A POEM FOR YOU
Curated by Katerina Nikou
In the framework of the solo show of Anestis Ioannou, After Sunset, curator Katerina Nikou, invites international cultural practitioners, to respond to the poem written by the artist, Together We Root As A Family.
This project is parallel to the exhibition. The participants comment on the notions which Anestis Ioannou mentions in his poem: the relationship with our ancestors, our roots, time and what we consider today a family.
Adam Szymczyk, curator at large at Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, Holland) & former artistic director documenta 14 (Athens, Greece, Kassel, Germany), (Zurich, Switzerland), Alexis Fidetzis, artist (Athens, Greece), Andreas Mallouris, artist, (Nicosia, Cyprus), Angelo Plessa, artist, documenta 14 (Athens, Greece), Daniel Knorr, artist, documenta 14 (Berlin, Germany), Danny Hiele, cinematographer, director of photography (Los Angeles, USA), Daphne Vitali, curator, National Museum of Contemporary Art Museum (Athens, Greece), Dimitris Rentoumis, artist (Athens, Greece), Eleni Christodoulou, artist (Athens, Greece), Eleni Glinou, artist (Athens, Greece), Fotini Gouseti, artist (Athens, Greece), Yorgos Giotsas, artist (Athens, Greece) Isabelle Cordemans, artist (Antwerp, Belgium), Leonardo Pucci, photographer, (Paris, France), Lilou Vidal, independent curator, writer, author, founder of the non-profit organization Bureau des Réalités (Brussels, Belgium), (Torino, Italy), María Magdalena Campos-Pons, artist, documenta 14 (Nashville, Tennessee, USA), Marijke de Roover, artist (Brussels, Belgium), Meriton Maloku, artist (lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium), Nathan Pohio, artist documenta 14 (New Zealand), Paul B. Preciado, writer, philosopher, curator (former curator of the Public Programs, documenta 14 (Athens/Gr, Kassel, Germany), (Paris, France), Phaedon Giallis, artist, (Athens, Greece), Protocinema, (Kathryn Hamilton/Deniz Tortum, Zeynep Kayan, Jorge González, Mari Spirito), (Istanbul, Turkey), Roman Hiele, music composer (Antwerp, Belgium), Sarah Vanagt, film artist (Brussels, Belgium), Saurabh Narang, artist (New Delhi, India), Simone Keller / Philip Bartels, documenta 14, (ox&öl Produktionen, Zurich, Switzerland), Theo Prodromidis, artist (Athens, Greece), Theophilos Tramboulis, curator, writer, author (Athens, Greece), Vassilis Noulas & Kostas Tzimoulis (VASKOS), (Athens, Greece)
By Paul B. Preciado
Dear extraterrestrial being,
I am addressing you from planet Earth through writing, a semio-linguistic communication technology invented by my species almost six thousand years ago. I modulate this technology in the English language, a dialectal variant in which 1348 million humans communicate and which, I imagine, is foreign to you. I trust, however, that the biochemical and physical cosmological bases that we share will allow you to carry out a translation, a transfer, a relocation, an injection, a mutation of the graph capable of producing another sign decodable by your sensitive apparatus. I hope that you can, if not read this letter, at least breathe it, inject it, download it, absorb it or sense it.
Forgive my lack of subtlety: I am just a small warm-blooded multicellular being with a life expectancy of between 75 and 95 revolutions of Planet Earth around the sun and I have a cognitive capacity that, although it is the result of millions of years of evolution on this planet, is also (curious fatality) the effect of the violence operated by my species on itself. So what I can perceive is not much. I have five senses, some say six, but most of them have suffered such a specialization during the last millennia that I hardly see, hardly hear, hardly smell… I only fabulate and that is perhaps why fabulation is the best and most portentous way to get in touch with you.
With the certainty that gives me the sense of fabulation, I turn to you knowing that you are already among us. I sense your presence. Far away. Intense. Radiant. Close. Silent. Despite the narrowness of my consciousness, I know you exist. My whole body knows it, both as a sentient living being and from the collection of data that allows me the specialization of my cognitive apparatus as a philosopher (to give you an idea I will tell you that philosophers, beings situated quite low in the contemporary terrestrial social pyramid, are like plumbers of the concept or seamstresses of the code: they invent new apparatuses of representation or dismantle and repair apparatuses of truth production that no longer work or whose operation consumes excessive energy or destroys those who use them or those on whom they are used). And the seamstress has long known that other threads are woven into the cosmos. Just as the plumber knows that all pipes at some point connect.
I speak to you as if you were an individual consciousness embodied in a binary body because the social technology of the English language does not yet admit de-individualizing and non-binary meanings, but I imagine that you are neither individual nor binary, but that you are governed by another logic, by another music, by another vibration. I would like to address you without having to use to imagine you the noise produced by the categories of animality, class, race, sex, sexuality, not even that of foreignness…because these categories are the result of history by the energetic and semio-technical supremacy that my species has built during the last centuries. And it is precisely the consequences of this supremacy that I have come to talk to you about.
