Outraged By Pleasure, Nobel Building, Chalandri, GR, 2023
In a letter dated September 29, 1962, writer Nikos Kachtitsis (1926–1970) addresses his friend Epameinondas Ch. Gonatas (1924–2006), writer of O Taxidiotis [The Traveller] (1945), with dismay at the latter’s doubts about the aforementioned debut short story of his:
“...I am stunned by your cruel and dismissive manner vis-à-vis this little masterpiece of yours, which made me outraged by pleasure [exo frenon apo efcharistisi] ... while the entire work is based on the absence of even the slightest plausibility, at no time is the reader not assured that all of this is real.”*
The exhibition and events titled outraged by pleasure start from the ambivalent co-existence of outrage and pleasure in this paradoxical utterance within the sociocultural, literary and political context of its times, and moves on to explore what the phrase may mean in the present and in the future and in relation to the fields of life and art amidst various crises and urgencies.
Outraged by pleasure tries to make sense, with and through all that participates in it, of pleasure in its shapeshifting and multiversality within current “outrageous” circumstances: complex artistic practices, fights and assertions related to gender and sexuality, activist initiatives, communal (re)formations, a tidal turn to conservative politics and the painful fail of progressive ones, a pervading feel of doom-and-gloom induced by the destruction of the natural environment, the rapid reign of immaterial communications and digital economics, the extraordinary normalization of inequalities.
Outraged by pleasure wishes to trace the possibility of another connection to joy, delight, excitement, enjoyment; to imagine into existence the possibility of reclaiming “outrageous pleasure” from the technocapitalist imaginary and its diminishing futurology, from the far right’s macho perversion of wildness, from colonialist-type censorial abuses within woke- culture claims, from all-levelling practices of commoning and institutional appropriations.
Outraged by pleasure wishes to examine the (re)connection of pleasure to post-growth practices of environmental care and social justice; to processes of descaling and mutuality; to reconsiderations of an architecture of enjoyment; to queer approaches of care, generosity, solidarity; to native traditions and anti-colonial movements (such as buen vivir, quilombismo, etc.); to humour as a transformative power of subversion (as this appears in the work of Sara Ahmed and Silvia Federici); to rewilding and the untamed “aesthetics of bewilderment” (Jack Halberstam); to the ecstatic accuracy (found in Kachititsis’s “rabid readings,” in Gonatas’s “literature of subversion,” in the hitherto unknown paintings of pioneer filmmaker Antoinetta Angelidi, in the surrealistic visionary works of Marie Wilson- Valaoritis, in the political aesthetics of Kostas Sfikas’s cinema, in the solitary experience of Thanasis Totsikas’s craftsmanship, in the collectively-developed-over-many-years activism of Teos Romvos and Chara Pelekanou for the salvation of the insular environment); to the complex sense of reciprocity described by Michael Taussig; to the ambiguity of inconvenient objects such as the jumping beans that drove a wedge between Caillois and Breton; to Michel Serres’s “marvellous trampoline”; to the detection of radical futurisms attempted by T. J. Demos; etc.
Outraged by pleasure unfolds in space as a convivial collective study, with the intense physicality, the disquieting mood and unhierachical emergence of the questions it poses: How often do insurrectionary dynamics turn into guilt, or transform into (self-)punitive didacticism, paralyzing grief, numbness, or even neoliberal self-improvement technologies and soft philosophies, in the face of the relentless politics of destruction and the cosmogony that legitimize and prolong them? How do friendship, love, solidarity, radical pedagogy, the perception of multiple shades, the “from the bottom up” demands materialize today,
in the various different contemporary circumstances and possibilities of affirmation, denial, representation? How does the phrase “outraged by pleasure” translate into different linguistic environments and hence different philosophical worldviews or cognitive approaches (e.g. enjoyment, jouissance, etc.), or how could it be perceived beyond the boundaries of language? What might be the stance towards it of independent entities and initiatives of the public sphere (the “dark matter” according to Gregory Sholette)? How can we even perceive “outraged by pleasure” in the more-than-human world?
Outraged by pleasure is conceived, and will attempt to unfold, as a world of many worlds, an oddkin created by all invited people and entities, with or without material characteristics. Invited artists and curators from Greece and abroad co-shape and co-animate its “outraged by pleasure” body in many different directions.
Outraged by pleasure will be held in the half-finished, under-construction “Nobel” building in Chalandri, a space that is associated with both the idiosyncratic desire of its founder George Markou (1946–2017) and, primarily, the resilient persistence of the City of Chalandri to claim its socially and culturally extrovert presence (something that was already marked by the interdisciplinary event “The Forest’s Riddle,” September 2022–January 2023).
