How is an exhibit constructed? How is the materiality of the past transformed into spectacle and eventually, into history? To what extent is the spectator an accomplice in this act of materialising history through the pasts’ debris? Who taught us what is important (as historical testament) or what is good (as museum exhibit)? If the 20th C was the era of the image, are we now living in the time of the display? Are we now experiencing the culture of interface, whether digital or conventional?
Through an exhibition event accompanied by a series of texts by past scholars on the materiality of the past, a visual artist and an archeology professor investigate the process of objectifying and exhibiting the past through the simple daily practice of exploring residual materials.
In a performance that took place in the Evgenidou Institute in 2019, archeologist Dimitri Platzos attempted to author eight interpretations of the exhibited works of the exhibition, without ever seeing them, other than as photographic reproductions. The texts constituted part of the registration sheets (logs) that the artists and archeologist had created, and were the only tangible object created during the performance. A cordon within the space did not allow the viewer to see the sculptures up close.
The action consists of three parts. In the first part, the public surveys the exhibition space without being able to see the works up close. In the second part, the artist enters the cordon and begins to dismantle the sculptures and store them in boxes, while the archaeologist reads archive texts about various archaeological finds.
In the third part, the artist opens the space to the public and takes the registration sheets off the archeologist, placing them in the empty plinths that had previously held the works. Now the public can approach and read the log of the works; the technical information concerning each work, along with the interpretation of the scientist.