WordMord_Phase I_performative reading

Vassiliea Stylianidou aka Franck-Lee Alli-Tis was invited, in February 2018, at the Centre, to coordinate a workshop focusing on gendered approaches to the public space in the age of globalised technologies. The focus of the workshop was technology and vulnerable bodies, and emanated from two recent events of extreme public violence, homophobia and misogyny, the murder of the trans activist Zak Costopoulos aka Zackie Oh!, at the centre of Athens and the femicide of a young woman, Eleni Topaloudi at the island of Rhodes. Two killings that shattered Greek society. Zak Kostopoulos’ / Zackie Oh!’s inhuman lynching and murdering in a public view in the centre of Athens, not only happened in time proximity to the rape and killing of Eleni Topaloudi, but it is also the symptom that indicates the vulnerability of specific, targeted bodies. The female* body as well as the body of queer and trans subjects, is perceived as a vulnerable body in the public space, as a body without protective tissue.
Stylianidou aka Franck-Lee Alli-Tis opened the workshop with a performance, a performative participatory reading. Instead of a theoretical, typical academic introduction to the theme of the workshop, Stylianidou aka Franck-Lee Alli-Tis invited the students, while they were listening to her* performative thinking, to interact with their cell phones, to touch them with their palms. Some of the participants filmed her*, spontaneously, while s*he was reading. The connection to the device, the videotaping of Stylianidou aka Franck-Lee’s reading was an unintended re-enactment of the videotaping of the murder of Zak Kostopoulos, from some passers-by, during the event of his killing. Triggering the artistic methods of performance and re-enactment, a work of art was produced at the spot, a short video- performative lecture.

In the performance the artist articulates her* thoughts, sometimes decisively, sometimes stammering, sometimes rephrasing her* sentences, performing an oral and at the same time mediated communication, on the relationship of technology, technological devices and the vulnerable body. In her* reading s*he asks: - what is the relationship of vulnerable bodies and new media? If the media are always new, how new do bodies remain? How vulnerable bodies are interconnected via their devices? Which lines of geopolitical routes connect our palms through the slick aluminium surfaces? What alliances of affectful corporeities can we trace? How violence, pain, loss is communicated and processed not via but within new media?

At the same time s*he invited her* audience to feel their telephone device and experience with their body the mediation of the physical presence of the voice, of the subject uttering the words, of the electronic device and the censorious experience, making all the above an impartible entity. The performative reading, as the artist, states, is based on something very straight forward, literal and simple. It concentrates both in the tactility of the (smart) phone device and in the violent reality, which is transformed into data.
(Text by Elpida Karaba)