Reciprocity? (Demosthenes Agrafiotis)

The performance entitled “reciprocity?” had a” prophetic” character as it has been implemented before 2010 in Greece, France, Japan … and turned to explore the fragility of human relationships, the uncertainty of human exchanges. The elation or the paroxysm of them are the clearest proof of the crisis, that it followed and it dominates today. In other words, in a period of ‘fake’ euphoria, my performance seeks to show how human interactions are more complex and more complicated than expected from economic theories or pseudo- theories of human behavior. Although at the end, an economic turmoil is enough to demonstrate the paucity of economic rationality. The apotheosis of paradox! The same performance tries to explore how a simplistic conception of reciprocity in individual and collective life, can lead to a kind of neglect, even a misunderstanding that is to say, towards  the first  phase of a crisis, and  how this  misconception  begins to disintegrate, it pushes (finally) an  unlimited cruelty to emerge. The “non-reciprocity?” operates as a micro-laboratory of “controlled crisis “not only for current crisis but also for future ones.

I put on the table 24 objects (24 is the number of letters of the Greek alphabet). A video camera follows me arranging the objects. The image from the video is projected on a wide screen. I invite the audience to exchange one object of his with one objet of the table. Therefore, on the table we have 24 objects throughout the entire performance. When the exchange stops, I turn down the table and I destroy the objects with my shoes. My shoes are black and white, a reference to Fred Astaire (the American actor and dancer) and to the sandals (golden) of Empedocles. In the meantime, the camera is put forward to the image that I have created with my 24 objects-situation just before the exchange. I arrange the table and the white tablecloth which is covering it. I put my hands on the table and I say “Reciprocity?” in Greek, English and French. The image on the screen remains immobile, showing the 24 initial objects of mine.

The performance is an essay on the human relations, the difficult achievement of reciprocity between human beings. The question “if the interaction between humans is always deficient” is answered in its ambiguity. In addition, the same performance is a work on the art of performance itself, that is to say the illusion of reciprocity between the performer and the audience.

Demosthenes Agrafiotis

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