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27 June 2019

Eirini Kartsaki speaks to us about her practice and the art of not giving a fuck in the lead up to her Live Draft.

Ten years ago, I started becoming increasingly interested in the texture and matter of language and its ability to contract and dilate. At the time, I was not interested in telling a story or sharing a linear narrative. I was interested in opening up language, punching through it, making holes on its surface and discovering what may lie beneath. What I discovered was that there was a rich and fertile ground for this kind of experimentation, which included writing but also improvising, transcribing and performing recycled text over and over again.

I did my best improvisation when drunk or pissed off (or both), at an exhibition space in King’s Cross that was hosting a text-based event. The line-up was really shit and I was getting more and more anxious as my act was the last one on. I started drinking and getting more and more pissed off and as a result, when I finally performed, I didn’t give a fuck. That was probably my best ever performance.

However, I do care about performance. I feel committed to a practice that is ever-changing and wants to open up new spaces for experimentation, again and again; a practice that wants to punch through the stupidity and shallowness of a lot of everyday life, that refuses small talk and linear story-telling and that actually does something. 

In that space of anger and drunkenness, I discovered something new: that not giving a fuck had nothing to do with the practice, but with the conventions that surround the thinking about making and presenting work. These “conventions” have to do with the ways we may approach work to create a specific experience for the audience, or securing funding, or making the work readable; providing an experience that can be named and pointed at as something. I have struggled with the tendency to clearly name what a practice does. This struggle has not always been unproductive. 

In the space of Live Drafts, I want to explore a practice that doesn’t need to be labelled as one particular thing, a process that is invested in playfulness, without feeling restricted by knowing in advance what it is or what it might do. In this new collaboration, I punch holes through language and sound with my friend and composer, Tasos Stamou, who has been encouraging me to not know, and to not have to name what the thing is, before it fully surfaces out of the water and says hello.

Catch Collapsing by Eirini Kartsaki and Tasos Stamou on July 6 at 7.30pm. Tickets £5.