Drawing material from the essay “Nomadic Thought” by Jill Deleuze, his theory of deterritorialization ) and with references to the Palestinian liberation struggle, the choreographer Spyros Kouvaras, with his new work “Rhizome (Requiem for the non-place)” creates an intermediate non-place, in the Archaeological Site of Delphi. In a post-apocalyptic environment, in which elements of primitivism, memory and fantasy interact, the choreographer approaches the body not as a prisoner of the place where he lives but as a nomad wandering between ideas. The project is part of the program of the institution “All Greece a Culture” of the Ministry of Culture and Sports.
How did the idea for the show come about?
The idea existed long ago since I was working on problems around the concepts of non-place, habitation and territorial boundaries. However, I do not work on my works only on the basis of an idea but also on the basis of their form, image and architectural presentation framework. So when I was assigned the site of Delphi, the first thing I thought about was how I could create a spatial “opening” of the archaeological site and reconnect it with the modern body and the wider natural environment of Delphi. Thus, with RIZOMA (Requiem for the non-place), I would say a space-time palimpsest emerged in which elements of primitiveness, memory and fantasy interact.
How do you combine Deleuze's essay with de-denationalization and the Palestinians?
Deleuze associates de-denationalization with the positive force associated with life and freedom. He writes about the moments when we have the opportunity to feel really alive, as wandering nomads, in unstable places and places, which do not limit us, but open new possibilities before us. So he talks about denationalization as a personal choice. On the other hand, the Palestinian people have been experiencing denationalization for many decades in a different light, that of violent coercion rather than choice. This is an essential difference, with a common reference in both cases, the notion of non-location or intermediate space if you will. In the very concept of de-denationalization there is a duality, which I am interested in approaching through my work in Delphi.
How does the archaeological site of Delphi fit into the representation?
Examining memory and its mechanisms I do not try to mention the story but to act intervening and engage critically with it. I am interested in the approach to the concept of historicity as something that is constantly changing depending on the subject and the conditions under which it is activated. Creating a contemporary work in a space of significant historical or cultural significance is in itself a challenge. I am certainly not the artist who will be called upon to create a work in such a space praising him or our ancient heritage. You know, the place of Delphi is as important as history in general. In the wider archeological site, apart from the temple of Apollo, the ancient theater, the Castalia spring and other monuments, there are also the Phaedriades stones for example, which were the place of execution of the oracles of the Oracle. Personally, I am particularly interested in this side of the story, that of the profane, the cursed and the losers.
Dancing for such charged issues and in a special environment, what emotions it arouses in you ;
There is definitely an intense charge, even rehearsing there, we felt it from the first time we went. At the same time, I believe that the project itself becomes stronger every time we are in its presentation space. Gradually a magnetic coexistence has begun to be cultivated between the dancers, the musical composition and the space and this coexistence is ultimately what activates the emotional world of each of us. It is not the space itself as the work itself is not. It is this “conversation” between modern and classical that creates the dynamics of the whole project.
The spectators who will be in the show, what elements do you want to receive from your dance?
My intention is to place these bodies, these figures, as “invaders” in the archaeological site of Delphi and through the interaction of movement, image and sound, to cause a spatial vibration and a reinterpretation of the monumental space. Essentially, the choreography, through its coexistence with the archaeological findings, creates a new landmark in the very space of Delphi and submits during the performance an internal, subjective flow of the sense of time to the viewer which causes a reflective experience. This timeless shift that takes place, cultivates I would say – in a way – a new, second flow inside the consciousness, thus penetrating into the depths of the memory and imagination of the public.
You with what elements do you feel that you are “rooted”?
With my childhood. That is, as close as possible to the utopia that I seek and dream through in my life and work.
Delphi, 4 and 5 August on 35. 21. The events are offered free of charge by the Ministry of Culture and Sports. The only price is the ticket for the entrance to any place, where there is. Reservation is mandatory. For more information consult the website: https://digitalculture.gov.gr/