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oO – Pages floating like life and plankton

Five team members of the Lithuanian-Cypriot Pavilion of the 55th Venice Biennale surf through Natalie Yiaxi’s “GUIDE BoOk” (2013)

With Phanos Kyriacou, Gabriel Lester, Raimundas Malašauskas, Constantinos Taliotis and Natalie Yiaxi

Natalie Yiaxi: GUIDE BoOk, 2013

Natalie Yiaxi: GUIDE BoOk, 2013

Natalie Yiaxi: GUIDE BoOk, 2013

The Lithuanian-Cypriot Pavilion, open from June 1st till November 24th, is located at the Palasport ”Giobatta Gianquinto“, which opened in 1977 to serve as a sport activity center for locals. When I entered the Palazzetto I was immediately struck by Natalie Yiaxi’s floating “GUIDE BoOk”; a couple of paper stacks lying out on two of the building’s wide floors. These centerpieces comprise twenty-nine black-and-white copies carrying beautifully humorous images, digitally produced drawings, diagrams, definitions, legends and short texts. Very soon it occurred to me that Yiaxi’s para-catalogue may disclose a unique chance to experience the concept of this site-specific and processual exhibition project claiming oO becoming Oo and oo. Her pictorial atlas of compressed and dispersed, “microscopic and telescopic” correspondences contains images and quotes rooted in art history, philosophy, molecular biology, physics, astrology, poetry as well as sports taken from her private archive, pop culture and the media. Yiaxi’s “Guide BoOk”, like most of the artworks of this pavilion, is displayed nonchalantly in the hallway of this rough building. Its pages are explicitly on disposal, waiting to be ignored, picked up, consumed, thrown away or stored in the ISBN labeled envelope by visitors or athletes. It draws connections to the artworks created by all the other participating artists through her research of their ideas and plans for the exhibition. The curator of the Lithuanian-Cypriot Pavilion, Raimundas Malašauskas, arranged for the sport courses to continue for the duration of the exhibition. He describes Yiaxi’s printed collection as a “sequencer which generates orders of bodies and clots of knowledge”((See: http://www.e-flux.com/announcements/oo/ [1])). The following reading experiment investigates the “sequencing” function of the pages arranged in the hallway. The appropriative and participatory techniques of display and reception go back to art historian Aby Warburg’s methodology of thinking through images, reconfigured orders and constellations.((For example Ludwig Seyfarth: Space for thinking between the images. On the genesis of the ‘photographic collection’ as an artistic genre, in: Dear Aby Warburg What can be done with images? Dealing with photographic material, Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen, ed. by Eva Schmidt / Ines Rüttinger, Heidelberg 2012, pp. 26-35.)) For “Echo gone wrong”, Phanos Kyriacou, Gabriel Lester, Raimundas Malašauskas, Constantinos Taliotis and Natalie Yiaxi were asked to choose their favorite “GUIDE BoOk” page and to explain its prosthetic connection to the conceptual structure of oO.

oO – The Lithuanian-Cypriot Pavilion, entry room, Venice Biennial, 2013

Natalie Yiaxi: GUIDE BoOk, 2013 (photograph by Robertas Narkus)

Natalie Yiaxi: GUIDE BoOk, 2013

Phanos Kyriacou:

Natalie Yiaxi: GUIDE BoOk, 2011

Phanos Kyriacou: It will be visible for perhaps three months and under the bright light of a thousand halogen lamps, Image, 2013

Constantinos Taliotis:

Natalie Yiaxi: GUIDE BoOk, 2013

“In a steady undulation, like a scanner fluorescent tube, I move back and forth in the space of oO. The oscillation between approaching and receding the narrative of the exhibition simulates the piratic nature of waves eroding sea stones, at ones at home on the nexus of their surfaces and instantaneously pulled back and out into their liquidity. I examine oO as a lithologist, with bare feet. It is a synergy of multiple agents on different velocities in different time zones. The absence of linearity and seriality in the architecture of the book welcomes you into the exhibition and promises – without taking an oath – a bilateral parallelism between itself and what it proclaims to be a guide book of – a territory of mystery, still – one attempts to conduct a symphony of spaces, navigating in architectural structures as if reading a book. If the introduction of the book is the entrance of the building, what would be the middle of the architectural edifice, the absolute center of the binding in books, that infinitesimal sound of cracking that the book spine performs when opening fully symmetrical on either side? If Oo was a book, what would be its bookmarks? I try to approach the center of the exhibition starting from the periphery, once again, with steady undulation like a fluorescent scanner precise in registration. I realize that oO does not transform to Oo, but I transform to oO. It’s not the adaptability of the spatial arrangement in accordance to the occasional inhabitants and their oscillation in character and vulnerability to invasions that makes oO shift from capitals to lowercase and from vowels to numeric languages. It is the sponge nature of oO, its porosity, absorbent here and later impermeable, engulfing and excreting you at once, oOing you and annoying you.

I examine oO like a lithologist, bare-footed, but my feet have now transformed into stones themselves. I examine Oo like a chiropodist and my feet like a lithologist. oO is not Oo; I am a periphery in the centre of peripheries, a ripple without an epicenter. And the page I am looking at writes “the middle”.”

