To Host

Evangelia Dimitrakopoulou

23 August 2019

6-9pm (one day only event)

The Change Room

How do we deal with organisms and strangers? Are we the hosts or are we being hosted? Based on the word Hostis and its ambiguity (in Latin means both “enemy” and “friend”), the artist is proposing an installation revolving around the idea of the Other and the total acceptance of Him. This Other can vary from the Stranger, Nature or an existence which is different in totality.

In “We have never been modern”, Latour speaks of humanity’s generalised tendency of objectifying its world, which has lead to a distance between Us and our surroundings (we see the Ozone hole as an object which does not affect us in an immediate way, it is even more difficult of perceiving our immediate connection with our world and furthering our environmental attitude).

To host is to receive guests, host is the carrier of another organism, the host is part of the ritual of the holy communion. In the holy communion or Eucharistic there is a fusion with “God”, with the Other, a sort of transcendental sex which leads to ecstasy, such as the one of Teresa of Avila. The Other is the subject of amorous discourse. “I” become myself by swallowing the Other. It is the beaten body of the deity, an act of oral gratification, a complete welcome of the Other even in the smallest cavities of the flesh. I identify with the Other through the orality of it, and I have no idea how this Other came to being. This incoming ecstasy from the encounter of this Stranger is a matter of the positive and the negative, of jouissance and extreme pain, always the two together or alternating. Through consumption, the Other is inhabiting the whole body, touching, feeling the outside and the inside. Liquid is the signifier of the link between the soul and the divine, between the receiver and the Other, liquid links as a thread moving from the mouth, to the oesophagus, stomach and bowels. Through the consumption of the Eucharist, I become a garden, a fertile soil for the Other to settle. Liquid represents the space and time of body to body contact, the co-presence and co-penetration which makes being a living being. The other becomes a nutrient element that nourishes, intoxicates, that touches the subject and that the subject touches as well. The new self loves the Other, this self absorbs the Other who in turn absorbs the self.

This installation portrays an act of hostipitality (hostility and hospitality), where the viewer will be able to connect with an Otherness through a ritual similar to that of the Holy Communion.

Booklet handout (*interview with artist Evangelia Dimitrakopoulou enclosed)

About the artist

Evangelia Dimitrakopoulou is a Greek artist based in London. Borrowing elements from architecture (such as barricades, protective talismans, thresholds) and the digital, religious and fantasy worlds (cosmic horror forms, video game monsters, liquified entities and eucharist rituals), Dimitrakopoulou's approach is towards a general idea of Otherness and alienation. Her research revolves around the notion of difference, be it sexual, racial or political, and our inherent and everchanging fear of it. Ιt shapes an abstract form which can be described only by proximity. The asymptote is closer to the fear of the Unknown. The artist creates a sense of intense control, submission and sharpness.

Our time is one of constant dread often enlarged due to political interests, while surveillance is ever-present. Upon a meeting with the Other, perception is enlarged creating a temporary space of endless possibilities. The way we treat the inanimate world and objects of Otherness has mostly been a practice of conquering, collecting and taxonomizing. With the use of contradictive materials and symbols, Evangelia reaches towards a moment when things can mostly be felt. How does one navigate the unknown? It is a powerful way of losing control.

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