Outraged by pleasure is curated by Nadja Argyropoulou and shared by the following artists, art entities, curators:
Antoinetta Angelidi, Patricia Apergi & Aerites Dance Company, Tosh Basco, The Callas (Lakis Ionas & Aris Ionas), Daglara, Sofia Dona, Navine G. Dossos with James Bridle, Georgia Fambris, Family Business, iLiana Fokianaki (with Danae Io, Harun Farocki, Mary Zygouri), FYTA, Ιoanna Gerakidi (with Yianna Charachlianni, Leah Clements, Anna Savvatopoulou), Pinelopi Gerasimou, Hypercomf, Dimitris Ioannou, Xenia Kalpaktsoglou with [Pegy Zali, Sofoklis Koutsourelis, Panagiotis Lianos], Athina Koumparouli, Lito Kattou, Dionisis Kavallieratos, Blaise Kirschner, Katerina Komianou, Konstantinos Ladianos, LALA, Kostas Lambridis, Iris Lykourioti, Irini Miga, Rashaad Newsome, Nionia Films (Maria F. Dolores, Sofia Dona, Alkisti Efthymiou, Smaro Papaevangelou), Malvina Panagiotidi, Aggelos Papadimitriou, Eva Papamargariti, Agnieszka Polska, Filipa Ramos, Teos Romvos & Chara Pelekanou, Kostas Sfikas, Gabriella Simossi, Panos Sklavenitis, Kostis Stafylakis & Theo Triantafyllidis, Nancy Stamatopoulou (with Nicoleta Chatzopoulou, Makis Faros, Tassos Vrettos), Eva Stefani, Valinia Svoronou, Temporary Academy of Arts, Eleni Tomadaki, Thanassis Totsikas, Antigoni Tsagkaropoulou / Bunny, VASKOS (Vassilis Noulas & Kostas Tzimoulis), Marina Velisioti, Nikos Velmos, Hypatia Vourloumis (with Jackie Abhulimen, Eleni Ikoniadou, Maria Sideri, Taka Taka), Iria Vrettou, Rea Walldén, Marie Wilson-Valaoritis (with Zoe Valaoritis & Katerina Valaoritis)
Kostis Stafylakis & Theo Triantafyllidis
The Chamber features the works Readiness: Civil War (2022) and Mutants of Readiness: director’s cut (2021) alongside the Readiness Eggstead, Operator’s Control Board, Pig snouts, Weapons, and other artifacts from the Readiness universe.
Readiness: Civil War (2022) is the latest episode in the Readiness SAGA, a serialized simulation of social conflict in the US. Kostis Stafylakis and Theo Triantafyllidis -alongside a shifting synthesis of collaborators- tailor real and fictional identities and scenarios to a fantasy world made of colorful salvage. By role-playing the pending scenarios of an American Civil War, the Readiness SAGA forecasted situations that awkwardly resemble the dramatic January 2021 incidents at the American Capitol. The Readiness SAGA narrates a conflict between the “Preppers” (doomsday enthusiasts who marshal for the “end of the world as we know it”), the “Boogaloo Bois” (Civil War accelerationists, flexing tactical gear and Hawaiian shirts), and the “Golden Horde” (the alleged criminal horde of the unprepared citizens featured in preppers’ jargon and literature).
In Readiness: Civil War, the machinic vision of an AI called Pascale processes filmed footage showing an unknown group roleplaying an epic battle between three clans: the Preppers, the Golden Horde, and the Boogaloo Bois. This footage was filmed during a chamber Live Action Role-Playing session (Readiness the LARP) that took place in Athens (October 2020), a few months prior to the attack on the American Capitol.
Alongside Readiness: Civil War, Stafylakis and Triantafyllidis present Mutants of Readiness: Director’s Cut, a live-stream performance featuring two mutated Preppers, PIGGO and GUSTAVE, stuck inside their armored egg-shaped homestead, controlled by Pascale’s AI. They receive a transmission by JAUSH (impersonated by Joshua Citarella), an expert on security and prepping affairs, who evaluates their level of preparedness. The video was edited by Eleni Korda.
Readiness: Civil War video was powered by Onassis Foundation and was realized with the participation of Vasilis Bakalis, Stathis Chalkias, Alexis Fidetzis, Sotiris Fokeas, Christos Fousekis, Marilia Kaisar, Kosmas Kosmopoulos, Markella Ksilogiannopoulou, Anna Samara, Lia Smaragda, Kostis Stafylakis, Theo Triantafyllidis, Savvas Tsimouris, Vassilis Vlastaras, Poka-Yio. Editing: Chris Bourelias
Pig snouts appearing in the Chamber modeled and 3D printed by Konstantinos Lianos.