“The Silence of the Monkeys
With this performance the artist Evangelia Basdekis is trying to close the gap between the narratives about human and nature.
Nature’s representation in Western culture is being done by the construction and the subsequent use of stereotypes, in the creation and processing of which fine arts have helped a lot (or the role of the arts has not to be underestimated). The most common stereotypes are those of nature as an inexhaustible source of food, wealth, but also as a nostalgia of the wild and primitive or as a romanticized background for the human activity.
At the performance seeds of various plants necessary in our diet are planted into the hair of the artist to grow by her care using her as host. The performer consciously decides to dispose her temperature, sweat, time and space for the purpose of the development of the seeds. As a result, the artist’s body is being marginalized-isolated, cannot work, participate in social activities, cannot eventually participate in simple, everyday events, around which she has organized her daily routine of her life. The idea of abstinence from this previous life in order for the seeds to grow cannot be a product of obligation. This (rebellious) body cancels habits and actions, negates priorities.
Artist has no intention of creating a metaphor or allegory of nature in this performance. She neither aims (in the representation of a mystical) a ritual as a shaman healer artist alike nor make references to cultural products. She does not make a sociology using here the artist’s body as the ultimate refuge of survival, as the only place for the seeds’ development in crisis conditions.
On the contrary, the artist considers that there is an urgent need to break free from any kind of theoretical references, schools and academic approaches of ecology and of the need to protect the natural environment and that everyone has to take reponsibility as part of his/her own lived everyday routine.
Artist seeks the reappearance of the ties between two seemingly distant worlds, that of human and that f nature. She tries to remind us that the distance between them is constructed. She overemphasizes with this performance an unbreakable bond which, perhaps, has never been disrupted.
It is an effort of “de-conceptualization” of nature and the purpose of “representation” itself and it poses the question whether another contract between nature and intellect could be achieved beyond any notion of catechism (indoctrination).