Gallery

TRANSIT

FREE TO MOVE AND ARRIVE NOWHERE

Theater- and solo-performance, plus video-interventions, 18+19.07.14, Transit -intercultural theater performance, Stadtmuseum, Tübingen

The project Transit was an initiative of ‘Masckaratheater‘ based in Tuebingen and it brought together people that found themselves in shifting situations, like migration, end of a carrier, unemployment. In search of new perspectives, around 20 actors and musicians from different countries worked together in this intercultural performance on “Tübinger Vertrag” and the freedom of movement in Europe. (german text)

viki semou’s contribution focused on those people to whom any place in ‘the system’ is denied, one way or another. In other words, she impersonated those people marginalized even among marginalized. Those in continued Transit. Those “free” to move and arrive nowhere.

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Theater performance

Art-direction: L.Conte, J. Knab

Actors: L. Baranowski, A. Bosch, A. Fodor, D. Gauß, Q. Hu, S. Kubin, F. Lokaj, S. Mahler, N. Roos, V. Semou, L. Till

Musicians: J. F. Olivos Blomberg + Tübinger Baglama-Schule: A. Güler, H. Bastas, S. Braun, C. Celik, O. C. Iygi, G. Tercan,

Solo performance

Concept-Executiion: Viki Semou

Technical assistance: Tasos Akridas, Vangelis Tourloukis and Sara Bangert

Technical Support: Kreismedienzentrum-Tübingen and Ralf Martenstein

Technical Advice: Timo Dufner

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“TECHNICAL”  DETAILS

Viki Semou participated in the event with a solo performance and a series of interventions in the space dedicated to the work of Lotte Reiniger, an artist of films and shadow-theater plays made with 2d-figures, mostly in black. These interventions consisted of 1. a video in loop in combination of a Reiniger’s video, 2. the video of that day’s theater play which was recorded while v.semou was participating in it, and 3. a live stream of what she was seeing during her solo. This last screening featured successively the image of drawers/boxes and then the image of people -the audience.

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NOTES

1.

Art has often been a place where ‘abnormals’, ‘monsters’ and other ‘curiosities’ can be fearlessly and harmlessly presented. Even accepted. As long as they stay there. When it ‘s only a show. In the realm of art and the non-real, of fantasy and dream.

Yet, the ‘abnormals’ and the ‘monsters’ exist and are claiming  their place among ‘us’.

2.

“Discrimination and prejudice are often condemned as markers of cruelty or insensitivity and not as markers of structural inequality. This reduces the reality of social injustice to a question of compassion and charitable feelings..”

(paraphrasing Alison Kafer in ‘Feminism, Queer, Crip’)

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Gallery

FRAMING in Shedhalle

04-27.07.14, group-exhibition ‘sense no sense’, Shedhalle (Schlachthausstr. 13, Tübingen)

FRAMING : participatory performance; an invitation to see the world with a head-mounted camera.

(on the 04.+26.07.14)

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FRAMING | AFTERTHOUGHTS: screening of the videos produced by the visitors during the performance.

sense no sense, 04.07.14 – 27.07.14

More about the program of the exhibition here

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‘Framing’ invites visitors to see the world only through a head-mounted camera. The project reflects on the moments we spent experiencing the world through digital cameras, or cameras on cellphones and computers that we use before, during and after the shooting of a picture or a video. It condenses these moments in one and with this exaggerated condition, it comments on the virtualization of our glance as well as on the transformation of the Familiar and the dis-embodiment that such a mediated experience creates. In addition, with multiple head-mounted cameras, the project creates hybrid beings and it investigates their interaction with each other and with the ‘normal’ people.

In ‘Framing |Afterthoughts’, the videos produced are screened in situ, one after the other, from the moment they are created till the end of the exhibition. In this way, the project documents the exhibition, what each glance has chosen to register from it on that moment, and the reaction of each body to this mediated experiencing of the space. At the same time, the fact that such unstable recorded images of a space are screened in the space itself, juxtaposes not only the mediated with the non-mediated experience of an environment, but also the ‘real’-time with the ‘just-a-while-ago’ creating an echo of the ‘real’.

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You can find an example of the videos created here.

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The project was partially funded by the Kulturamt of Tübingen and technically supported by Kreismedienzentrum of Tübingen and the Shedhalle.

