YIANNIS MELANITIS Internal Syllables ITHACA 2008 [T/A] - x +

CN: MelY2008itha

MT: mixed media: hydro-silicone, cloth, blown glass, plaster, in perspex vitrine (51x34x53 / P:90x34x53)

IL: Megakles Rogakos 2009, p.60-61

CT: E31 Gallery, Athens - 2009

CM: Internal Syllables - ITHACA belongs to a series of Yiannis Melanitis artworks corresponding to in Homer's "Odyssey" and in James Joyce's "Ulysses". Melanitis identifies with Joyce in his intention "not only to render the myth 'sub specie temporis nostri' but also to allow each adventure to condition and even to create its own technique" [James Joyce, "Selected Letters", 1975, p.271] . The labyrinthine "Ulysses" of James Joyce consists of a multi-layered text that seems to proceed through unclear overlaps in time, although the action takes place in 18 chapters, spaced approximately one hour apart from each other, starting at 8 am on Thursday, 16 June 1904, and ending in the early hours of the following day . Dubious destinations, reputation, rhetorical ability, press, these are the Joycean parallels that recall the course of Lafcadio. In particular, the seventh chapter entitled Aeolus is compared by Joyce himself with the art of rhetoric. Stylistically, the Aeolus chapter refers to an internal monologue, which - like the headlines of newspapers - interrupts the narrative.

Internal Syllables reconstructs the course exactly of this monologue. The language likewise presents a reversal, where the syllables - broken on architectural fragments - are meant as derivatives of such transposition. The syllables start from the oral form via the cast of the mouth's cavity and through the glass section, which is reminiscent of a quill, terminates in the written form via the crushed inscription "ITHACA". The whole work is based on a rectangular set design, a reminder of the royal residence. The spatial reversal of the speech corresponds to the mental reversal of the text. In this sense, the syllables are the result of an anatomical distortion. This brings to mind Odysseus' invention of calling himself with the pseudonym "Outis", which literally means "Noman" in an attempt to deceive Polyphemus. In this way, Odysseus is the first modern man to use his intellect as an expression of human nature in order to connect the diverse cultures that he comes across, as a ploy to trick pre-cultural nature of the Cyclops and as a means of returning to the pre-Ithaca state, in a dispute that leads to the recovery of royal authority.

Following a similar path, Lafcadio, author of Odyssean wanderings and heterogeneous literary work, identifies with the Homeric model as the link of the horizon's four cardinal points, a role given to Odysseus particularly in the post-Ithaca period, in keeping with Tiresias' oracle - to move north, to the countries where people are unaware of the sea to appease Poseidon for blinding his son. Lafcadio linked two seemingly heterogeneous cultures in the person of a modern Western man. Melanitis proposes the theory that in Ulysses as in the case of Lafcadio, "the wandering and intellect move together and transform, as if they are both the payload and the ballast of the hero".

[Megakles Rogakos 07/2009]

ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn 2009 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens