How to Use Gay Nazis in Job Interviews: Queer Media, Striptease-Lectures and the Art of Existential Sodomism (2018 )
A video-performance on homoerotic nazism is transformed into a deranged guide of professional and erotic survival. Based on an actual interview with a gay Nazi, this project encompasses academic essays, lecture-performances and a series of digital and urban sensations. All these forms expression explore how social media can stage a horny war against fear, hatred and uncertainty. Physically and intellectually provocative, this is an analysis of the relationship between facebook, austerity-horror and queer desire. This polymedia project includes a short clip and ritualistic acts of self-exposure. This dialogue between storytelling and art-theory re-stages the shocking testimonies of the experimental short-film/video-performance (The Homonazi Effect). Centered on factual -- violent, flirty and cyber -- encounters with Athens-based gay neo-Nazis, the Homonazi Effect encompassed an alliance of platforms: blogs, queer festivals, popular magazines, academic writing and social media. Visual components of the artwork, and particularly, the author’s impersonations of his ‘homo-Nazi’ interlocutor were re-used and re-adapted with various storytelling and self-writing formats – co-creating a fragmented intermedia collage of confession and defeat. Social Media rituals twisted the meaning, context and impact of the initial story – re-situating its visual dramatics within an aesthetic backdrop of failed job interviews, zero-hour contracts and traumatic escapism. A cinematic narration dissolves into a project of self-writing, one that establishes an exhibitionistic archiving of failure. The boundaries between fiction and non-fiction, history and imagination and digital and non-digital dramaturgy collapse. A new queer utopia is now disruptively staged on the performative intersection of precarious routine and austerity-age dreamland.
The Document as Music. Exploring the musicality of verbatim material in performance (2018 )
David Roesner, Bella Merlin
During a four-week fellowship at the LMU Munich in 2016, Bella Merlin (UC Riverside, USA) and David Roesner (Theatre Studies, LMU Munich) investigated the relationship between original interview material and its (musical) staging. In particular, they explored the ethics and aesthetics that musicalisation might present in relation to the speech patterns, vocal inflections and rhythms of their interview partners from across three generations in three different countries. In this article they will draw conclusions from their working process, which address questions about verbatim theatre and musicality beyond their particular study.
Only the Envelope: artistic interpretations of eye-tracking imagery (2018 )
Vahri McKenzie, Neil K Ferguson
Only the Envelope (OTE) combines several research methodologies to investigate the ways we share personal information in the public sphere. This exposition presents video and video stills as primary artefacts in a discussion about a live artwork that dramatises the act of looking. In a live art installation, a ‘scientist’ invited visitors to be involved in an ‘experiment’ — namely, viewing a film while wearing a wireless eye-tracking device. This surveillance technology generated data about viewing behaviour. However, of greater interest was investigating how engaging with OTE as creative arts research led to unanticipated findings. Also interesting were the new audiovisual documents created through a re-enactment of the visitor’s experience, in which the eye-tracking device was redeployed as a head-mounted camera. In the artistic research context of OTE, the re-enacted videos led to new data being collected and analysed, leading to novel insights. These show that OTE’s ironic performance of science, employing the coercive power of complex technologies, maintained rather than undermined the compliant behaviour of participants. At the same time, the artist’s re-enactment of the visitor’s experience makes it possible to imagine, represent, and discuss such an act of subversion by illuminating the complexity of viewing behaviour when considered within the politics of the gaze and representation. This complexity is a reflection both of the emergent nature of a process-driven creative arts research enquiry, and of the work’s investigation of data retention.
Can a drawing be rehearsed?; or, There's no bowing in performance art (2018 )
This exposition combines a practice-led research project titled 'Tullah and Tom: A Drawing Affair' with a reflective analysis of ‘performance drawing’—a tag deployed with increasing frequency in drawing research. Drawing has always been hybridised and concocted with other disciplines and research frameworks, but its contemporary associations with performance art, expanded theatre and the performing arts are under-examined. The co-option of drawing by performance lacks extensive critical engagement, as do significant aspects of the performance drawing process. The subject of this exposition is two of these unexamined aspects—rehearsal and the curtain call. Although there are analogies to be drawn with theatre, this research resists analogy and focuses on these phenomena within the context of drawing practice. Drawing rehearsals and curtain calls are peculiar and specific activities within the performance/drawing nexus, and their examination has yielded significant insight. One private and one public, these ancillary and parasitical processes bracket the performance drawing and fulfil pivotal roles in enacting, re-enacting, and disenthralling the drawing from its performance matrix.
Exploring the Principles of Allodoxic Art (in dialogue with Baroness Elsa) (2018 )
It is possible to bring socio-politically engaged practices into the realm of the commons. These practices I have grouped under the umbrella of allodoxic art, a term defined in the first section of this exposition. Allodoxic art provides a way of bringing into focus the social movement struggles that have shaped the discourse across social and environmental justice, embracing the total contribution of individuals’ artistic forms and active citizenship.
French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1930–2002) recuperates the concept of allodoxia that was first used by the Greek philosopher Plato (427–347 BC) to describe false beliefs arising from misrecognition. The word allodoxia derives from two Greek words allo referring to a mixture, and doxa meaning practices or teachings. An understanding of his use of allodoxia can equip artists with a tool to map pre-allodoxic tactical actions for unfolding allodoxic interventions that target and impact upon privileged space. Such interventions can maintain and expand the commons as embedded policy and programs, rights, and community-led initiatives. The commons are theorised here not merely as a passive legacy, but as a stake to be claimed, insistently and programmatically, as a matter of collective urgency. The commons also refer to lost or new territory claimed for the protection or expansion of rights, on the one hand, and the common good and activism in general on the other.
I present several artwork examples that elucidate hegemonic social games, as well as others that demonstrating the connection between allodoxia and hegemony. These may act as access points for artists and intervention participants to understand how allodoxic interventions, as anti-hegemonic behaviour, contribute knowledge and skills to commoning processes. They may also, through the exploration and testing of tactics, help those processes gain traction and develop. These are drawn from the radical performative practice of German-born Baroness Elsa von Freytag Loringhoven (born Else Hildegard Plötz 1874–1927: henceforth Baroness Elsa) and my studio based works.
The theorisation of allodoxic art also draws from German political thinker Hannah Arendt (1906–1975), specifically her theoretical work on revolutions, which provides greater understanding of how and why we should take political actions against privileged space. As principles for allodoxic art, this work develops an analytical armature for judging the success of these tactics and to further develop these types of interventions.