Wofür wir Worte haben, darüber sind wir auch schon hinaus. In allem Reden liegt ein Gran Verachtung.

We have already gone beyond whatever we have words for. In all talk there is a grain of contempt.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Expeditions of an Untimely Man §26.


I felt that as a painter it was much better to be influenced by a writer than by another painter.

Duchamp, The Salt Seller


Kryographia neologism, as an allegory that brings about the demise of live speech through writing,  corresponds to a writer that renders himself dead. The author is dead since he writes. This platonic notion of logos as a dead body is found in Phaedrus: Soc. I cannot help feeling, Phaedrus, that writing is unfortunately like painting;  for the creations of the painter have the attitude of life, and yet if you ask them a question they preserve a solemn silence.(Plato, Phaedrus, D60)


Kryographia starts backwards, from the act of death. The last paragraph of Joyce’s Finnegans Wake (initially appeared by the title A Work in Progress), sets the coldness of the father’s body, short before the text is completed without any full stop and  seems to get narration back to the start of the book...[. I am passing out. O bitter ending! ...... I go back to you, my cold father, my cold mad father, my cold mad feary father, .....makes me seasilt saltsick and I rush, my only, into your arms....End here. Us then. Finn, again! Take. Bussoftlhee, mememormee! Till thousendsthee. Lps. The keys to. Given! A way a lone a last a loved a long the  ]


The god of writing is the god of death. Everything we say becomes a dead corpse since it is written, and in this sense1, a dead takes the place of the writer. The installation- performance Kryographia presents writing as a metaphor for absolute coldness... As the texts were written in advance, the calligrapher has the role of the anatomist who rearranges the body of the work... [In  future editions, the authors may write their own excerpts in a public place, so the act of mortalizing the text should happen in front of us ...]

The concept of absolute coldness in physics is considered as the  definition of absolute zero (0 degrees Kelvin scale, or -273.15 ° in Celsius). In this situation, all actions, metaphorically take place at temperatures close to absolute zero where matter exhibits quantum effects such as superconductivity and superfluidity and space-time continuum acquires new meanings. (Lead and mercury are considered as the first known superconductive materials.) In physics, temperature affects processes and material properties more than any other variable, such as pressure, magnetic field, electric field, etc. The lowest part of our thermodynamic flux is absolute zero, a temperature marked by a 0 entropy configuration. It is the coldest temperature theoretically possible and cannot be reached by artificial or natural means, because it is impossible to decouple a system fully from the rest of the universe.2 Nor is possible, by any process, to reduce the temperature of a system to zero in a finite number of processes.  This indicates the writer at a succession of unlimited approaches of the absolute text ... It could be argued that the author needs, theoretically, infinite necessary actions to reach a conclusive document. Meanwhile, in a similar way to the behaviour of matter at absolute zero circumstances, the author cannot write the perfect work because he/she can not be completely isolated from the environment.3


In the performance, the penman4 (he also acts as an iceman), activates a valve, using the existence of vacuum to initiate water movement; the whole procedure is only possible during the act of writing. At the end of each line of the text, a pair of electrodes captures the movement of the writer and switches on an electro-valve, releasing the liquid. After moving through a system  of glass pipes, the liquid is frozen. Generally, the installation functions as a cryomachine.

Vacuum can be defined as a volume of space without matter. The pressure of this area is less than atmospheric pressure. The ideal writer is also one that creates an entirely empty space. During this action he dematerialises space, triggering the intellect to produce a potential difference, so the mental constituents move instantly...


During the performance, Yiannis Melanitis will write the text The Act of Writing, by the writer Evi Vogiatzaki. This will be the first Greek edition of the text. (Original title: The Act of Writing, Lexington Books, 2002, USA).

The excerpt t is part of The body in the text / James Joyce’s Ulysses and the Modern Greek Novel. The Greek version of the text is translated by the author from the English prototype.

The Kryographia is an issue for the theory of arts in the form of handwritten text. The unique copy, once completed will be accessible through the About library. The first issue examines  the concept of The Body as a Text, the Text as a Body.


1. Derrida, Plato’s Pharmacy

2. [Source wikipedia]

3. During the writing of In search of the lost time, Marcel Proust insulated his room with cork sheet. «Special space» created, also with the addition of double doors and heavy curtains, aimed at complete detachment of the author by the sound, light, dust and noise, which through quarantine to capture the expanding world of the novel. [http://www.studiocleo.com/librarie/proust/mainframe2.html]

4. Shem the Penman is a character that Joyce «revisits the problematic of  artistic autonomy through the trope of  self-reflexivity and self-portraiture in whose name he stepped into modernism with the Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man...» Margot Norris, Joyce’s web: the social unraveling of modernism, University of Texas Press, 1992 .


Performance materials: Ink on paper, blown glass, clay hydriai, cast lead, paraffin, cloth, ice, electrovalves,water, cast lead, aluminium foil.



Yiannis Melanitis