IRREGULAR TEMPORARY INTERACTIONS
I.T.I is a conceptual tool that acts from with-in society and aims to reveal alternative narratives of everyday life, to raise the individual and the collective awareness for social and political issues and to foster the idea of social change. The principles of the method are its own designations: irregularity, temporality and interactivity.
People are born in specific cultural contexts that reflect on specific social and political standards, implying a pre-arranged reality. According to these contexts people learn to follow certain rules and particular social codes of behaviour that underlie, to a great extent, people’s everyday interactions. These social codes of behaviour manifest the ;social borders’, which can be understood as conceptual thresholds between two or more different situations, perceptions or existential levels. For instance, a social border is the different perception on the race, the gender or the language between two people. With I.T.I concept, I attempt to dilate this threshold in order to create a ‘new’ conceptual third space, a hybrid space, that can contain characteristics from both sides and where both sides can co-exist temporarily and/or potentially clash.
The notion of habit is considered thoroughly since it is a factor that shapes people into selves, forms identities, moral virtues and skill traces. The process of habituation involves the notion of memory that makes repetition possible, without necessarily this repetition to mean that it is the same. To this context, I research the memories of the people and of the site and I create an ‘irregular‘ condition for the standards of the specific society in order to question the existing reality and to bring to the forefront social and political issues.
The condition that I create takes the form of an action-performance in which I invite people of the local community, artists and non-artists, to work together and ‘inter-act‘ between each other. My intention to engage a large and variformed group of people, which I call multitude (after Virno), makes it difficult to arrange several meetings and keep people committed, considering that people have their daily jobs and usually cannot spend much time on rehearsals. Thus, I focus on a single action-performance which is performed only once and with no rehearsals, following the canons of performance art of the sixties and of ‘Happenings’. This process results in the emergence of a feeling of ambivalence for the participants which is structured in purpose so as the participants to expose and challenge themselves in an unconditional context but, nevertheless, in a safety environment. In addition, the process reinforces the participant’s feeling of responsibility for the outcome of the performance.
I break the word ‘interaction‘ in two parts: ‘inter‘ and ‘action‘. The prefix ‘inter-‘ means ‘between’, ‘in the midst of’ or ‘reciprocal’ and implies the conceptual area where the social borders are located, within which I invite the participants to ‘act’.
I take the word action as ‘initiation’ that means to begin something anew and which among others Hannah Arendt relates to political action and with the idea of natality that each birth represents. So, I invite the participants to expose themselves in a new and irregular condition and to act perhaps unexpectedly, following a face-to-face format. Considering the digitalization in our era, I see the face-to-face communication as a format that nowadays persistently decreases and needs to retrieve its importance, and as the necessary one that may lead towards the political action. Potentially, the responsibility of the participants for the outcome of the performance can shift to ‘ability to respond‘ to social and political issues.
In practice, the method is based on the three core steps of a ritual (according to Victor Turner): Show-Act-Meet. I translate these three steps in the contemporary life as such: i) I observe specificities of the site of interest such as social, architectural and historical elements which will comprise the scenography of my work. I do an extended research on the specific site engaging the local community aiming to bring to the forefront a specific sociopolitical issue. ii) I invite the people to participate in a performance created on the aftermath of the research, which the participants can shape actively. The performance plays the important role of offering a common experience to the local community, reinforcing the social bonds and preparing the ground for the third phase, that of meeting. iii) I invite the participants to an open discussion so as the people themselves to think alternative approaches on the specific subject of interest and possibly plan future actions. The exposure of the people, the freedom of speech and the possibility for clash between the participants are elements that describe the process of the method.