|Start||2020-07-21 18:00 UTC|
|Conference password||Available to ticket holders shortly before the event.|
What are the places of personal return?
Who is returning? Where?
How is the need for return connected to walking?
Can we stay motionless and still return?
What do we experience when we walk intending to return?
How different are the walking steps, when they are part of a returning process?
How is the walking body transformed by return?
Return often and take me,
beloved sensation, return and take me –
when the memory of the body awakens,
and old desire runs again through the blood;
when the lips and the skin remember,
and the hands feel as if they touch again.
Return often and take me at night,C. P. Cavafy
when the lips and the skin remember…
A ‘topos (locus) of Return’ is a place that becomes persistent in one’s memory and body. A place becomes a topos of Return when it attains a strong experiential affinity to the viewer and initiates a strong need to go back to it again. It could be any return: physical, mental, or synaesthetic. It seems that a place becomes a topos of Return when it is a space of conceptual and intellectual synaesthesia. However, many questions remain open;What is a “place”? When is it transformed into topos? When is the decisive moment when a place becomes in one’s existence a locus? To what extent and with what are the words “topos” and “return” different? What does it mean to walk into a place and experience it for the first time? What can the concept of return become significant? Is there more than one place of return for each one of us? How is walking coming into this process?
Prespa is a location in Macedonia, Greece that has become the final outpost of my artistic itinerary. Ι have taken the steep walk from Florina to Prespes (70km) several times over the last fourteen years. The need to undertake this journey derived from my need to revisit Prespa, my topos of Return.
I first realized that walk in 2007.
This walking itinerary is also a journey in time, a drift of the endurance of my body, a voyage to the ideas that keep haunting me time and again. Even when I am away, in Athens, in London, or New York, I keep mentally reconstructing this journey and I return to Macedonia with the strong need to gaze at this place, again.
2007 was the beginning of the Visual March to Prespa and, then, Prespa transformed from a location into a place of personal return.
There are not too many places that I could characterize as my topoi of return. For various reasons, I have another two: the Archeological site of Keramikos in Athens, and Sygrou Park in Marousi. These three topoi, Prespa, Keramikos and Sygrou Park are the conceptual fields where my entity has been projected and keeps persisting into my feelings and senses.
Lead image: Yannis Ziogas, Watching the sunrise in Daseri, Prespa, 2020
Poem by Cavafy: From ‘The Complete Poems of C.P. Cavafy’, by C. P. Cavafy, translated by Rae Dalven (W.H. Auden, New York 1961.) Retrieved: https://www.thepoetryexchange.co.uk/return-by-c-p-cavafy (June 26th 2020)
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