OFFICIAL HELLENIC PARTICIPATION
Inspired by the authoritarian state “Leviathan” by T. Hobbes, this is an immersive site-specific performance, structured as a triptych in three different areas of Vyrsodepseio.
In a tannery, the workers came into contact with the skin of animals, offal, germs, blood and contaminated water. The idea of cleansing is a key thread of the dramatic fabric of the show and, with appropriate textual support, the space is used not only as a literal place (as a performance space), but also as a metaphorical space (as a tannery “purgatory”).
Skin [Δέρμα] is a celebration, a “tribute” to the mechanistic work, monotony and apathy. A poetic metaphor for the current state of Greek society into crisis and the development of a powerful authoritarian state-Leviathan.
© Loukas Vasilikos
Concept + Assemblage + Direction: Elli Papakonstantinou
Performers: Adrian Frieling, Alkis Ζοupas, Valia Papachristou, Anastasia Katsinavaki, Nefeli Papaderou, Angelos Kalinoglou, Stella Christodoulopoulou, Thanos Kosmidis, Kosmas Hatzis, Elli Katsinavaki, Lefteris Zimianitis, Valeia Tzanetou
Later additions: Giannis Votsis, Eftychia Kiourtidou, Eva Faklari (second cast), Giannis Bogris, Nikolas Stravopodis (third cast)
Dramaturgy: Stathis Grafanakis
Music Composition + Sound Design: Tilemachos Mousas
Set + Costume Design: Aristotelis Karananos & Alexandra Siafkou
Choreography: Valia Papachristou & Christina Sougioultzi
Lighting Design: Adrian Frieling
Stage Management: Lengo Leventi
Assistants to Director: Tomas Diafas, Davydd Cook, Semeli Chaviara
13th International Exhibition Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space: 05.2015
The Hellenic pavilion, Prague, Czech Republic
© Loukas Vasilikos
Standing up we applauded standing on our feet…
We cannot rate this performance – installation, simply because this is a masterpiece!!! […] Elli Papakonstantinou and ODC Ensemble, offered us a superb political spectacle, avant-garde resistance and finally left us with a deep feeling that our skin is the last fortress between us and the system […]
Ariadni Kanavaki | Kulturosupa | 12.02.2013
A powerful experience, ideal for equally intense debates … it’s awesome!
If theatre is an empty space that is meant to be revisited, Papakonstantinou restructures the entire space to match her dramatic concept…
Dimitris Tsatsoulis | Eleftherotypia | 03.06.2013
SKIN, fencing utopia…
Irene Aivaliotou | Cat is Art | 31.01.2013
The skin we used
to live in…
SKIN is a personal comment on the question of “Greekness” and the crisis of western capitalist system, developed as a triptych and is spread over three different areas of an ex-tannery. Elli, intersects these issues not with the precision of a scalpel, but with rough rawness that requires stripping down to one’s nakedness […]
Τonia Karaoglou | ελculture | 28.05.2013
An uncanny painting with familiar touches of horror…
Hobbes’ theory of the autocratic state, D. Solomos’ vision of national sovereignty, Dalai Lama’s teachings, American-style consumerism, anti-capitalist commentary, psychoanalytic approaches, all are brought together in this unique puzzle which gives food for thought and asks to be deciphered […]
Mania Staikou | Click at Life | 23.05.2013
Lived Aesthetics of Crisis and Performance Politics of Discontent
Vyrsodepseio, A Θeatre in Times of Crisis, Elli Papakonstantinou & ODC Ensemble
This work was also created as a site-specific promenade performance largely inspired by the site of Vyrsodepseio, making the most out of existing materials and the building’s multi-layered past uses and functions. The concepts of factory/tannery and product/skin operated on a twofold level, both literally (past) and metaphorically (present). Audiences came across an unnerving contemporary factory where not only human skin, but also civic consciousness, cultural conceptions and constructions were processed.
By turns employing irony, black humour, and existential angst, the performance forced us to reflect on the mechanistic and repetitive nature of work in the industrial societies through to the late capitalist era, with its growing monotony, apathy, and alienation. The performance also served as a reflection on anthropophagia (cannibalism) and the integral transformation of modern life into spectacle. At a conceptual level, there was an interplay of spatialities from the industrial to the national, historic, social and cultural spaces. Spaces were often merged and deconstructed in a critical, violent and grotesque way. Among the issues put forward were the conditions of mechanistic production and reproduction, blocked mourning, fear of freedom of speech, and, above all, the dehumanising cynicism which is typical of all power structures and profit-making schemes.
As with After, the intriguing treatment of space and mobility played a key role in gripping the audience’s imagination: the labyrinthine, rather uncertain route from the outdoor courtyard to the inner building; the site-specific, otherworldly visual installations and the sense of boundless, infinite interior, as well as the audience’s constantly shifting point of view. These were important strategies of disorientation, forging at times a contradictory per-ception of the architectural space as dreamy or nightmarish. This atmospheric merging of the outer and inner performance spaces created a strong impression of converging, as well as conflicting spaces, both personal and collective.
Loosely composed as a modular triptych, the piece had an ex-tended prologue taking place outdoors, followed by more live acts indoors. An underground lake was set up in the flooded space (previously foyer). Spectators were carried across by a boatman on a makeshift floating raft, drifting along past a series of brief visual tableaux that came momentarily alive under the gaze of the spectators. This part was meant as a symbolic entrance to the under-world. The same intense visual and physical approach was maintained throughout the piece, with the main factory area functioning as the allegorical space of embodied “human skin processing.” In the final segment, the space was transformed into a dark circus, a phantasmagoria of acrobatics.
In this nightmarish skin factory spectators became in turn slaughterers and slaughtered, feeding in the ghastly chain of human exploitation. Under the hypnotising musical paroxysm of a Cretan lyre melody (played grunge-style by musician/composer Tilemachos Moussas), the space was transformed into a decadent locus of cultural and spiritual massacre, wherein souls, ideas and artworks, as well as all sorts of stereotypes and national symbols were massacred.
Maria Konomi | Nefeli Editions | 2018