interview at Toengeren, Belgium, 15 th September 2012
Geert Vermeire : Why BEMA?
Yiannis Melanitis: Bema is the step, a raised place or tribune to speak from, in a public assembly. Secondarily, movement is embodied in speech... The work Bema derives from the Greek βα?νω, that means move on, step forward. A step is also a geometrical measure of space. (βηματ?ζω= make steps, meaning measure by paces). Bema may be geometrically defines as the opposite of the throne; i.e. the throne of Pelops’ at Mount Sipylus. Where the throne inherits a time-freezing political act, which means that power is trying to establish itself, the Bema is open in time and inherits the self-denial of democracy.
Geert Vermeire : How the construction started?
Yiannis Melanitis : At first, a movable wooden ORATORS BEMA was constructed, so the orator can carry it and use it in any space visited. Following, the BEMA body has to be in another form. It became an ORATORS BEMA from mirrors, an allegory of political speech’s reflection. So the orator’s presence becomes important and should be declared. I was seeing this image, of Hermes, very intensively.
After this, Hermes image had to find a way out. The tradition of the extended space that Hellenic philosophy represents, inherited in the art of sculpture, is also visible today. By surprise, I found on a truck in Athens, the head of Hermes presenting the same space deformation to intimate speed for the transportatin services of the ERMISTRUCKS Company. This drawing on their truck retains the rectangular logic, mainly expressed in the wings of the head (= of logic).
Geert Vermeire: So why geometry of rhetorics?
Yiannis Melanitis: An orator and the audience can be represented by two points on the paper. This is a political hierarchy that obeys to a kind of time successions- the orator may be followed by another orator, etc.
Geert Vermeire : What is the role of the audience?
Yiannis Melanitis: The audience must mentally “move” on the grid set by the orator. In some cases, different individuals move on this matrix providing coincidences. The significance of coincidences in Democracy is decisive. This an area I should emphasize in the future…The topological mapping of this grid is unveiled by the orator as time passes. But he never provides a complete revelation. Cross points are very important for the speech, and many individuals from the audience may have been concentrated at a certain spacetime point. What never happens is the concentration of too many people in a certain point for too much time... Concentrations may occur independently from the orators’ will, and he is always ready to see them behind his feet, and sometimes he may try to meet the gathered people on a certain point. A speech is a set of continuous bifurcations. On each grid point a question is posed and all possible answers belong to the listeners....
Geert Vermeire: Whats the connection with this pattern you draw?
Yiannis Melanitis: I’ m interested to see man as an organic recipient of external information through a geometrical pattern. What kind of a pattern? Either resulting from nature, or one “predesigned” in order to interpret nature. Extending this
Geert Vermeire: In primary geometry, every standing point gives a new optics of an object/event. How this is materialized in this exhibition?
Yiannis Melanitis: Generally an object (and projection-ally a thesis, an idea) may be represented by more than one different forms corresponding to it. This can be rationalised throught the use of geometry and equal forms can replace the older ones.
Hermes Logius, the orator, stands there, in our spacetime...needs an equal form we have to invent to vitalise him...
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