Workshop of Performative Poetics: Introduction and Presentation

Workshop of Performative Poetics: Introduction and Presentation

Exercise with words during the Workshop of Performative Poetics
Photo by Eva Giannakopoulou




Ξένος εδώ, ξένος εκεί, όπου και αν πάγω ξένος
δημοτικό τραγούδι

La pensée se fait dans la bouche
Tristan Tzara

In tune with our research focus on “other Antigones,” that is to say, towards its alternative, migratory, decolonial, transportable and transformational performative legacies, and paying particular attention to the figure of Antigone as a stranger in Oedipus at Colonus, the workshop explores multileveled experiences of foreignness, displacement, exclusion, mourning, and border-crossing in contemporary Athens through a creative engagement with performative poetics.

Based at the multilingual library “We need books” in the diverse neighborhood of Kypseli, the workshop brings together around ten participants from different linguistic (French, English, Arabic, Greek-Cypriot, Aethiopian, Spanish, Swahili, Farsi, Zulu, Greek) and professional backgrounds (actors, writers, directors, visual artists, spoken word poets, translators, psychologists, interpreters, librarians, educators). Using Greek (but also occasionally French, Spanish, and Arabic) as the main language(s) of communication—simultaneous interpretation is an integral part of the process—the workshop elaborates on the gaps and ruptures between dominant language(s) and other mother tongues, in order to engage with the condition of “not knowing” a language not as a correctable defect but as a poetic potential which is essential to minor literature (Deleuze 1986).

Through a selective combination of practices deriving from experimental poetry, creative writing, and extended voice techniques, but also through collective reading, open discussions, and mutual translation, the workshop explores selected material investigated throughout the research project (fragments of texts, films, performances etc.), together with the participants’ own contributions and oral archives (poems, songs, stories, vocal improvisations etc.). Given the measures related to the current pandemic, the workshop has been strongly focused on words and on their performative potential. Exploring language as an untranslatable, sonic material—inspired by Antigone’s own “birdy scream”—and foregrounding heteroglossia (Carlson 2006), the participants are invited to co-create a multivocal/multilingual text that will hopefully lead to a live performance-poetry event to be shared during the symposium of the Centre of Border-Crossing Acts.

The workshop consisted of twelve 3-hour meetings, divided in three distinctive circles. A certain number of workshop meetings were filmed and edited by a professional visual artist. In collaboration with the workshop participants, the research team will disseminate selected material resulting from the Workshop on the Website (including textual and video documentation).

After the completion of the workshop, the participants gave an open presentation of the generated material and process to a selected number of spectators (see audio file available below).