The project brings presentations, lecture performances, and lecture recitals together to create a ground to discuss intersecting and transient aspects of artistic research in different disciplines.
Hysteria and trauma as constitutive elements in contemporary Monodrama
Artistic Research in the field of music theatre
This lecture/recital examines how text and music articulate to create an alienated character that suffers trauma and hysterical symptoms, similar to those that Freud and Breuer described in their Studies on Hysteria. Like the late nineteenth-century Leçons de Mardi, where Dr. Charcot staged hysteria through his most prominent patient Augustine, the partial performance of Georges Aperghis’ Fidélité, – transcribed from a female harpist into a male guitarist – will open this lecture/recital, analysing how hysteria has been historically associated to women in Monodrama’s tradition.
Gender and genre are analysed as interchangeable terms, being possible to associate inquiry, hybridity and interchangeability to both. Therefore, the constitution of an Actor-Musician will depend on his/her ability to navigate between different genres, like a drag performer that goes to the wardrobe of gender and decides with deliberation which gender it will be today, paraphrasing Judith Butler.
The Actor-Musician figure will be described in different contexts of music theatre, from a performative perspective when performing Instrumental Theatre works, towards the total embodiment of the character’s psychological characteristics when performing contemporary Monodramas. Interdisciplinary Monodrama projects will be traced since the beginning of the artistic collaboration and development until their presentation as a fully fledged mise-en-scène, and examples of those works will be performed.
Preliminary work in my new research field seeks to comprehensively trace the physical and symbolic architectural spaces through which the contemporary composer’s body passes. The ‘presence’ of the composer plays out like a revered event, particularly in contemporary music, the ‘domain’ of (mostly) living composers. Yet even at premiere performances where the composer’s presence is generally considered obligatory – a birth of sorts - composers – and their labour – remain oddly out-of-place, a corporeal disruption in the ritual space of the hall. There is a palpable disconnect between the extensive preparatory nature of a composer’s labour , the labour of the musicians who animate the music, and the perceived ‘labour’ of listening to new music on the part of the audience. The transfer of labour through a sequential chain that results not in a material product, but rather an experience – an intensity - is a noted feature all of performing arts, music easily the most abstract variation.
My project’s ambition then seeks to exhume the composer’s body from the crypt, liberate it from the sequestered tower and break open the wall in which so many myths and assumptions about character, temperament and behavior that are immured in the historically structured identity of vocational composition. And of course, aesthetics.
Undisciplined: A Construction of An Archive
The conceptual elasticity in converging legacy of modernity, notion of performativity, usage of archives and addressing current socio-cultural, economic and political conditions, has been central of my artistic practice. While engaging various research and production applications, augmenting a method similar to the immediacy of drawing, I construct installations determined by interconnectedness of existing, inconclusive modernist narratives that become evocations that generate new critical imagination.
The concept of a non-linear, non-progressive historical time, and notions of tradition, collective memory, and historical consciousness in Benjamin’s "Theses on the Concept of History" (1940), informs my research. I also relate Derrida’s theoretical frame of incomplete (transient) notion of reality based on individual (subjective) perception with the concept of reactivation and interconnecting evident in Foucault’s articulation of archives and the notion of the author. I try to define the concept of archive as a meaningful process of accommodation and dissemination of new knowledge. My work often follows formal elements conspired along the lines of creating a dimensional system of purely visual and conceptual entities that can be politically engaging and socially relevant. This ongoing research incorporates many of my key interests I care to address such as occupation, eviction, reorganization, adaptation, and attribution of ideas, reading what it means to draw into, draw from, as well as draw within, a new cultural, economic and political premise. I have produced several large scale works that have given shape to “Undisciplined: A Construction of An Archive”. I have address the systematic neglect of the archive of the Urban Plan for Skopje designed by Kanzo Tange and Associates in 1963/65 via previous works ‘Master Plan’ (2008), ‘Obsessive Setting’ (2010), and most recently ‘Former City’(2017). The latest derives from the aftermath of the fire in April 2017 that destroyed the former State Bureau for Urban Planning and Architecture in Skopje. In May 2017 I initiated a civil action (supported by numerous individuals, state and independent organizations in the field or art, architecture and culture) to retrieve, select, organize and label the documentation saved from the ‘bunker room’ of the Institute where all projects files were neatly filed over the years. Following our intervention into the devastated field, a time-consuming process of cleaning, selecting and archiving of material from the ‘bunker room’ has lead to resuscitation of the material that ultimately leads to creating a ‘post-fire collection’ accessible to the public via the institutional mechanisms of the State Archive of the Republic of North Macedonia.
The objectives of my current work are to set-up a publicly accessible collection of the material, develop a dispersive concept of an archive with participation of public institutions and private citizens, and delineate a cross-disciplinary artistic methodology to generate social, political and cultural currency surrounding the ongoing systematic degradation of the modernist cultural heritage.
Thinking through CrossSections
By navigating through the CrossSections project, the talk will be focusing on connecting ideas, projects, techniques, functionalities, and locations across time and space through various networks.
The CrossSections project was designed as an interdisciplinary platform for explorations into artistic research, dialogue, and production over the course of three years (2017–2019). With the participation of 19 artists, 9 institutions, diverse scholars and cultural workers, various meetings, workshops, exhibitions, performances, talks and book launches are being held in three cities: Vienna, Helsinki, and Stockholm. By placing the artistic production at the center of its research and plot, the project brings together artists from Finland, Italy, Spain, Germany, Palestine, South Africa, Austria, Sweden, Syria, Republic of Macedonia, Egypt, Turkey and Ireland for encounters, residencies and events in Sweden, Finland, and Austria.
At the same time, the project project utilizes and connects different networks of institutions, funding bodies, curators, and artists by creating its own network. The content of the project consist of a series of production processes, shaped by artists, curators and institutions through the frequent public meetings, joint exhibitions and convivial events by creating the base for a transparent and horizontal communication throughout the duration of the project.
The CrossSections project also questions sustainability in art production, comparing material and immaterial productions and observing how artists find themselves the resources and the networks to sustain their own professional growth. These models and strategies are compared between different countries with four types of meetings, where the artists are able to appreciate the differences by sharing their direct experiences. Last but not least, the curatorial approach of the project suggests a new model of exhibition making by presenting an amalgamation research findings, documentation, sketches, and art production, rather than “completed” art works alone.