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Unorthodox friendships, catholic guilt and queer resolutions

LAPS MA student George Rallis writes as a genderqueer person on their experience of the energy in Helsinki and their collaboration with artist Kajetan Wójcik in workshop in Oronsko, Poland.

As someone who has parted with their gender and comprised of alternative ways of associating with myself in relation to that, I also changed the way in which I identify with people. The act of coming out, and the act of becoming have been adjusted thus far in my life in a way that is socially responsive, hence looking for community in parallel, to social agents that share similar narratives. However, through a lot of re-thinking of neoliberal agendas, numerous disappointments and various heartbreaks, I realized that the narrative association with other people might in fact be a bi-product of the wished homogeneity that neoliberalism implies, for everyone (including minorities).       

When hearing about our workshop in Centrum Rzeźby Polskiej in Oronsko and the idea of collaborating with another artist from the Szczecin Art Academy, I instantly had a dualism of sorts to work through. Since the workshop took place during the first semester of my arrival in Finland, I had already grew tired of introducing myself and what I do. I had the need for an actual encounter that moved beyond my interests and practice. Due to this, I could either be completely opposed to another “forced” socialization/collaboration narrative and work alone, or I would hopefully be lucky to meet someone that might exist in the same discoursal frequency as me. Identity politics may indeed be extremely valuable for social formations and navigating this insane world we are living in. However they are themselves another form of ideological apparatus that was created as a response and wished “nourishment”. A nourishment to the impoverished ways of connecting with other people that have been flattened to capitalist reproductions, both ideological and spiritual. Thankfully, the later point on my own dualism was true as I instantly felt a pull, to another person from the respective group.           

The energy in Helsinki, as a genderqueer Cypriot is quite removed from what I am familiar with to say the least. My definition of queer discourse has within it, sacred rage, aggression and intensity as its salves, while in Helsinki, I was forced to face a wished softness and sensitivity. Without placing one as more favorable than the other, meeting Kajetan Wójcik and his approach to life, ideology and wavelength, was a breath of fresh air at the time, as I felt another person boiling on the inside. With no further questions, we somehow gravitated to one another, and off the bat decided to work together in order to not waste time and create something sustained and methodological.

I will not dwell on our work method, as that was only for us in that moment, yet I would like to present briefly the outlook we had on the question posited to us.

The workshop’s name Wealth, Price and Value is pretty much self-explanatory yet we wanted to push the limits of what understandings can be created through this. The main question that somehow, resulted from our working progress, is an expansive definition of what rampant economic reproduction does to the human psyche. As a sacrilege to what the now moment implies for all of us, capitalism as theology, if one is to question reproduction as an unethical means of human continuation, to flatter our super-ego, what areas of this said process are to be left “untouched”/ sacred. If as Marx said, religion is the opium of the masses, then arguably, reproduction is its cocaine. In a similar manner, the main question we chose to delve in was how we can make these meanings intimate to us and thus non-exhaustive. In a similar manner, we referenced our own religious backgrounds, and our own takes on capitalist reproduction, by creating a soundscape, an ephemeral costume and different texts which we have merged into a video. I will leave you with the link and a hopeful affectual response, to the snowy surrounding and ideological avalanche that those five days were.   

George Rallis


When performance

The master’s programme in Live Art and Performance Studies (LAPS) was launched in 2001 as a Finnish-language degree programme, Esitystaiteen ja -teorian koulutusohjelma. Since 2013, LAPS has been an English-language, international and residential MA programme based in Helsinki. The objective of the programme is to enable artists coming from different environments, classes, cultures and upbringings to focus on their work, develop their research and map out the future of their artistic practice. This blog discloses the various aspects of the LAPS programme, from individual notions and statements by students to providing background for LAPS MA thematic interests.

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