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Performing Prometheus: the Dramatic Interpreter

Presented on Thursday 16 February 2006,  7pm

at Hellenic Centre, London

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A performance art project by Christos Prossylis, featuring a talk on the human dilemma, Divided Selves or Thank You, R D, by Professor Ernesto Spinelli, Senior Fellow, School of Psychotherapy and Counselling, Regent's College. Improvised interpretations of short excerpts from ancient Greek drama will accompany the lecture, which will be delivered amidst ambient sound and video projections created with the use of cutting-edge technologies. Curated by Evi Baniotopoulou.

 

Divided Selves or Thank You, R D 

R D Laing (1927-1989) was, and remains, one of the most brilliant and radical thinkers on the human dilemma. As a psychiatrist, he challenged his profession to re-think its stance on mental illness so that, rather than being predominantly a biological disease, the disturbed and disturbing symptoms and behaviours being manifested could be reconsidered as meaningful expressions of interpersonal ‘dis-ease’.

This brief talk introduces some of Laing’s key ideas and links them to the wider experience of ‘dis-ease’ shared by us all.

Prof. Ernesto Spinelli

The adventure of a system in the making

The project forms part of the artist’s long-standing and ongoing preoccupation with innovative ways of expression through art. Prossylis has for years stretched the boundaries of performance and digital art and film/stage directing and is now venturing into a new field of research, exploring existing systems of knowledge transfer and communication.

Academic lecturing is one such system.  A lecturer lives and works within an established social system of codes and signs, which is, however, constantly personalised by him or her. Lecturers send their messages across both from within a system and as individuals. They are, in a sense, performers who act according to directing, but also make their own particular interpretations. This complex semiotic system is taken up as an example by the artist, who uses a number of ‘catalysts’ –other established systems, in this case ancient drama and myth- to initially unpack and highlight the particulars of the semiotics of academic lecturing. He then eventually re-synthesizes everything into a new whole that is a combination of the above in the form of artistic creation. Prossylis’s experimentation is facilitated and enriched by the use of cutting-edge new technologies, which enable him to both improvise and create a unique aesthetic experience, while exploring the elements of a new ‘system’ in the making. The title of the project reflects its main parameters, namely the contribution of the academic lecturer to knowledge and a furthering of thought as a parallel to the mythical hero’s Prometheus’s contribution to the enlightenment and empowerment of the human kind.

With this experiment Prossylis seeks to define a new expressive means for himself as a director, which he will elaborate through a series of similar performances, with the participation of different lecturers exploring different themes. At the same time, the artist offers a wide audience an opportunity to question established systems and participate in the creation of new ones, which reflect contemporary thought and behaviour. Prossylis also finds here an opportunity for an in-depth exploration of his role as the artist-manager/administrator of pre-existing ‘materials’, in this case people, systems, situations and technological possibilities.

Evi Baniotopoulou

Prof. Ernesto Spinelli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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