I am not writing to you, you must forgive me, with altruistic motives or in order to initiate a friendship, although that would certainly be the best gift, but because the technologies of extraction, distribution and allocation of energy that my species has invented during the history of hominization and, especially during the last five hundred years, are calling into question the possibility of the continuity of life of most terrestrial species, including (curious fatality) our own. These lethal governing technologies include: 1) a productive system based on the destruction, depredation, privatization and accumulation of vital resources, as well as the production and consumption of toxic materials and waste. This productive system was historically called capitalism but today it extends to almost the entire planet in a digital-world-market from which there seems to be no possible way out. 2) The marking of a part of the human species through technologies of racialization or sexualization that ensures the energetic and semiotic sovereignty of some over others. 3)The management of reproduction through a binary and hierarchical classification system in which bodies possessing a potentially reproductive uterine cavity are subjected to bodies producing liquid highly charged in recombinant genetic material that we call sperm and in which any body that exceeds this binarism or that threatens this semiotic or reproductive order is the object of violence and extermination. And 4) the inability of our species to establish symbiotic relationships with other planetary species, always preferring objectification, consumption and death to relationship.
You may wonder why I am inviting you to this necropolitical festival. If this were our only reality I would not write to you. I am writing to you because, although besieged by our own techniques of death, we are undergoing a revolution. We are beginning to realize that we will have to operate profound changes. We have begun to mutate. For that reason, and because we could use a fresh look, if by any chance you had thought of coming to Earth, this would be a good time to do so.
If you can hear me, I would ask you to urgently communicate with the human species.
A response by Daphne Vitali, EMST, International Contemporary Art Museum, Athens, Greece.
With a poem by Valentino Zeichen
Molti secoli prima
Che un tuo antenato
Fosse arruolato nella
Compagnia delle Indie,
dei precedenti avi
erano militi di Roma
nella legione Britannica,
una delle piu’ valorose.
Alla base della colonna
Per risalire agli antenati
effigiati la’ in cima,
sull’ultimo dei rocchi
della colonna Aureliana.
By Theophilos Tramboulis
Μεγάλωσα μέσα στην πιο ευχάριστη άγνοια για την καταγωγή μου.
Όταν έφτασα στα δεκατρία, με φώναξε η μητέρα μου στην κουζίνα και, δίχως να βγάλει τα χέρια της από την σκάφη με τη ζύμη, μου ανακοίνωσε πως δεν ήταν αυτή η υπεύθυνη για τον τοκετό που με έφερε στον κόσμο. Αρνήθηκε όμως, είτε από σεμνότητα, είτε από ένα καλά κρυμμένο παλιό παράπονο, να μου αποκαλύψει άλλες λεπτομέρειες για την γυναίκα που με εγέννησε, για τις συνθήκες κάτω από τις οποίες η τύχη μου ενώθηκε με αυτήν της αξιοσέβαστης οικογένειας του Αργοστολίου, την οποία μέχρι πενταλέπτου θεωρούσα πατρογονική μου, για τους λόγους για τους οποίους προέβαινε σ’αυτήν την συγκινητική και όψιμη εκμυστήρευση.
Στη συνέχεια, μου παραχώρησε τα υπολείμματα της αφράτης ζύμης να τα γλείψω, όπως μου άρεσε να κάνω. Δίστασα· δεν ήξερα εάν αυτή η προσφορά εσήμαινε πως θα εξακολουθούσα να απολαμβάνω αληθώς τα προνόμια τα οποία εχαιρόμην μέχρι τότε ως ψευδής μοναχογυιός· ή εάν δεν ήταν το παχύρευστο και κολλώδες αυτό δώρο ένα δώρο αμετάκλητου αποχωρισμού, ένα δώρο σαν αυτό με το οποίο ετιμούσαν το πάλαι οι άρχοντες τους επισκέπτες τους λίγο πριν φύγουν ή τους μελλοθανάτους εχθρούς. Έτρεξα στη σοφίτα και μόνον εκεί πλέον άρχισα να κλαίω, μην θέλοντας ενωρίτερα να δώσω δικαιώματα στην γυναίκα που ήταν πλέον μητριά μου πως είχα τάχα στεναχωρηθεί.
Το μεσημέρι άκουσα την φωνή του πατέρα μου και κατέβηκα, υπακούοντας όπως πάντα στην πρόσκλησή του. Δεν ήθελα να δείξω πως η σχέση μας είχε διασαλευτεί.
«Η μητέρα σου σε μια στιγμή αδυναμίας», μου είπε, «σου αποκάλυψε ένα δυσάρεστο μυστικό».
Κρατούσε μισανοιγμένη την εφημερίδα στα χέρια του. Το σκυλί που ήταν στα πόδια του με πλησίασε όπως πάντα με την κοιλιά να σέρνεται στο πάτωμα και την ουρά να κουνά χαρούμενη.
«Τώρα που το γνωρίζεις, οφείλεις και εσύ να μείνεις πιστός σε μια παράδοση που κρατάει από γενιές. Ούτε του δικού μου πατέρα η σύζυγος ήταν η φυσική μου μητέρα, ούτε τα δικά σου παιδιά πρέπει να τα αναθρέψει η γυναίκα με την οποία θα πλαγιάσεις».
Το σκυλί μου έγλειφε τη φτέρνα. Ένιωθα υγρή και μαλακή, πλατιά, τη γλώσσα του στον τένοντά μου. Ήταν η εποχή που ξυπνούσαν οι αισθήσεις μου παροξυμένες.