Video Lecture -Performance Vassiliea Stylianidou
The work 'WordMord' by the artist Vassiliea Stylianidou is a video performance that focuses on two instances of public violence, misogyny, and homophobia. Stylianidou explores the relationship between public space, violence, and the gendered body as well as the ways that artistic practice can address and critically examine the dominant narratives that develop and circulate during extreme events.
The inhuman lynching and murder of the LGBTQI activist Zak Kostopoulos (Zackie O') happened in public view in the center of Athens in September 2018. A few weeks later the young student Eleni Topaloudi was raped and murdered by two men on the island of Rhodes. These two murders did not just happen in temporal proximity but they also express the symptom that confirms the vulnerability of specific -targeted- bodies in the public space, seeing as bodies without a protective tissue.
Stylianidou's 'WordMord' emerged as part of the seminar 'Feminist Practices in the Public Space at the Era of Globalised Technologies', organized by the Centre in the winter-spring term of 2019. The artist invited the seminar participants to a collective and personal experience where they were asked to touch and feel their mobile phones: the surface, weight, temperature, the materiality of the device. Through this invitation and the artist's guidance, the participants re-enacted the experience of a mediated event through sensing their devices.
This re-enactment was seen as a way to experience the role of networked devices in the way we receive facts and events in an affective way, as well as how we experience the circulation of images and speech related to violent, misogynist* incidents. This collective gesture, which was recorded by some of the participants, acted as the starting point for'WordMord', also suggesting an unconventional process of artistic production.