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TRIBUTE TO THE UNDISCOVERED

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Performance, 24.05.14, Kunstamt, Tübingen ///////

IS THERE THUNDER, WHEN THERE IS NO-ONE THERE TO HEAR IT?

A tribute to those artists, thinkers, activists, brave or maybe stupid ones, that persist in doing something they deem important, even if no-one is there to acknowledge it.

A tribute to what is yet to be discovered.

A tribute to what gets lost and forgotten, even when it was created with love and care.

Concept-performance: Viki Semou.

inspired by the short story ‘Black Heavy Cloth’ by Michael Ende from his book ‘The mirror in the mirror’

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In the short story ‘Black Heavy Cloth’ by Michael Ende, a performer gets set on stage to perform. The show does not begin, and yet no-one cancels it. The man remains on stage, rehearsing the performance in his mind, standing on the opening posture, ready to start. We follow his thoughts and his doubts, his stress and his boredom, his anger and his despair, his indifference and, in the end, his oblivion of what he was supposed to do and why. Nevertheless, he never leaves the stage: he stays there, waiting, and mirroring the first posture of his show-to-be.

Viki Semou impersonates the character by Ende and invites the visitors of Kunstamt to imagine her performing behind the curtains of the stage, in this limbo of waiting and being ready to start. The intention is to bring forward -by hiding them- the agonies, hopes and ambitions of the Artist, particularly when ‘undiscovered’.

In this light, the ‘heavy black curtains’ that hide the performance become the veils of our perception;
a reminder of its limitations. Or they can offer the occasion to expand this perception, once one ‘focuses’ beyond them; on the object of desire or fear, on the fantastic or the forgotten, on the unknown or the undiscovered.

The philosophical question Is there a thunder when there is no-one there to hear it?, that is raised here, does not deny the importance of the witness in art (=audience) or more generally in our knowledge of the world. Yet, it acknowledges the probability of knowing something without witnessing it. Moreover, it suggests the existence of something despite the existence of a witness, while at the same time it implies the power of the ‘witness’ on the ‘thing-being-witnessed’ itself…

Framing | Afterthoughts

P1010822

Screening, 24.05.14,  @18.00 – 21.00, Kunstamt Foyer (Doblerstrasse 21) //////

Documentation and end products of the participatory event on 23.03.14, which consisted on visitors of the Kunstamt seeing the world only through a head-mounted camera.

With this exaggerated condition, the project ‘Framing’ comments on the virtualization of our glance and the transformation of the Familiar that such a mediated experience creates.

‘Framing | afterthoughts’, by screening the videos created on that day, gives a hint on the reaction of each body to this experience and it witnesses what each glance has chosen to register on that moment.

You can find an example of the videos created on that day here

For more on the project see also ‘Framing in Shedhalle

 

ANOMALOUS RALLY, against the violence of normativity

anomalous_rally1
On Friday the 13.09.13, the ‘ANOMALOUS RALLY, against the violence of normativity‘ has taken place in the center of Athens. It took the form of a march enriched with actions by artists, queer and feminist groups. The rally has been a research for ways of expression, existence and coexistence against and beyond the framing of patriarchy, homophobia, racism and neo-liberalism. It has been a denunciation of the physical, verbal and psychological violence, which all of us -the dismissed, weirdos, sluts, fags, lesbians, trans, vagabonds, aliens- go through in everyday life.
Joined our voices claimed the space in private and public sphere against social exclusion and inequality; for the right and respect of being different.

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Participants (in order of appearance): Color Youth, Fylo Sykis (the fig leaf), Astochia Thylikou (Female Failure), MLFF, Group of Lawyers for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants, Eleni Kolliopoulou, Antonis Vathis, Vassilis Noulas and Cine – Collective.

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The rally has been an initiative of MLFF, a group that has created the infrastucture for the rally, and that has been responsible for the organisation and the online broadcasting of the event. The project has been partially subsidized by xminy, and it has been supported by the “Free, self-managed theatre Embros” (an occupied space for free cultural expression and social action).
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http://www.mlff.org/
http://youtu.be/kPPBixwF-SU

Trans-languag-ing

deniro-headimg

Μετα-γλώττ-ιση =

TRANS-LANGUAG-ING =

TRANS-SPRACH-TION

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Trans-languag-ing’ is a video-installation developed in relation to a research on dubbing during the AiR program of Shedhalle in Tübingen. It was presented in Shedhalle on the 22.06.2013.

