Phantasma-agoria of/in crisis. Lens-based media and collective experience of the political in performing ‘image’ and agora.
Phantasma-agoria of/in crisis. Lens-based media and collective experience of the political in performing ‘image’ and agora In this practice-based research, I am investigating ways in which an art event can transform the public space from a consumerist topos into a place that enacts the political, disturbing the order of the ‘seeable’ and ‘sayable’ and opening new perspectives in the relationship between the artist and the audience. I particularly focus on the case of the art scene of Athens, Greece, where I live and produce my artwork, and the specific politics of aesthetics that it has promoted during the period of the socio-economic crisis. Specifically, during this period, documentary aesthetics and participatory practices that lacked visual experimentations and outcomes were promoted as more capable to address the political than other forms of creative practices that are presumed to support the culture of consumption. To explore the above tensions between visuality and participatory practices, I critically employed the concept of phantasmagoria, which has been traditionally conceived as the symbol of the consumerist culture. In particular, I concentrated on phantasmagoria as a complex synthesis of the concepts ‘image’/phantasma and agora to re-examine the practice of participation in relation to politics and visuality. Combining lens-based media and digital technologies with participation and performance, the four creative projects of this research allow associations between ‘image’ and agora that enable political thinking and praxis. Taking into consideration that the word crisis, in Greek language means, among others, critical thinking, these projects together constitute the Phantasma-agoria in crisis, that is a critical approach of phantasmagoria. At the same time, they also constitute a Phantasma-agoria of crisis, as they refer to the economic crisis in Greece and the ways that it framed new in/visibilities in the agora. In fact, each one of the projects explores visually different aspects of the agora: the articulation of the agora through speech and language, the articulation of the agora through collective action, the spatial politics of the agora in relation to the dichotomy between private (or domestic) and public space. By conceptualizing the practice of participation through the idea of agora, artist and participants are engaged in a dialogue of political awareness. Depending on the case, the artist should be willing to take the risk and pass some of her authority to the participants and vice versa. Taking the risk builds trust and enables resistance against the normalizing practices of the commodification of culture, setting in motion the political agora.
- PhD