COLLECTIVE EXPERIENCES #5

Collective Experiences

Weekly Diary #5

Text by INTERWEAVE for MAI

Photos by Natalia Tsoukala and Panos Kokkinos

Tuesday, April 12 – 2016

The fifth week of the As One exhibition has come to an end – a week rich in workshops, lectures and film screenings, presenting to the public three interventional performance pieces: Nikolaos’ and Yiannis Pappas’ “Semi-Glory”, Spyros Charalampopoulos' “I justify my existence” and Amanda Coogan’s “Υou don’t push the river”.

Highlights of the public programs from this fifth week included Amanda Coogan’s workshop and talk held at the beginning of the week; Damien Jalet’s workshop and talk; Thanassis Akokkalidis, an As One interventional artist, workshop titled as “Follow yourself”; PASHIAS, another As One interventional artist’s, talk on performance art in Greece; and Tehching Hsieh’s lecture about his work.


Tuesday April 5th: Day 22

Nikolaos and Yiannis Pappas presented “Semi-Glory”, 34 hours, which started on Tuesday. The two artists constructed/sewed a long white flag without end and connected it to each other as if it were an umbilical cord. Both of these artists met during the preparation of their solo interventional performances in As One, and began to develop “Semi-Glory.”

In the space right next to them, Spyros Charalampopoulos presented his piece “I Justify My Existence” for one week. The artist chopped logs of wood, attempting to sculpt them with human-made tools, breaking them apart, and reshaping them. As Charalampopoulos continually swung his ax on the wood, a thunderous noise shook the second floor.

Later in the day, one of As One’s four invited international artists, Amanda Coogan, led a workshop titled as “Body Work — Creation Methods”, the workshop focused on the individual artist’s body as material and explored, through simple exercises, methodologies of communicating non-verbally with the body.

Wednesday, April 6th: Day 23

The second day of the week, Amanda Coogan delivered a lecture about contemporary practices in performance, titled “An Illustrated Introduction to Performance Art: A Professional's Perspective”. The talk provided a brief overview of the context in which performance art has developed into a common form of contemporary art practice. Incorporating both art history and performance theory, she looked at the phenomena of performance art and examined the work of various artists including her own.

Thursday, April 7th: Day 24

Choreographer and performer Damien Jalet arrived at As One. He offered a public workshop and a glimpse of his work-in-progress film titled as “The Ferryman,” made in collaboration with Gilles Delmas. During his two hour workshop, he invited participants to explore, alone or in partnership, the intricate balance between motion and stillness. Through relatively simple instructions, the focus was placed on how we relate to gravity, as an invisible partner, leading us to take a greater consciousness of our own weight and presence. Right after the workshop, Damien Jalet presented in the Auditorium of the Benaki Museum an excerpt from his work-in-progress film “The Ferryman”. After the screening, Jalet had a talk with Elina Kountouri, director of NEON, and the audience about the film.

Friday, April 8th: Day 25

The last day of Nikolaos and Yiannis Pappas’s “Semi-Glory” has come: during these four days, the two artists took their performance throughout all the spaces of the Benaki Museum and into the streets, draping the spaces with their endless white flag - to finally complete the work on the outside of the museum, on the busy Pireos street. That evening, Thanassis Akokkalidis, led a workshop titled as “Follow yourself” – exploring the freedom that participants can experience under certain circumstances and restrictions.

Saturday, April 9th: Day 26

Amanda Coogan, one of the most dynamic contemporary performance artists today, started her two day performance “You don’t push the river”. For eight hours each day, the artist walks and performs actions in her space. She carries and and maneuvers a few objects: three ladders of different heights, twenty-five meters of red translucent fabric and many sheets of thin metallic paper. With the use of these objects, her body and time, Coogan explores the strangeness in the ordinary, and invites the viewers to draw interpretations in the works continually changing forms

Later this day, PASHIAS, one of As One’s interventional performance artists, held a talk on Performance Art in Greece: cleverly marrying performance art with the idea of “mythos” and the financial and political crisis Greece has been under for the last several years, PASHIAS talks about the relationship between performance art and political action in times when wealth and poverty collide.

Sunday, April 10th: Day 27

The fifth week closes with a truly significant lecture by pioneer performance artist, Tehching Hsieh. Hsieh is best known for his five year-long performances, in which he committed himself to living in a cage for a year, to punching a time clock every hour on the hour for a year, to living outdoors without a roof over his head for a year, to living tied to Linda Montano, another performance artist he barely knew for a year, and not make or see art for a year.

The artist discussed his body of work and shared with the public an extensive selection of documentation. Finally, he shared his philosophy on art time and life time:

"Doing art, doing time, doing life - to me, it's the same: This is my freedom."