Flamingo Theatre, 2019, video, 13 minutes (excerpt)
Anafi Island, Greece, 2019
Phenomenon 3, A residency and an exhibition held in the Aegean island of Anafi, Greece. It is organized by the Association Phenomenon and the Collection Kerenidis Pepe.
For the Phenomenon 3 exhibition Kallinikou brings together works from Flamingo theatre (2016) , Over the Horizon (2018), Star gaze (2019), Mouflon (2019)
Kallinikou’s practice is characterised by an interest in the function of the gaze as an embodied experience which determines the ways in which we comprehend and interact with our surroundings. In ‘Star Gaze’ (2019), he once again climbs to Olympus, the peak of the Troodos mountain range. Troodos was created from volcanic activity 90 million years ago: its geographical coordinates place us at the highest point in Cyprus whilst geologically we are located at the bottom of the ancient ocean of Tethys. It is from this height and from this history laying under his feet that Kallinikou turns his gaze upwards towards the starry sky, a dome which allows us to look upon a past whose light is travelling to us. These thoughts accompanied Kallinikou to the snowed Olympus. Whilst checking a shot on the camera’s screen, he noticed a weird aura-like mark on the image that bewildered and fascinated him. Due to the biting cold, the condensation of his breath was recorded on the photograph. Recognising in this ‘accident’ a poetic dimension, he continued to photograph whilst breathing next to the lens, blurring the boundaries between bodily and mechanic operations. The resulting photographs bridge the sky’s macrocosm with the earth’s microcosm and imbue the work with speculative qualities regarding the reconfiguration of relations between space, time and matter.
In Over The Horizon 2018 Kallinikou climbs to the top of the castles of Pentadaktylos, which were built by the Byzantines in the 11th century BC, used by the Franks and destroyed by the Venetians. The ascend of the photographer to the top of the mountain through physical effort carries special importance. The position of power is conquered by and with the body and the camera remains attached to the photographer, acting as an extension of the hand. Kallinikou therefore climbs to the top of the castles and activates his gaze upon the plains, the mountain tops and the seas, as a guard in the Middle ages would do. The difference is that he is not armed with a spear and a bow but with a camera…
Flamingo Theatre is located within the British Western Sovereign Base Area, one of two territories (the other being Dhekelia) controversially retained by the British under the 1960 treaty of independence. Kallinikou explores the relationship between the military base used for monitoring the developments in the Middle east with the natural habitat of the Akrotiri salt lake in Limassol, one of easters Mediterranean most important wetlands hosting thousands migratory birds that temporarily live at the salt lake and continue their journey.
According to mythology, the name of the Anafi (Ἀνάφη) island is derived from ‘ἀνέφηνεν’, meaning ‘he made appear’, because the Greek god Apollo revealed it to the Argonauts as a shelter from a bad storm, using his bow to shed light upon it. Inspired by this narration, Kallinikou went online to research the ancient text by Orpheus knows as Argonautica, and took a screenshot of the word ἀνέφηνεν. He then blew up this screenshot in a seven-meter print, with the word became pixelated and placed it on a wall facing the sea. His gesture, underlined by the historical method of returning to a primary source as a starting point, underlines issues around the relation between language and phenomenon, abstraction and photography.