rethinking why performance matters through the matter of performance
3. Potentials of Performance

30 July 2012

Radical Displacement, Viral Intrusion: On Violence and Trust


Some thoughts…

Athens Medical Centre, Psichiko Clinic
12 July 2012

   I have started multiple email chains, each email asking a ‘stranger’ as defined by this project the question ‘What is violence?’ Each email includes the description and rationale of the project (see the first blog posting). The object responses have been thoughtful, surprising, thought-provoking, touching.

  While I am thinking about ‘violence’ with regards to this project, I am at the same time experiencing a number of different types of violence: that of an illness attacking my father’s body, of the violence of hospitals for both the patient and his relatives, of life continuing around us despite it all, and, outside the hospital, yet another type of violence; as I am driving away from the hospital with my sister, I see a large group of the extreme right-wing organisation ‘Golden Dawn’ members on the sidewalk. We cannot tell whether they are offering food (one of their various tactics to brainwash people into thinking that they are noble and that their cause is just) or whether they are trying to intimidate the immigrants in the area with their presence. All I keep thinking is that I do not have my camera with me to record the incident and that I have not been able due to the circumstances to be as active as I had planned to during my stay in Athens against the violence – economic as well as physical – inflicted upon my city. As I am thinking about these types of violence, I realize that the manner in which I have articulated the possible location of the potential of performance – in the Radical Displacement, Viral Intrusion of our dialogues – has taken multiple meanings. My father, the immigrants in Greece, the Greeks living in Greece, as well as my self, are experiencing both displacements and intrusions: of an illness acting on a loved one’s body displacing him from his home, of a fascist party spreading in the country displacing immigrants yet another time, of the consequences of a – to say the least – faulty global economic system displacing citizens from their social, economic, working and family environment. To whom, to what, why and how do we place our trust? When is it necessary to break our trust with persons and / or systems?  When is violence necessary? What is violence?

  Some thoughts by others…

  ‘Trust is related to absence in time and in space…Trust is basically bound up, not with risk, but with contingency. Trust always carries the connotation of reliability in the face of contingency outcomes, whether these concern the actions of individuals or the operation of systems’ (Giddens 2009, The consequences of modernity, p. 33).

  ‘In conditions of modernity, larger and larger numbers of people live in circumstances in which disembedded institutions, linking local practices with globalised social relations, organise major aspects of day-to-day life…By [reembedding] I mean the reappropriation or recasting of disembedded social relations so as to pin them down (however partially or transitorily) to local conditions of time and place’ (Giddens p. 79-80, emphasis in the original).

Zizek, Slavoj: On Violence


- Robespierre or the "Divine Violence" of Terror. See


- Benjamin, Walter. (1978). ‘Critique of Violence’. In Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writings. New York: Schocken Books. See

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