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Apollo’s Placebo
Arnaud Chevalier & James Needham-Walker / 25 min

During the Performance Art Study we both were separately researching on the relation to our body as we were exploring the image of violence, injuries, illness. It led us to a duo performance on the focus of paradoxes.

One of our starting point was the ambiguity of masculinity as expressed on the work of Jean Genet. It allowed us to exchange about our interest and memories and led us to the image we presented. During this process we discovered the myth of Marsyas who chal-lenged Apollo to a music competition to be judged by the Muses. The victor was to treat the vanquished in anyway they saw fit - inevitably Marsyas lost and the God Apollo flayed him alive and nailed his skin to a tree. The myth caries a reflexion about art and his com-mitment as it speaks about male competition and arrogance.

The work explored the dualities of male roles and their associated behaviours, particularly in institutional settings such as boys homes, prisons, schools and hospitals. We were particularly interested in the interconnected yet slippery dichotomies of violence/tenderness, power/weakness, rage/love, beauty/ugliness that is often enacted within these sites through roles such as Guard/Prisoner, Father/Son, Cop/ Criminal, Man/Boy, Torturer/Victim.

The performance, staged in the foyer of the guesthouse on Forte Marghera was respon-sive to the histories of this site: military headquarters, military prison, hospital.It was a face to face performance exploring our differences and similarities through gestures and images.