Arbitrary Distinction: Performance, Palazzo Bembo, Venezia 2019

Performance monologue Part 1
Performance monologue Part 2

Arbitrary Distinction: trinacreation, mark 1
Medium: artist’s body, tattoo & tattooist, wall drawing, video stills with snail, lecture
Artist: Dario Vacirca, 2019
Created with: Marco & Sueli from Under the Skin, Nithya & Vlad, Frankl the snail

…the work is also a response to a series of tattoo based art interventions by Santiago Sierra. In one of these works he paid drug addicted prostitutes the equivalent of a shot of heroin to have a line permanently marked across their backs, in another he sought out a stranger who had no tattoos or a desire for one, but due to poverty was willing to be paid $50 to get a line tattooed across their back. In all of Sierra’s works he centres himself in the position of exploiter to show the extreme and everyday labour the poor need to go to survive capitalism. His work exposes the heart of the capitalist exchange – exploitation that affects the lives of the exploited for their whole life.

In this work we are doing today I am interested in continuing this mark and critical logic BUT instead of exploiting another body I am turning the pain and the marking back onto my own body. I am entrusting a stranger to make this mark, to create a spell upon the other side of me.

The piece is called Arbitrary Distinction. The line that is drawn becomes an arbitrary decision between: what is above and what is below; what is valued, and what is not; what is art, and what is not; who we think we are because of who we think we are not; what is alive, and what is considered dead; up and down; in and out; bla and blah. These distinctions are not real, but the mark we make is affective. It is what we construct and keep as the real.

There are other layers to this work, including the reason to have a snail ‘design’ the tattoo which is also a variation of the baseline of the trinacria, the geographical shape of Sicily, my father’s homeland, which following his migration, and after growing up in a foreign land, away from my ancestral / dead, and their language – I do not know.

Molluscs are travelers, they need to move, on one foot. Most molluscs in Venice arrived from the Red Sea in the great Lessepsian migration that resulted from the creation of the Suez Canal.

Humans are like molluscs, we move, we migrate, we re-form, we discard our houses and live in others. It is natural. Open the borders. Share your houses. Solidarity to those on the move, displaced, or seeking asylum.

Frankl, the tattoo designer

This performance was part of the Venetian Blind Project, by the Public Art Commission, Deakin University. Venetian Blind is part of the Personal Structures (Identity) exhibition at the Palazzo Bembo site, an exhibition by the European Cultural Commission for the Venice Biennale 2019.

1 thought on “Arbitrary Distinction: Performance, Palazzo Bembo, Venezia 2019

  1. Pingback: Arbitrary Distinction – venetian shards

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