Destroy Athens by Theophilos Tramboulis

The multi-faceted arrangement of Stefanos Tsivopoulos’ video installations-—from the selection of actors and the mise-en-scène instructions to the texts and the final presentation of projections-—constitute narrative webs that never develop into linear stories, setting questions on the mechanisms of re-enactment of reality and the abilities of memory.

Although his works do not actually have explicit political themes, the fragmented, encased (mise-en-abyme) levels of reading indicate the primarily political character of representation leading the spectator to a course of reconsideration and exploration of all levels of political annotations. On Actors, 2004 he places the actors in a suffocating enclosed military ward and asks them to improvise on the theme of military life. He then records their improvisations, in fact their gradual identification with their new roles, which as if in a contemporary reproduction of Milgram’s experiment leads them to a borderline violent and suggestively homosexual fight for power. The display of the artwork-—two levels of projection reproducing the television studio depth of view-—transforms the procedure of the identification of the actors with their roles into a mechanism of exposure of the viewer to the political conditions of his own identification with the heroes of the spectacle and objects of his/her own television-voyeurism.

On Untitled (The Remake), 2007 with which he participates in the 1st Athens Biennale, Tsivopoulos turns to archive material from the years of the 1967 dictatorship and the early years of Greek State Television. He organises the artwork on three levels:

On the first level he employs material from the official celebrations of the Colonels and festivities in the Athens Marble Stadium. On a second level he shoots the technical equipment then used in the Hellenic Radio television (ERT) studios for the production of news bulletins. Finally, on a third level he elaborates on some sequences that have been saved from the rehearsals of news bulletin broadcasters of the period and stages a precise appropriation with the use of actors. Such a triple structure attributes multiple meanings to the title: Remake. On one hand it is a rethinking on the possibility of the reconstruction of reality and the fundamental role technique plays in this process. On the other, it is a comment on the propaganda mechanisms of the regime and the reversed, from the supposedly existing, association between reality and its documentation in the news. What is more, the title Remake highlights the deep roots of contemporary political, television discourse in the typology, clichés and ideologies of the dictatorship era.

Theophilos Tramboulis from the catalogue Destroy Athens 1st Athens Biennial