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Sessions x SPEL: Taking Stock

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Sessions x SPEL: Taking Stock

Sessions X Spel, Photo Demetris Shammas < ul class="td-pulldown-filter-list">

Sessions will open the doors of the State Gallery of Contemporary Art – SPEL for the last time on Saturday, January 27, 2023. For the closure of the series, a film will be screened and the book/catalogue of Sessions will be launched, while an open discussion will be held at 18:00 to take stock of the project.

The book/catalogue attempts to document with photos and texts what happened in SPEL from June to December 2023, day by day. With an introductory note by Peter Eramian, accompanying texts, descriptions, information and photographs of all the happenings from behind the scenes to the stage, it will be available for sale in a limited special edition.

The film was created last December with footage captured by the audience during Sessions x SPEL, and with music recorded in an open improvisation. It will be screened once, starting at 12:00 and finishing at 20:00.

At 18:00, Stavros Karayiannis (performer and academic), Ellada Evangelou (Performance Studies), Ioulita Toumazi (curator), Marina Ashioti (writer/interdisciplinary artist) and Gabriel Koureas (art historian/curator) will take stock of what has been achieved, possibilities for future events, and will discuss some of the criticisms of the events and the concept, in the framework of an open discussion.

'Taking Stock'

During the last six months the space of SPEL, still part of an institutional transition, has been transformed and given a different spatial identity. Sessions, through multiple performances and interventions, opened our consciousness to the queerness of time and space, the power of bodies that don't belong, and the thrill and excitement of intimacies that openly activate our sexed/gendered identifications in the realm of the visual arts. Queering in this instance provided an opening of all identifications and meanings to relational exchanges. Sessions instigated a 'queer commons', a critique of liberal values, establishing as political the very terms through which identity is articulated, thus challenging the highly entrenched heteronormativity of Cypriot society.

Some of the questions that will be addressed are:

  • How do Sessions work within the history of performance in the arts?
  • What does queering space and time bring to the context of Cypriot society?
  • How embodied participation in the performances challenged the perceived relationship of performers and audiences?
  • What kinds of relational exchanges took place?
  • How important is a queer commons in the Cypriot context of ethnic conflict and nationalisms?
  • Drawing from José Esteban Muñoz in positioning the 'commons as a horizon not yet here'—that in fact never has been here in any fixed way—the concept's conceptual power is oriented towards the potentiality of a future in which more might be had by the many rather than by the few. What are these potentialities?
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