a curtain of smoke / marble and glass, 2010

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A Curtain of Smoke / Marble and Glass, 2010
in collaboration with Pedro Neves Marques
installation / performance
Glass, iron, plaster sculpture, 2 temporized slide projections, plywood plinths, text, xerox prints, vinyl on wall.
20 minute performance for 2 actors (Pedro Simões and Vitor de Andrande) on September the 28th 2010, 8 pm.
installation view: Uma Cortina de Fumo / Mármore e Vidro, Museu da Electricidade, Lisbon.


Resulting from an afternoon spent sitting in conversation at the top of Delphi (Greece) and then down below at the Tholos, the work “A curtain of smoke/ marble and glass – on the afterlife of bureaucracy” takes the shape of an individual performance, oral and written text, and imagery. A large darkened glass with a small hole at mouth level hangs dividing the gallery room. One side of the room remains emptied while on the opposite walls an humble image hangs depicting the omphalus: the center of the Greek world. The performance plays on the used side of the room/ glass, with the performer standing near to the hole in the glass while delivering an oral account written by both artists.
On approaching the bureaucratic system of the oracle at Delphi – the methods of engagement between divine abstraction, the Sybil priestess and man – a synapses is made with modern state bureaucracy. In between one and the other: a performative speech occurs (between the rhetorical and the hallucinatory), in which abstraction defines civilization and with it specific but nevertheless common models of interaction between man and metaphysics, body and law, human rights and human duties. Furthermore, if for ancient Greece the event of oracular pronunciation was already singular
- man stood alone and chosen by the community.
To receive the words – modern state individualizes everyone as capable of listening to abstraction autonomously. The set and mediated dialogue between abstraction and man – exchanged the priestess by the bureaucratic counter – remains nevertheless mythological. It is in this sense that a double voyage occurs: traveling to Delphi in order to live the temporal synapses between mythological times; and to transverse the glass in the projection of speaking in dialogue with abstraction. An account is made.
Bering based on a research trip to Greece, The performance traces parallels between the structure of the oracle and recent events in contemporary greek politics.

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