27-03-2014: Miriam Simun / Squeezing Out Every Last Drop


The Non-Profit cultural organization Pantheon and Gerasimos Kappatos present the third season of the programme Art Professionals-In-Athens Residency, which is centred upon the production and exhibition of new work by American performer, Miriam Simun.The third resident of the programme Art Professionals-In-Athens Residency, Miriam Simun, is in Athens since the beginning of March and creates the series Three Rituals for the Eco-City, which is based on the rituals of «mourning», «cleaning» and «eating».

Rituals are among the first symbols of culture, often used to perform the human experience of ecological processes, such as birth and death; eating and drinking; markers of time whether passing to adulthood or the change of seasons. Simun is interested in exploring the relationship between ecology, human ritual (and the ideology and culture it signifies), and the performance of multi-species bodies in urban space.

For Three Rituals for the Eco-City, each ritual proposes a way of being in the world that challenges our conceptions of what it means to ‘live ecologically' and to build and participate in ‘eco-cities'. Building on recent work by Bruno Latour, Timothy Morton, and Slavoj Zizek, these rituals reject the concept of ‘nature' in favor of a more holistic understanding of ecology. According to this thinking, whether or not we accept 'nature' as inextricably linked to ourselves, the very conceptualization of ‘nature' positions ecological forces in opposition to the human and human-built ‘civilization'. ‘Nature' is thus positioned as something other than human. Three Rituals for the Eco-City takes a systemic approach to viewing the natural world, understanding the human species (including human industry, artifice and pollution) as a fundamental part of the global ecological system.

Three Rituals for the Eco-City imagines three daily personal rituals for a world without nature. Three rituals - intimate and personal activities - are re-imagined as bodily performances that not only perform their human function but address the actions' greater ramifications on the ecological system within which they reside. Thus the ritual incorporates action/performance, meaning/symbol, and reflection/re-action, displaying an intentionality and corporeality towards not only the human action but a redress to its ecological effect.

During the course of the residency Miriam performs and documents each ritual. Each ritual will involve an object, a performance, and will result in a video piece. The ritual object serves a functional purpose for the action, existing as a physical connection between the human body that performs, and the other urban bodies that are cared for, during the ritual performance. Some performances may include participation of invited audience or passers-by. Each piece will perform a ritual for living in the new eco-city: a ritual for eating, a ritual for cleaning, and a ritual for mourning.

A ritual for mourning: This is a performance developed in New York, that will be adapted for an Athenian context. The urban mourning ritual is re-imagined through an exercise regimen that cares for the living human body and monitors other species' living bodies while attending to the memory of the dead. Understanding the city cemetery to be a biodiversity hotspot in urban areas, mourners wear video-headbands in a regimen that combines regular exercise, memory, and monitoring of local biodiversity levels. The ritual object is the video-headband, modeled after the sport headband used to collect sweat, but with the addition of video camera to collect images of, and thus monitor, the surrounding species. I will create new video-headbands during the residency (NYC versions already exist), and document this performance in an Athenian cemetery.

A ritual for cleaning: This performance will be further developed and performed during the residency. In ancient Athens, the cleaning ritual was an important social activity in addition to a personal bodily practice. In 3 Rituals for the Eco-city, the bodily cleaning ritual is re-imagined to once again include a multi-species social function. Incorporating not only the fresh water we use to clean our bodies, this ritual makes use of our bodies also to dispose of the used (grey) water in a way that feeds the greater ecological system. How do we maintain our bodies while maintaining the bodies of the others around us? This performance begins in the shower and ends in the street. The ritual object is a water sack that turns the human body into a watering can. Used water collected during the shower is later carried in the street by the clean body, to be distributed to plants within the city through bodily exercises that turn the human body upside down. The ritual ‘watering' exercises will be developed during the residency. One example might be standing on the head or the hands in places where plants are growing, tipping the water sack so some water is poured on the ground, and thus ‘feeding' urban plant bodies with water collected during the cleaning of the human body.

A ritual for eating: This ritual will be developed during the residency. I would like to spend some time doing research into the rituals of the Symposium and the Syssitia, as well of the Orphicist and Pythagorean religions, and compare them with contemporary rituals of Athenians eating in public spaces and in the street. From this research I will create an ‘eating in public' ritual, also with the incorporation of a ritual object.

Art Professionals in Athens Residency
Programme Coordinator: Sozita Goudouna
Programme Associate: Evangelia Ledaki
For more information: 2103217931, 6978487090
Start date: 27 Mar 2014
End date: 3 May 2014
Venue: Art Professionals In Athens Residency
Miriam Simun / Squeezing Out Every Last Drop
Exhibition duration: 27/3/14 - 3/5/14 8pm-11pm, Opening: Thursday 27/3/14
Athinas 12, Monastiraki, 105 54 Athens
Τ: 210 3217931, 6932463131
F: 210 3212745
Ε: [email protected] / [email protected]
Art Residency website: http://artprofessionalsinathens.wordpress.com/
Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday 12-8pm, Saturday 12-4pm

Thu, 27/03/2014 - 14:25 - Sat, 03/05/2014 - 23:00


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