Natalie Yiaxi:

Natalie Yiaxi: GUIDE BoOk, 2013

“The perfect separation page. It was the first page I finished, the beginning which defined the rest of the “GUIDE BoOK”, how pages would approach their subject, how each page would stand between the real and the potential oO. Everything in it is oscillating back and forth in itself; boundaries are constantly shifting – depleting even; reality, dream, time, gender, the body, technology, materiality. It zooms in on the space between things, what the space between o and O (O and o) may represent, how that separation occurs, and what might be there (which was the first thing that got my attention, it’s from where I have tried to ‘enter’ oO).”

Raimundas Malašauskas:

Natalie Yiaxi: GUIDE BoOk, Envelope back, 2013

“When Natalie proposed to publish an empty envelope with an ISBN number it made my day; many things could become a part of it and become a catalogue of the exhibition. Thus the world may remain a catalogue of the exhibition.”

Jason Dodge: lights the height of dog’s eyes (the mourners), 2013 (photograph by Robertas Narkus)

Elena Narbutaite: Electra, 2013, metallic screen (photograph by Robertas Narkus)

Natalie Yiaxi: GUIDE BoOk, 2013

Gabriel Lester:

“Maybe my page is that proverbial carte blanche or that rare and sought after single missing page. It could also be the one torn out or tossed away in an act of boredom. Maybe it was senselessly vandalized in the desire to manually alter this world. In any case, my page is an echo of itself, something that resounds in the distance, that might have been here, but if it is or was, it is now far away. This distance complicates believing it, lacking any physical presence, the page leads an imaginary life. So this page can be envisioned, but not seen, and most likely, it was never there nor ever printed. Frankly, there is nothing more to read into that. In fact, there was never even a book or number of sheets bound together. Yes, there were these pages, waiting to be combined, or singled out as souvenirs, but what are these pages other than an invitation to mix up things? Add a leaflet handed out in the Arsenale, fold a press text from the Hong Kong pavilion, stack the map from the hotel, shove a restaurant receipt between it and please do add that one missing page. You decide!”

Ulrike Gerhardt:

Natalie Yiaxi: GUIDE BoOk, 2013

 ““Pair of hands seeing for the first time, Coventry, 2002” reminds me of pictures of séances from the early 20th century where the medium’s head is covered by a black veil. The difference here is that it’s not a body but instead two hands, which are the medium, learning to see for the first time. Before it jumps out of the TV set, the little kid goat in Vytautė Žilinskaitė’s “Telegoat” tale((Vytautė Žilinskaitė: Three Tales. Vilnius 2013. p. 8. (oO – exhibition catalogue)) shouts: “Noooo! I will noooot!”. These two hands seem to have decided to do something other than fulfilling “manual” operative tasks – they have detached themselves from the rest of the body and decided to start using their skills cooperatively like eyes in the surrounding void. The absorbing blackness serves as a background for the clumsy curiosity of their movements and makes them seem like non-identical twins – oO and Oo – testing a new modus vivendi and almost breaking through the surface of the image in order to join me, a cyborgian woman on earth with similar and different extremities who stares at them (oo). The image of these dissociated hands inspired me while visiting the sports field, the main court of the Palazzetto. It’s a local institution (oO), turned into an exhibition space (Oo) and therefore represents a temporary arena for robot-like artworks and physical exercises (oo) where visitors can sit down on two opposite tribunes and literally see the oooOOooo scene always anew because the regular training sessions are surrounded by a haphazard and mute circle of spectators ponderously dancing before and after each course; the moving sculptures, material bodies in which art and social life converge.“

oO – The Lithuanian-Cypriot Pavilion, the main court, Venice Biennial, 2013 (photograph by Robertas Narkus)

oO – The Lithuanian-Cypriot Pavilion, the main court, Venice Biennial, 2013 (photograph by Robertas Narkus)

55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia

Lithuanian-Cypriot Pavilion

June 1st – November 24th, 2013

“Oo a slightly asymmetric structure conveying uneven, yet mutually open elements; slinging in a movement of a constant twist between the two (at the least), suspicious of one, entailed by organizational surfing. Drawing on interest in forms of organization rather than the organization of forms, it floats like life and plankton.”

Artists: Liudvikas Buklys, Gintaras Didžiapetris, Jason Dodge, Lia Haraki, Maria Hassabi, Phanos Kyriacou, Myriam Lefkowitz, Gabriel Lester, Elena Narbutaitė, Morten Norbye Halvorsen, Algirdas Šeškus, Dexter Sinister, Constantinos Taliotis, Kazys Varnelis, Natalie Yiaxi, Vytautė Žilinskaitė

Curator: Raimundas Malašauskas
Commissioners: Aurimė Aleksandravičiūtė, Louli Michaelidou, Jonas Žakaitis
Palasport ”Giobatta Gianquinto“
Castello 2132
Calle San Biago

http://oo-oo.co/ [2]
http://oo-oo.bo/ [3]