The life we live is not Life itself- Tasos Sagris & Whodoes (GR)- Ian Gibbins (Australia)
poetry / spoken word: Tasos Sagris
videographer / compositor / editor: Ian Gibbins
artificial face generation: Generated Media, Inc
3D models: Sketchfab.com
“The life we live is a series of illusions… a fleeting smile… mistaken decisions… dangerous, unpredictable… yet, we will meet again, as lovers… parents… children… and you will know who I am…”
Tasos Sagris’s poem, with its haunting soundtrack by Whodoes, offers us an extended exploration of lives lived in parallel, at cross-purposes, in and out of love, around the world, from the innocence of children to the wisdom of elders. There are the good times when summer seems to last forever, and the bad, when persecution and misadventure could land us in prison, with nothing but rain to hear our voice. But what is the reality? What is mere illusion? Can there be more to life than simply living?
The raw footage for the video was shot mainly in and around the city of Adelaide, its suburbs, the nearby Fleurieu Peninsula and Yorke Peninsula, South Australia, supplemented with images from around Greece and Sweden. But nothing in the video is quite as it seems. Most scenes have been composited and animated from multiple sources. So we look down a city laneway and see friends walking along a beach. A derelict shed opens out onto a fairground, lit by mysterious warning flags. Storm clouds, ominously aglow, gather behind skylines. And after the rain, floodwater surges across plazas, covers the floors of ruined buildings.
Who inhabits these strange places? Whom will we meet there? Look carefully in the malls and side-streets: we can see our fellow walkers, and then, again, again… And in windows of city buildings, in old frames hung on walls of broken brick and cracked concrete, we see the faces of the young and old, the boys and girls, the men and women of our imagination, our desires, our reconstructed memories. As alluring as they seem, none of them is real. Rather, they are the product of artificial intelligence, trained on thousands of our fellow humans, and generated by cold, unfeeling algorithms.
No video can truly capture the inner thoughts that inspire a poet’s words. Instead, we can construct a world in which the real and unreal seamlessly merge, creating environments beyond day-to-day experience, yet somehow familiar, somehow recognisable as elements in the shared narratives of our lives.
Is this Life? Who amongst us is truly Living? Let’s see. And perhaps we will meet again … on another rainy afternoon… “like now, like now.”
Ian Gibbins – February 2021
Ian Gibbins is a widely published and exhibited poet, video artist and electronic musician living in South Australia. His video poetry and video art have been shown to acclaim at festivals, galleries, and installations around the world. His audio and video work has been commissioned for several high-visibility public art programs. He has published four books of poetry, two in collaboration with artists. Until he retired in 2014, Ian was an internationally recognised neuroscientist and Professor of Anatomy at Flinders University, South Australia. For details of Ian’s creative work, visit www.iangibbins.com.au
Tasos Sagris is a poet, theatre director and activist born in Athens in 1972. In 1990, he co-created the international anarchist cultural group, Void Network, and in 2008, the Institute for Experimental Arts: a contemporary theatre group for research, performance and cultural education. His poetry is a melancholic call out for chaos, revolt, hedonism and social awareness. He tours often in Europe, Asia, Mexico and USA for talks, multimedia poetry actions, exhibitions, performances and theatre shows. Organising cross-platform collaborative festivals, events and actions in public spaces around the world for more than 30 years, he is an anarchist artist from 21st century.
Whodoes is a multi-instrumentalist composer of electronic music, born in Athens, Greece, in 1981. In addition to his personal discography, he has composed music for theatre, documentaries, and spoken word-poetry and dance performances. He performs live both in Greece and abroad. Whodoes mixes electronic-techno music with modern classical, down tempo, post rock and shoegaze guitars. His poetic sound works like a bridge for experiences of the past to the present and the future, while sensitively approaching the functions of life in direct connection with urban environments and secret nature. See https://whodoes.bandcamp.com.
The Life we live is not Life itself was originally published in Phenomenology of the Guillotine by Tasos Sagris, Voidness Publications, 2018.