίες Ελλάδα 2008
Τransexperiences Greece 2008

Εγκαινιάζεται την Κυριακή 1 Ιουνίου 2008 στο 798 Space στο Πεκίνο η έκθεση Διεμπειρίες Ελλάδα 2008 που διοργανώνει το Εθνικό Μουσείο Σύγχρονης Τέχνης. H έκθεση πραγματοποιείται υπό την αιγίδα του Υπουργείου Πολιτισμού στο πλαίσιο του Πολιτιστικού Έτους της Ελλάδας στην Κίνα.

Διάρκεια έκθεσης: 1 Ιουνίου - 15 Ιουλίου 2008

Για περισσότερες πληροφορίες κάντε κλικ εδώ

On Sunday, June 1, 2008 the exhibition Transexperiences Greece 2008 organized by the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens is inaugurated at 798 Space in Beijing. The exhibition is held under the auspices of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture in the framework of the Cultural Year of Greece in China.

Duration of exhibitiοn: 1 June - 15 July 2008

For further information click here