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.
But as a sculptor, I’ m initially interested in the quarry. The quarrier intersects the stone. He is the “absolute” sculptor, again by means that he detaches a stone where every possible sculpture may arise. Here, etymology gives the same incidence, as the word quarry derives from quadrum ‘a square.’ Also, as a quarry landscape is formed due to the stone cuts, cubical patterns arise and may be seen as a BEMA multiplier...

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.
Etymologically it derives from ε?ρω (eir?), to say, speak, tell. He was also sculpted as square (τετραγωνος) rectangular, to indicate the stability (στερρ?τητα) of logos. The orator handles information through speech, but it’s not exactly the time to analyse the importance of information in this point.
From the idea, the initial, the clear noesis, (towards which the orator moves forward), there is the actual form of the expressed speech, the emitted reason (εκπεμπ?μενος λ?γος ).


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.
So the rhetoric model is moving from the cause state (speech of the orator) to the effect state (persuasion of the body politic). In a perfect speech, the audience is incapable of doing anything. In the worst speech occasion, the audience can do everything it chooses.
Additionally, the orator speaks about the subject, or the structure of the speech itself? The undefined geometry of the audience needs to be regularized by the orator’s speech that puts things in a row. His enemy is the structure of the procedure which he/she might attack if he wishes to open a new procedure.
Geometry is a set of rules that may serve as a basis for every impossible thought to ground on. Aristotle defined rhetoric as the counterpart of Dialectic, adding that it IS THE POWER TO CONSIDER THAT EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
One geometric pattern serves as a configuration for many different formulations. Also, a geometrical theorem is, analogically, a political theorem that needs to be solved. The bigger the “machine” (the structure of logos), the smaller particle is the one examined (smaller in density). It’s like Higgs boson at CERN...

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
concept to democracy we might say that democracy is an interpretation, or even a projection, an interpretation that is defined by some geometric rules.
Each statement that is understandable lies in a rectangular grid of logic. It is moving at right angles and stops at the edges of the square. Hermes’ thought has wings and leaps ad libitum (at will). In moderation, of course... Otherwise, dialectics can be driven to extremes and present dangerous rhetoric schemata.
Nevertheless, the “perfect” orator should leave a door of doubt open, should construct an endless sequence...
The grid pattern is often desecrated. The Pythagorean diagonal represents the non-regularity of the orator. The orator has to move at least once over that diagonal, otherwise the speech is sentenced to be absolutely assumed before even drafted, to be received as a repetition.
The Egyptian net that measured the earth was ortho-metric. To break this regularity, the use of the diagonal, a line that extracts irregularities, irrational numbers (?ρρητος αριθμ?ς). Democracy could mean the ‘decimal’ way, the nonrecurring expansion, the number without end in the horizon...

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.
The question of the old never ends, it takes equal configurations.
So, one form has another form that is “equal”. This is for me, the concept of Democracy: the equally perceived forms of a common space-time event.

Hermes Logius, the orator, stands there, in our spacetime...needs an equal form we have to invent to vitalise him...









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