Through the juxtaposition of different dubbed versions of the famous scene ‘You talking to me?’ of Robert de Niro in the movie of M. Scorsese ‘Taxi-driver’, the project investigates dubbing as a process of familiarization and of appropriation.

Yet, if we see how dubbing was used historically, hence as:

- a tool of censorship and of propaganda
- a process where disembodied voices inscribe meaning on muted bodies
- a process of silencing the ‘foreign’ and of disguising it as ‘familiar’

then,
what is censored?
what is appropriated?
what exactly is left intact?

///// [More on Dubbing] /////

Dubbing is an attempt to hide the foreign nature of a film
by creating the illusion that actors are speaking the viewer’s language.
Dubbed movies become in a way, local productions.
[Martine Danan, Dubbing as an expression of Nationalism, 1991]

BREAK | a re-enactment

Break-semou

BREAK is a project that consists of a series of events:

I. a performance , II. a lecture-performance (forthcoming) and III. a performative/participatory event (forthcoming).

The first one was presented as part of the Artist in Residence program of the Shedhalle art space in Tübingen on 08.06.2013. The second and third part will be presented in the near future in other venues of the city.

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And if one asked her, longing to pin down the moment with date and season, but what were you doing on the fifth of April 1868, or the second of November 1875, she would look vague and say that she could remember nothing. For all the dinners are cooked; the plates and cups washed; the children sent to school and gone out into the world. Nothing remains of it all. All has vanished. No biography or history has a word to say about it. And the novels, without meaning to, inevitably lie.

[Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own]

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I. The project starts with re-enacting a moment of the everyday life of the artist’s grandmother. Being responsible for 7 grandchildren, her routine mainly included, among other things, cooking, serving the food and washing the dishes. The event refers to one of the moments when she disrupts this routine: when after cooking, serving the food, washing the dishes, she breaks them swearing in her mother tongue (which we-her grandchildren- could not understand).

[Brochure of the first event]

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II. Through a lecture performance, the artist discusses issues about:

- re-enactment (in a context of history and in a context of art),

- breaking of objects as an action common in a large range of cultures, knowing no borders of space and time.

- personal rituals

III. In this phase, the visitors are invited to re-enact the re-enactment that the artist has performed in the first phase. Each step of the ‘ritual’ created by this repetition, will be defined in space and also through instructions given.

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The project “BREAK” has been generously supported by the Kulturamt of Tübingen.

HOME-on-the-move-and-in-place: towards a strategy of emancipation

03- street installation: the Wall on the move

Paper presented at the workshop: “Dislocating Agency and Moving Objects”, ASCA, Amsterdam, 17-19 April 2013

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This paper presents ‘the Restoration of a Wall’ an art-project that follows the transformations of the accumulated home objects of a migrant (myself) and it examines how these transformations could change notions and practice of Home. This process -and this paper as part of it- strives to apply such a change in a more relational and collective way.

The project stems from the presupposition that value and meaning are inscribed on objects and that they participate in turn in the construction and perception of our reality and the self. In the course of time, the project as the material manifestation of Home, adopts various forms and formats. This shift from one form to the other, from one context to the other, becomes a simulation of migrations. These migrations of home and of home-objects raise issues of individual consciousness, aspiring to contribute to an identity-’migration’ towards self-emancipation. /////

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[if interested, you can find the paper here]

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ALEPH

aleph_entrance0

participatory project + installation presented at the group-exhibition ‘Out of the Attic’, at Sint-Mariastraat 112b, in Rotterdam.

Viki Semou invited the visitors of this exhibition to search for the ‘Aleph’ as J.L.Borges describes it in his short story with the same title. In order to see it, they should follow the instructions as given to Borges.

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Aleph

  • It is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the Mother letter, the beginning.
  • In mathematics, it symbolizes the numbers of which every part is equal to the whole.
  • For Cabala, it represents the divine, the infinite, the air.
  • In Tarot, it is related to the fool, the unknowing. It is a null-signifier, symbolizing what is beyond thought.

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In 1949 Jorge Luis Borges wrote the short story ‘The Aleph’. In the story, Carlos Argentino Alvaro says that Aleph is a point in space that contains all the other spaces of the universe. He claims that it is in his house cellar. Borges verifies that he saw Aleph as well, following Alvaro’s instructions. This happened shortly before Alvaro was evicted and before his house was demolished for the expansion of a bar-salon.

