Exorcising Ancient Ghosts
The work Exorcising Ancient Ghosts originated in Naples, after a research on Greco-Roman imaginary in the area and feminist archaeology, focusing on pornography, sex and gender depiction in ancient times. The work is an audio-recording from a performance of a local Neapolitan woman and a Balinese man, reading a text-collage in Italian while they have
sex. The text is composed from ancient Greek (juridic-, literary- political and philosophical) text fragments on women and foreigners and their position in society. A second audio recording registers a performance of a native English speaking couple, woman and man, reading an English translation of the same text, also while having sex.
In ancient Athens married women had restricted rights and were to stay at home. Foreigners residing in the Polis had restricted rights in much the same way. Racial contamination was of great concern to the patriarchal society. The work was triggered by this friction and an ancient Athenian law, dating back from 5th century B.C., attributed to the orator Demosthenes, prohibiting Athenians and foreigners to live as husband and wife “in any way or manner whatsoever”, since their relation might produce impure citizens.
For the text-research we had the help of a team of PhD Researchers in ancient history and gender studies at the Federico II University in Naples, under the direction of Prof. Claudia Montepaone. For the preparations of the performers in Italy we worked together with an actress of experimental and concrete theatre. The Neapolitan couple, a law-student and a cook, were not professional performers. The performers of the English translation were a contemporary dancer and a theatre writer/director/actor.