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an ancient Greek tragedy of today

Master Project (concept): Image


Then the meta-work
Then the meta-meta-work

In the beginning there was a hero, Homer's the Illiad an the Odyssey, and the eponymous tragedy by Sophocles, Ajax.

Master Project (concept): Text

Ok, who's Ajax (not a cleaning product)

Ajax is one of the Greek heroes who fights in the Trojan war, along with the Atreides, Agamemnon and Menelaus, Achilles, Odysseus, and the lot. Myth wants it so that Ajax kills himself after suffering a great dishonour: he loses the chance (by being voted against) to be gifted with Achilles armour, when the latter dies. Although he was the to one to carry the ex-heroes body on his shoulders back to the Greek army camp, it is decided that Odysseus is the greater hero who should get the armour.

Ajax is furious and swears revenge against the whole Achaian army. But before he can let his wrath loose, Athena prevents the massacre by temporary "blinding" him, (i.e. making him mad.) Instead of letting his murderous act befall the real Greek army, he massively slaughters all the cattle - thinking they are namely all the Danaan generals and heroes. At the break of dawn his sight and reason are returned and, covered in sheep's blood, he realises what he has done. He runs in absolute shame, and sees the only solution to his anguish (not considering neither child nor wife) is suicide - by empaling himself on his sword.

I have always been intrigued by this particular hero and his story, and his own - in my belief still very relevant today - struggles in a sclerosed patriarchal society that only values honour and glory, the horrors of war and PTSD, anxiety, madness, despair/depression, the incapacity to cope with frustration, that absolute feeling of pain and loneliness, etc. Even though it is among the authors' less known classic tragedies.

I wanted to adapt the tragedy by Sophocles, so I began the work conventionally by theoretically (of course) setting it at the Volksbühne's big stage. After stumbling upon many obstacles and difficulties (I just couldn't make it work) I began to experiment and play with the crossing-over of levels of fiction and narratives, of what I was imagining and what was really happening, which made it much more exciting but also made much more sense to me.

Between the presentation of my concept and something that started to be a sort of a performance of it, paralleling what I was explaining of the concept, by engaging the audience's fantasy to imagine that everything I was telling them was also real and actually taking place as I was talking, and "having" the action of the play re-enacted around us as we were, there, within the stage design ateliers of the UdK.

I created for it the model of the Volksbühne's main stage, the model of the UdK's stage design ateliers and rooms, the very which we were in, all the people present (real and fantastical alike) within the room, including myself making the presentation, the model of my presentation within the model of my presentation... 

And so on. I tried to create that bridge between reality and the fictions (and the meta-fictions) we tell ourselves, the things we know and the things that we think we know... It was quite a trip.

Master Project (concept): Text
Master Project (concept): Selected Work

Previously, a part of it adapted for the stage in a performance, Das Kunstraubkabinett at the Ackerstadtpalast in the winter of 2018.

Master Project (concept): Image

Previously the character of Aias appearing in my auto-fictional comic.

Master Project (concept): Feature
Master Project (concept): Quote

"Aiai, who would have thought, that my name would so spell out my fate"

Sophocles, Aias, v. 430-431.

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