Rumors say that, although this story is true, Borges intentionally changed some crucial details in his story to protect Aleph from misuse. For example, Aleph was not in the cellar of a house in Argentina as Borges implies, and it was not demolished. It is said that Aleph still exists and that it is in the attic of a house in the Netherlands that is threatened to be demolished again and again through the years. There are reasons to believe that this house is at Sint-Maristraat 112b.

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Instructions to see Aleph as they were given to Borges

First a glass of pseudo-cognac,” he ordered, “and then down you dive into the cellar. Let me warn you, you’ll have to lie flat on your back. Absolute darkness, absolute stillness, and a certain viewing angle will also be necessary. From the floor, you must focus your eyes on the nineteenth step. Once I leave you, I’ll lower the trapdoor and you’ll be quite alone. You needn’t fear the rodents very much — though I know you will. In a minute or two, you’ll see the Aleph — the microcosm of the alchemists and Kabbalists, our true proverbial friend, the multum in parvo!

[...]

“Of course, if you don’t see it, in no case your incapacity will invalidate my witness. And now, go down.”

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Sint-Mariastraat, a chronicle

1892- the houses of Oude Westen in Rotterdam are built. Rumors start about a particular house in a street of the neighborhood. The street is named Sint-Mariastraat, to consecrate the ground.

1940- the german nazis bomb Rotterdam and they stop the bombardment just before they reach Oude Westen.

1927- Alvaros come to live in the Netherlands on Sint-Mariastraat 112b. Borges comes to visit them very often.

!947- Borges sees Aleph, following Carlos Argentino’s instructions, just before the Alvaros are deported to Argentina. They have no access on Aleph anymore.

1949- Borges publishes his short story ‘The Aleph’, to make its existence public. However, he changed some crucial details to protect Aleph from misuse.

1970′s – The local authorities decide to demolish the houses in the Oude Westen neighborhood. The action group of the residents succeeded to prevent this from happening. None of the houses were demolished and they were all radically renovated except from the houses of Sint-Mariastraat.

2010- Rosa Montero, a resident of Sint-Mariastraat 112b, confided to Viki Semou that she saw Aleph in the attic of her house.

2012, May. Montero disappeared just before a court-case for her eviction took place. She was one of the 8 people still resisting displacement against the plans of the owning company to renovate the houses by demolishing them and keep their facades. An argentinean friend of hers took her place in the defense of the house.

2012, June. Viki Semou taking advantage of the exhibition ‘Out of the Attic’ invites people to search for the Aleph in order to convince them about Montero’s claims. As Montero said: “If people know about Aleph, then, they will protect it from demolition”.

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LOCOMOTIVE PROP in Street Blogging

Platanenweg2

sculptural media platform, archive and street actions,
in collaboration with Mara Karagianni, February 2011 and on /////

Interventions on protest for social housing against the governmental budget cuts and the housing shortage,
+ on protest of residents’ collective of Platanenweg against the speculations of the houseowner
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

More info at the blog of mlff.org and at the Paper : “Digital and analogue recordings as repository of memory and vehicles of interjection”

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A platform with both digital and analogue media of announcements, hijacking two  shopping carts, creates and presents an archive of opinions and demands.

The shopping cart, a symbol of consumption, multiplied and distorted, it is turned into a semi-absurd object attracting the attention in order to support the voices that struggle to be heard in the public discourse. As in the case of homeless, it serves a totally different role, becoming something more than a storage or a transport. Announcing and propagating our messages or the messages of the people whose cause we support, it is used to create a kind of street blogging. In demonstrations, in public spaces, in public events.

So far, half of our sculpture participated in three demonstrations. While marching, there were played pre-recorded demands in 4 different languages. People added pickets on our cart, put brochures on it and used the megaphone for slogans, speeches and announcements. We took interviews of some attendants and, whenever there was a free wi-fi, we broadcasted them in an online radio during and after the demo.

The material collected forms an archive that stays active and plays a significant role to every future action. In this direction, the demands for better social housing for everyone from the first demo joined and strengthened the voices of the residents in the second.

We aspire to use it as an info-kiosk for issues we-as individuals and artists- want to address and as the setting for more and different public actions. Please, contact us, if you are interested in any collaboration. We are also open to any suggestions.

We have received a grant by xminy to further equip the platform.