DIMITRIOS ANTONITSIS Mother's Day 2002-2007 [S] - x +
AnDi2002moth


CN: AnDi2002moth

MT: film transfer to DVD (16:00)

PF: Sister Pelagia

DN: Mr. Dimitrios Antonitsis - 2007

CM: Sister Pelagia had once narrated to Dimitrios Antonitsis the story of a miracle that she had experienced and which has been repeated to her since. While preparing the skull of Saint Constantine of Hydra for the annual pilgrimage on 14 November, suddenly the holly relic began to emit a beautiful perfume, which transubstantiated her. Antonitsis made a video of Sister Pelagia narrating the life of Saint Constantine of Hydra, a stirring story in the period of Greece's occupation by the Ottomans. Before Saint Constantine of Hydra became sanctified he served as superintendent of the Ottoman Empire , in charge of the area of the Dodecanese , based on Rhodes Island. In brief, when at one time he returned to his native land, Hydra Island , bearing gifts for his mother, she rejected him. Without even opening the door to see him, she said with sorrow: "I gave birth to an Orthodox Greek by the name Constantine, not to an Othoman known as Hassan". The fact that his mother deserted him for the career in politics he chose for himself put Constantine in deep thought, which led him to repentance. Upon returning to Rhodes he declared his decision to revert to Christianity and to give up his office. No sooner had he made the announcement than he was thrown to jail, where he became a martyr. Antonitsis called this video Mother's Day because it was through the mother's love that the son was saved from sin.

In Mother's Day the viewer sees Sister Pelagia, who subconsciously experiences the drama of the Saint Constantine's life. Antonitsis chose to edit the silences and pauses of the narrative by the Sister, accentuating dramatically their expression through the effect of 'split screen' and 'noise'. Insertions of such effects make the picture intentionally illegible and inaccessible to the contemporary standards of the average video consumer. It is also worth pointing out that the expediently distorted image expreses another viewpoint of Antonitsis art, one which differs from the approach he is known for. The metaphysical dimension of the present video calls for the concentration and attention of a devoted viewer.

The video was shot in cinematic film in 2002 and was digitally remastered in its final form in 2007. With consistency and cohesion in the genre of this particular subject, elements that remain present were toned down - such as the color; the sound; and the action. The original film was in color, but a decision was taken to desaturate it. The sound that is heard is on the one hand of the space that encorporates the metaphysical dimension of an expressive silence, and on the other of a bell that rang on its own in the wind with reference to bitonic music. The video captures a simple and minimalist action, as becomes the representation of a metaphysical mystery. It begins with a single-shot scene that records the full height of a cypress tree, then passes past a marble monument with a cross, to capitulate on the face of the narrator. The Sister's normal clothes - the typical suit of a nun, leaving a triangular opening for the eyes, nose and mouth - is reminiscent of Rei Kawakubo's clothes, which are designed with characteristic austerity. Essentially Mother's Day is a choreograph of pasues, like in ancient Greek tragedy, Japanese theater and the works of Bob Wilson. It offers an alternative to the flow of contemporary movies, where everything runs quickly, to the disadvantage of the subject's essence. It presents a view and a position that is so unususual for contemporary standars that it deserves to be experienced. The contemporary viewer nearly ignores the value of the absence of action; the quiet flow of images; and the plot of spiritual dimension - the aspects which make Mother's Day a monumental portrait / still-life.

[Megakles Rogakos 09/2007]

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