Delineate of  the bio-performance context.

Bio-performance is a term introduced by Yiannis Melanitis to describe lineages between art and biogenetics, as an environment controlled by genetic algorithms, a transformable, codified system irreversible in time.



in the direction of defining an artistic context through biogenetic terms


‘The metaphore in the philosophical text’ wrote Derrida as a subtitle for  his book ‘White Mythology’ [1] -inspired by A.France and ‘Le Jardin d’ Epicure’-while Yiannis Melanitis  deals with the concept of  the metaphor through the body (more accurately, what we would define as the body-text), the one that derives from translation, transformations, mutations. Yiannis Melanitis  makes a parallel between body-text mutations and the transformations of substances in nature, so the platonic ideas that ‘decline’ (moving from the ideal to lower forms), resemble  to the mutated biological forms (moving from simplicity to complexity), in an effort to define philosophical lineages through the biogenetic context.[2]


For Derrida, the text is always under the procedure of translation. By the same way, life is codified, is subsequent to translative dynamics,  does not have a permanent prototype, (a geno- or pheno-type model), cuts and zips  on copies of previous copies. The text, the body, in either life or art are genealogically fissiparus, produced  through chiasmatypia. The code is unbreakable, is never accomplished…

Equivalences may be observed between codifications and the artistic activity: The code is present in both occasions, while movement is produced via translations. A point, a matter, a text is transposed through a code which also constitutes a language.


Returning to the genealogical context of evolutionary biology, the bioforms are the outcomes of erratic codifications; we may consider a parallelism between biogenetic transformations and the platonic ideas. The flow direction through these climaxes is uncertain; it is realised either towards one or the other direction, in a twofold pathway resembling to the inscription of Nietzsche’s eternal return. [3]

If a performance theory aimed to present the body as a bio-analogical system, all representations and interactions can be analysed through competitive systems and evolutionary processes. A substantial discrimination between the geometrical space of Oscar Schlemmer as theoreticized at the BAUHAUS and the bio-performance may be observed in their relationship with the body:

Schlemmer/Bauhaus: Space= soft

As Schlemmer puts it: "a space filled with pliable substance in which the figures of the sequence of the dancer's movements were to harden as a negative form." The body of the dancers obtain an 'object' quality, moving in a rather predictable way.

Virtual Reality performances:
The body "disappears" and is remotely controlled. Its feedback is determined by external information or

through interactions.


body= soft, malleable. The body is considered as "liquid space" while moving within space.


The use of a genetic algorithm became a substantial point in the works of Yiannis Melanitis. In the ensuing evolutionary steps of the work ‘The Garden’, a work partially performed, being under a transformative process itself, genetic algorithms  define its basic parameters (from agents trajectories till bodily prosthetic forms.) Genetic algorithms are not merely guidelines for formalistic interpretations; more essentially, they should function as a ‘source of metaphors to remodel life, aiming to reveal the area that comprises the ‘parental scheme’, the initial philosophical idea concealed under the external schemes, before the metaphors, still before the first, the inceptive transfer…


As Derrida says,[1] in all human words, a materialized scheme had been parently stamped, and all the words, when they were new, represented a certain perceptible image...the inevitable materialism of the vocabulary… While in ‘The Garden’ the place of vocabulary coincides with the genetic base sequence, our concern is not merely the coding transformations ; more extensively, our aiming is in the approximation of the initial, non-transferable concept…


Notes and references

1. Derrida ,White Mythology, transl. by C.Lazos, edit. Hestia, Athens 2004.

2. Yiannis Melanitis,

Within the borders of bio-capitalism, biotech is formalising nature into molds, mechanising organic systems, applying informatics in the bio-organic level. Placed within this framework, information is transformed to bio-information which is mechanically imposed on the body, potentially altering its developmental perspective. As P. Rabinow claims in his essay titled "Artificiality and Enlightenment: From Sociobiology to Biosociality : " the object to be known- the human genome- will be known in such a way that it can be changed. This dimension is thoroughly modern; one could even say that it instantiates the definition of modern rationality". Genetic information, due to its complexity, provides a source of transforming the body into a complex system which brings about unpredictable outcomes.

3. Zarathustra, to the dwarf over his shoulder:

"Halt, dwarf!" said I. "Either I- or you! I, however, am the stronger of the two:- you knowest not my abysmal thought! It- could you not endure!"

Then happened that which made me lighter: for the dwarf sprang from my shoulder, the prying sprite! And it squatted on a stone in front of me. There was however a gateway just where we halted.

"Look at this gateway! Dwarf!" I continued, "it has two faces. Two roads come together here: these has no one yet gone to the end of. This long lane backwards: it continues for an eternity. And that long lane forward- that is another eternity. They are antithetical to one another, these roads; they directly abut on one another:- and it is here, at this gateway, that they come together. The name of the gateway is inscribed above: 'This Moment.' But should one follow them further- and ever further and further on, think you, dwarf, that these roads would be eternally antithetical?"-

"Everything straight lies," murmured the dwarf, contemptuously. "All truth is crooked; time itself is a circle."Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus spoke Zarathustra.