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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.

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.

processing process

What do you think about whitehead and process philosophy? why is it that all i do these days is find links between supposedly divergent schools of metaphysics? whitehead was right, the ground of being is creative, it is a process, moving between cause, the idea of it, and the decision to do something with it. And D&G were right as well, that this is the plane of immanence, the realm of the temporal, the experience of time-life is flowing and not spatial and that in this understanding, it “seeks to widen thought to pulpate the unknowable”, and that is fucking great because that is the realm of creativity – pulpating the fucking unknowable. — Why am i annoyed in a little way that people are coming together through fear, what i am i fearing in this? or am i just seeking a field where people come together to fight for freed time and LOVE of co-existence because of that alone. Or do we need the fear of EXTINCTION to move us, or is this just another theatre that will lose its sport because the media is actually the message? Or am I just pissed at the language being used? And that this is actually the fight I have always wanted because it IS about co-existence, but it is wrapped in fearful numbers and statistics because we need science to prove something we know implicitly but deny through seriality?

Solidarity will win!

ΑΝΤΙΣΤΑΣΗ ΣΤΗ ΚΡΑΤΙΚΗ ΚΑΤΑΣΤΟΛΗ

WE STAND AGAINST STATE REPRESSION

Counter-information written collectively by the assembly of squatters in Exarchia, Athens, August 2019

The state and capitalism continues to target the freedom of the social base and appropriate its labour and resources. In recent years we have experienced some the most violent attacks on this freedom through the mass impoverishment of the already oppressed and exploited.

At the same time, a widespread social resistance and solidarity movement has formed. People have created a variety of self-organized spaces such as housing infrastructures, social medical centres, community kitchens, open parks and public spaces. Despite economic and political set-backs, the movement has created a solid social territory and accumulated considerable knowledge and experience. Through squats, political groups, unions, squares and neighborhood assemblies we have formed strong social bonds that are able to criticize society. At times, the movement has had to use counter-violence as means to defend and expand free spaces against state repression, capitalist interests and fascist attacks. It is a movement that grows in diversity and vibrancy, despite the ongoing criminalisation of solidarity and mobility.

In the context of this socio-class conflict, on Monday, 26/8, the state, armed with police forces, seized Exarchia and evicted four squats. Two of these squats were migrant homes – Transito and Sp Trikoupi 17 – from which police captured 144 migrants, uprooting them from their residences for a second time and isolating them in what the state calls detention centers. Evictions were also carried out in an ongoing housing and political squat in Assimaki Fotila and the Gare squat where three arrests were made. Police also invaded the homes of comrades from Gare.

In addition to the squats and the movement itself, this repressive operation is aimed at migrants. They are some of the most oppressed people in society since their very existence is considered illegal. In a state of ‘illegality’, there is no access to health and education, and working conditions are rife with exploitation and subjugation. Many choose self-organisation and solidarity structures in order to survive and resist. Together with local and international solidarity we build communities and claim visibility, posing a direct threat to political and economic power. The solidarity we are building is in contrast to the humanitarian aid of NGO’s that can be seen to manipulate migrants and make money from their problems. Real solidarity is at odds with the ‘humanitarianism’ of the state that covers up deaths at the borders and deflects from the violent conditions at concentration camps. Prisoners do not receive adequate medical care and therefore suffer from potentially fatal diseases. These concentration camps lack basic hygiene, people live with bed bugs and miserable food, and are frequently beaten or raped to force them to flee the Greek and European territory, or commit suicide. Transferring migrants from the squats where they have chosen to live, undermines their dignity and self-determination. The excuse that these camps are safer and healthier is a vicious state lie.

Throughout these years the solidarity movement has responded to migrants’ direct needs and desires. The most important achievement of the movement is that people of different backgrounds have organized into squats and formed collective bodies to create projects that reflect the world of equality and freedom we desire. Squats are free spaces where social relations can be developed free from state control and economic exclusion. These spaces overcome national, gender and other systemic discriminations and respond to basic needs such as housing, breaking out of rent coercion, and wage exploitation. In times of mass forced migration, they offer shelter and hope to thousands of people by making inclusive and active spaces. Squats in collaboration with other grassroots forces defend neighborhoods and public spaces from corporate and political power.

The political agenda of “New Democracy” is a continuation of Syriza’s policy. It aims to transform Exarchia and surrounds into easily exploitable land for local and foreign capital. The result is further exploitation and destruction of the environment and the aggressive gentrification of space that transforms urban neighborhoods into tourist consumption areas, displacing residents and carrying out informal “social cleansing”. The militarisation of public space and the imprisonment of those who are rising up to defend it is essential for implementing this policy and results in the repression of migrants, workers, students, the unemployed, women and queers. Some of “New Democracy’s” first moves were to integrate the correctional system and the immigration ministry under police jurisdiction. At the same time, they hired 1,500 new people to the police force, expanding the state’s repressive army. They further criminalised the means of struggle and abolished university asylum in preparation for the new social class struggles. The struggles that Syriza assimilated and disintegrated paved the way for an even more capable totalitarian state that we saw with the rise of “New Democracy”.

We call on all people of struggle – the rebellious, squatters, collectives and individuals – here and abroad, to join in strengthening efforts towards a common front against police and state repression. Our primary aim is to defend the squats and our social achievements against the state and capital. Don’t let the struggle be assimilated by any regime of power! Let’s expand the already existing self-organised structures and create new ones that escalate with class and social struggles. It is time to crush the repressive forces, to debunk systemic media propaganda, and bring out the truth of the struggle of the oppressed.