September 2018–January 2019
Römerstraße 2, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, Delphi Arthauskino, Climax
Gemini will unfold in three parts – an issue on the online publication platform Schlosspost, an event series and a twofold exhibition in Stuttgart. The project is curated by anorak and realised in cooperation with Akademie Schloss Solitude, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart and Delphi Arthauskino.
Myths are stories about people who became too big for their lives temporarily, so that they crash into other lives or brush against gods.(1)
Gemini is the Latin word for ‘twins’ as well as the astrological star sign. Through the figure of the double, Gemini seeks to explore ways in which myth, fate and history – forms of preconceived narratives – trigger processes of identification within imaginaries of the present. The central question of the project is how subjectivities are shaped through the stories that we tell ourselves, that we are subject of and to.
In storytelling lies a desire to put things into place and time, a longing for an enclosed form, position, and belonging. Narratives, both, the ones we are told and the ones we tell, offer moments of identification. In doing so, they guarantee pleasure, as well as disappointment and doubt. Identification occurs when something is allowed to coincide with itself. Strangely though, it can also be described as the experience of an other being fundamentally different, exterior from ourselves, and essentially inaccessible — “it is no longer ‘you are here’ that counts, but the fact that ‘you are you’.”(2)
Have you ever fallen in love?
Isn’t it curious that Romeo and Juliet (the “star cross’d lovers”)(3), is essentially based on error. The cunning plan of staging Juliet’s death is completed by Romeo mistaking her for being dead which eventually leads to both taking their lives. The tragedy however, lies not in the literary form nor in their death, but in the coincidence of the expected taking place. Indeed, their fate is already announced in the prologue, and yet, it is the very moment of the foreseen violently crashing into reality that leaves us in awe.
Is tragedy a choice?(4)
Gemini inquires into the affective power of this strange sensation that seems to reveal a surplus, an excess, and estrangement inherent in identification. Let’s sit with it a little bit and not forget that the play is not yet over. It is not death in which Romeo and Juliet concludes, but the chaos the citizens of Verona are left with. And so are we.
If we think of identification in a way that takes mistake and error into account, if we think that it is always tied to mistaking something for something else, would then not estrangement and bewilderment become the defining and productive framework for subjectivity?
We mistrust the cathartic effect of crisis. We doubt the notion of the disruptive event which eradicates the past. Gemini does not seek purification. Neither is its attitude fatalistic, nor does it propose a new beginning. Instead it is an attempt to critically approach and face the ways in which subjectivities, communities and societies are formed by identification processes that are fundamentally mysterious and paradoxical.
(1) Anne Carson, Grief Lessons – Four Plays Euripides, nyrb (2006), p. 8
(2) Clément Rosset, Le régime des passions, Paris (2001), p. 16, quoted in Alenka Zupančič, The Double and Its Relationship to the Real (2015)
(3) Cp. William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Prologue) (1597) [a very stereotypical example indeed]
(4) Ellen Cantor, Pinochet Porn, Super 8mm transferred to video (black and white and colour, sound), 123 min (2008-16)
Supported by the City of Stuttgart, the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts, Baden-Württemberg, and anorak e.V. membership fees.