The Assassination of Guy Debord
Participatory installation & performance: May 12, 2017, 6–8:30pm
European Convention Center Luxembourg (ECCL)
Place de l’ Europe, 4
1499, City of Luxembourg
Through his new multi-part work, titled The Assassination of Guy Debord, Bill Balaskas will reflect on the current status of Europe, by presenting a participatory installation and a performance at the European Convention Center in Luxembourg (ECCL)—the site that hosts the meetings of the Council of the European Union for three months every year.
European citizens feel today less politically empowered than ever in recent times. Confidence in democracy and its institutions has been undermined, and this context of demerit constitutes a growing danger for the character of European societies. As developments like “Brexit” are putting under question the collective future of Europe, fighting against the uncritical spectacularization of the public sphere appears as a matter of urgency.
However, 50 years after the publication of Guy Debord’s seminal work The Society of the Spectacle (1967), European politics seem to be dominated by the image and its manipulation. Debord’s radical beliefs, his role in the student protests of 1968 and his suicide in 1994 made him, for a long time, a rather contentious figure within European political intelligentsia. Yet, as we are experiencing the rapid rise of a post-truth world dominated by spectacle, it has become increasingly hard to contest Debord’s pioneering thought.
Bill Balaskas’s staging of The Assassination of Guy Debord at the European Convention Center will highlight those conditions of crisis. The artist’s performance will function as a reminder of Debord’s assertions through 73 readings from The Society of the Spectacle, which will take place from the 73 front-row seats that are regularly occupied by Europe’s leaders. At the same time, the installation at the entrance of the conference room will invite the members of the public to literally devour a deconstructed flag of the EU, thus questioning the notion of civic participation and the role of demos in the building and dismantling of Europe.
Bill Balaskas (b. 1983) is a London-based artist, writer and academic. He studied economics in his home country Greece, before obtaining an MA and a PhD from the Royal College of Art in London. His works have been widely exhibited internationally, in more than 120 exhibitions. He has received nominations for numerous awards, including the 2013 AUDI Art Award of Art Cologne for the most innovative young artist. In 2012, he represented the United Kingdom in the London Cultural Olympiad and in Maribor, the European Capital of Culture, with his video Parthenon Rising (2010). In parallel with his artistic practice, Balaskas is an editor for the Leonardo Electronic Almanac (The MIT Press), while his writings have also appeared in publications such as the Journal of Visual Culture, Third Text and Revista Arta. Recent exhibitions include: MACBA, Barcelona; Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Athens; Almeida Garret Galeria Municipal, Porto; Fundació Palma Espai d’Art – Casal Solleric, Palma de Mallorca; Kalfayan Galleries, Athens; ARTIUM, Vitoria (2016); CA2M, Madrid; Les Chiroux, Liege; State of Concept, Athens (2015); BOZAR, Brussels; John Hansard Gallery, Southampton; Transmediale, Berlin; Le CENTQUATRE, Paris; ΤΕΝΤ, Rotterdam; Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland (2014). Bill Balaskas is represented by Kalfayan Galleries, Athens – Thessaloniki.
The Assassination of Guy Debord is presented in the context of the theme-based event series Friday Island. The theme specified for this edition is POWER. The Friday Island events are curated by Gianfranco Celestino and Katharina Bintz.
The performance is kindly supported by the University for the Creative Arts.