performing Antiquity, 2015
performative lecture, 2 projectors, 2 concrete pillar molds, plywood, 2x4s, metal sheet, CMU blocks
The performing Antiquity performance is situated at the juncture between performative lecture, poetry reading and modern choreography. It combines the academic usage of slides, a linear narrative supported by historical facts, visuals and an authoritative tone with the theatricality of performance through the manipulation of the projection with the images themselves and objects in the space. Finally, the space of projection itself becomes confused with the space of the audience who is invited to become part of the space and thus submits themselves to the manipulation of the projection as well.
What is the nature of space in Antiquity, especially in Ancient Rome?
The script and the images offer to draw a chronological order of architectural structures of power, from Ancient Rome to our global transnational space. There isn’t an actual image of Ancient Roman architecture. Instead, the images that illustrate the history of Ancient Rome are those of Neoclassical, Fascist and Modernist buildings. As a counterpoint to these examples of architectures of power, images of our contemporary utilitarian spaces and construction sites are tentative remnants of monumentality.
One becomes obsessed with the head, the center where the power lies.
Why try to trace back the architecture of power? To effectively overthrow power, we must locate its head so that we can sever it. The second fall of humanity: Oedipus commits patricide in order to take the place of his father, as king. The same succession goes for Roman emperors, these men who breed other men. The period prior to the fall of Rome witnessed assassinations of thirty emperors within the space of fifty years.
Where are the remnants of this architectural necrophagy in our contemporary neoliberal space?
As the narrative unfolds, in and out of order, a new space is being constructed. Objects in the space- cinder blocks, 2x4s, sheets of metal, a concrete pillar mold, deconstruct the linearity of the narrative, reduce and enlarge the images, move the audience so that they become aware of their own physical presence in space. These elements of construction insert an underlying narrative to the architecture of power: the true essence of monumentality resides in sites of construction.
Only hands can grab throats and squeeze life out of the heads.
Archival images give authority to the narration of history. They give forms of representations but also spaces for interpretation. Misreading signs, arbitrary connections- like the decapitated head of Hadrian wrongly attached to a Greek statue by Victorian archaeologists, are political tools that can shape and reshape our understanding of our societies. To give authority to images without captions, attributions, images of anonymity, is to start an alternative history to the official truth.
Sites of construction are sites of excavation where Antiquity is rehearsed and replayed.