Projects of the Pelion Summer Lab 2017
- Group 1: De-constructing the Subhuman: Vicious Evictions and the Politics of Disposession
“De-constructing the sub-human” will be a video essay that traces a global history of the discourse of ‘urban renewal/regeneration,’ slum clearance and the exclusion of usually poor and ethnic minority communities from occupying space in cities the world over. This study in the violence of urban planning will comprise found footage, archival news broadcasts, narrated extracts from urban theorists, as well as intertitles providing background information of particular instances of forced evictions from various cities. In examining a range of different, seemingly unconnected examples, we hope to provoke a reflection upon what Athanasiou and Butler call “the logic of appropriation and dispossession” (2013: 18), the shared discourse of forced evictions: pervasive ideas of certain unwanted communities as ‘dirty,’ ‘criminal,’ or perceptions that their mere presence devalues economic value of the space they occupy, so that they need to be hidden from view and removed to a usually unspecified elsewhere
[ Melina Kalfanti, Michail Vrogkistinos, Nnenna Onuoha ]
- Group 2: Know What I Meme (The meme-ification of knowledge)
Our proposal aims to expand the conceptualization of memes and propose them as an alternative and, even, privileged medium of documentation, narration, social critique and pedagogy. Hence, our intervention stems from a twofold idea: firstly, it challenges the news corporations and academia as producers of “objective” and “professional” truth, which enables and reinforces the market of affect in the context of digital capitalism. Secondly, it destabilizes the former definition of memes by allowing more creative and alternative ways to relay knowledge.
[ Joy al_Nemri, Nikos-George Sykas, Alexandros Papageorgiou, Penny Paspali ]
Group 3: Monodrome Abstract Regarding this year subject of Pelion Summer Lab on democracy and dissent, we will attempt to direct an open dialogue based on the concept of continuously unrevealing layers. The idea of politicizing art, the crowd as the new emerging subjectivity of democracy, visibility of going public and the idea of a three dimensional use of violence in both its representational or censored forms, agonism, resistance, and commons are some of ideas discussed from which we draw upon.
Our example is grounded in the commercial spot of Giogos Zois “Pressure” created in the context of third Athens Biennale of 2011 regarding to its central concept of Monodrome. ERT (Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation while being Biennale’s main media sponsor), ended up censoring the spot judging it as a kind of abbator of violent actions. Our project is a continual reopening of dialogues inside the team, the field of fermentation, using repetition through difference us our methological tool. Our attempt implicates experimenting on repetitional collective readings of this spot intersecting both our analysis as a team with thoughts offered by the whole Pelion group during an exercise of projection and writing.
The last part includes the revealing of the actual context of production of the video trying to restart a conversation from a different point and investigate, regarding the idea of the dialogue in terms of democracy, the ways by which the collective intellect forms and reforms through these differed layers of opinions and contexts.
[ Georgia Tsianta, Eleni Tsatsaroni ]
- Group 4: Re-legion
In this collective, mixed media project entitled [RE_LEGION] we have attempted to problematize the notion of the coherent subject, the paradox of subjugation, and agency of the abject in order to investigate possibilities of dissent and resistance. Playing around with Foucault’s mechanism of power and resistance, Butler’s subjugation paradox, and performativity theory as well as Kristeva’s notion of abjection, we seek to expose and bring to the foreground concepts that are not incorporated in the normative regime of truth, namely “nonsensical” affective narratives and fragmented expression of dissonance. Through a Facebook account, an ethnographic fiction video and theoretical texts, we experiment with semi-academic, non-linear storytelling and alternative narratives by “adopting” Halberstam’s theory of queer temporality. The St Nicolas monastery at Paou set the spatial and temporal terms, while an iconography inside the church depicting genderless, amputated and chained together figures bring the notion of the abject as a political example, signifying the always fragmented vulnerable but not passive self, which has been cast out of heteronormative neoliberal late capitalist democracy. While trying to create a space for “Gods fallen ones” on social media and documenting the place and time of the project, we aim to rethink the politics of the Self, vulnerability and becoming intelligible or rather “polyphonically unintelligible”. A key question we pose, inspired by Bilalis’s notion of the multitude and the crowd, is how a techno resistance to the individualistic algorithm of Facebook might look like. Our hypothesis is, that if more than one person uses an account - as a Multitude and not as a group or page – the Facebook algorithm that thinks in terms of the Crowd, might get confused. Through this we try to create some (maybe) minor glitch to the matrix as a form of queer dissent.
[ Marilena Gatsiou, Maria Pantsidou, Niki Soumpassis ]
- Group 5: Understanding the Demos through Its Excluded: A Mapping Project
Our project aims to consider the notion of the ‘state of exception’, as this term is used by the Italian political philosopher Giorgio Agamben in relation to the current political situation in Turkey, especially after the military coup attempt of July 15, 2016 against the Turkish government, which resulted in a prolonged state of emergency, and which continues to be in effect to this day. We are dealing with the questions of democracy in terms of the constitution of the demos, the making of the people, and the definition of the rightful citizens through the excluded others, who are randomly categorized in the face of the measures taken in the state of emergency. ...
[ Miray Cakiroglu, Maria-Pinelopi Chatzicharalambous, Staros Karanikas ]
- Group 6: Subterranean Dissents; Navigating the upside down (Video Game)
“Nobody invents anything: everything is already in circulation in one way or another. The more you experience you have with an ingredient, the more you understand it, and in the end you transform it” (Chambers 2008:1).
Scenario of the game
The game is about human curiosity. A ‘curious’ person wants to access and explore the subterranean. This curiosity has been sparked by the unknown, the unexplored, the inaccessible, the myths and fantasies that fiction books, sci-fi movies, documentaries generate, the different conspiracy theories that transcend social media about subterranean wars and underground vaults with nuclear weapons, the eschatological associations between environmental exploitation and catastrophes with human extinction and the revelation of new civilizations and archaeological relics of the past that keep well hidden secrets from different centuries. The player is invited to challenge and unveil different processes of making truth(s) and formulate data by choosing himself/herself the ways to organize alternative discourses and assemblages of power distribution. This is a game about the multiple assemblages, the topologies, diagrams of power, different elements that constitute the access to the subterranean.
Approaching the subterranean as an archive and by re-arranging it opens up the possibilities for new interpretations and provides understanding of the elements are not easily accessible. This game stands as a critique towards other games dealing with one-side usually anthropocentric of the subterranean as it tries to expose the player to the space in between fiction, imagination, mythology, ontologies, storytelling of humans and non-humans, science and politics. The player is encouraged to follow real life news, stories, conditions, and scenarios and to engage actively inside and outside the game.
[ Stephane Dartiailh, Effrosyni Rantou ]