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Saturday March 16 | Session 13:15 - 14:45 (20 min) University Theatre Building | University Theatre


Sylvia Solakidi: I have a background in visual and performing arts (BA Art Theory and Art History, Athens School of Fine Arts, Greece; MA Theatre and Performance Studies, King’s College London, UK). I am at the third year of a TECHNE-funded PhD (University of Surrey, UK, Supervisor: Dr Laura Cull) in the field of Performance Philosophy. My research focuses on temporal experiences in durational theatre and performance, explored through the concepts of contemporaneity and presence. Research papers on Jan Fabre’s theatre and visual art are in print for Platform Postgraduate Journal, Antennae Journal of Nature in Visual Culture and Performance Research.
When Jan Fabre performed in Leopold Museum wearing donkey ears of school punishment, he stated for 45 minutes why he is a mistake and kissed for 45 minutes the curator of his Viennese gallerist. Shortly after recent #MeToo allegations against him, the video of this performance was temporarily removed from a Flemish exhibition.

I discuss the kissing artist as pharmakon (remedy and poison in Derrida and Fabre’s diaries), as well as pharmakos (scapegoat) of the artworld, through my mistake: I misheard ‘I am a mistake’ for ‘I will escape’. Based on Fabre’s 1984 interpretation of Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, with art institutions being prisons and artists-prisoners escaping when defending the vulnerability of existence, the performance is approached as a Foucauldian undertake of freedom.

In the museum-prison’s panopticon, the scapegoat artist repeatedly performs his punishment as a public spectacle of the preceding, transitional period, between torture and prison, until he pairs the words ‘mistake’ and ‘kiss’ and transforms punishment into sexuality as pharmakon of defence and attack. Based on the Foucault-influenced novelist-philosopher Connie Palmen, the kiss of love and treason becomes a quest for offered identity (Drama of Dependence1) and knowledge (You say so1), respectively, and negotiates the artworld’s scapegoat strategies through relations in the panopticon. If gazes are withdrawn from Fabre’s live or recorded performance, he becomes an invisible scapegoat. If his pharmakon kiss is tolerated, he escapes the rules of artworld by intertwining with gazing spectators, who escape from regulated museum experience. Finally, I escape my scholarly discipline by stepping into Fabre’s mistake and reperforming it as a pharmakon for scholarship.
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