Electricity derives its name from electron, which is the Greek word for amber from which the bright spark leaps. Electron contains the syllable el contained in hell or German Helligkeit, also in the name of the Greek character of Helena and the Hellenes. The deep conceptual ambivalence of “hell” and “el” indicates a path to another story of energy to which obviously the figure of Electra forms the doorway. Electra is the shiny, bright one. Her story is the legacy of the Earth’s system, i.e. of an Earth’s insider, or what Bruno Latour called in his recent “Facing Gaia Lectures” (2013) “the scattered people of the Earth.” Electra works like a beacon leading into the field of “Gaia theology” (Latour) or “geosophy,” as Elisabeth von Samsonow would call it. Electra then is the ambassadress, or prophetess, of the Earth’s inside (“hell”) and, as she has something to say, her mouth is ritually opened. Electricity can be understood as a major feature of the Earth, its character. Electra’s privation of subjectivity (according to Greek and European dramatists) paralleled by her being drowned in “feeling” makes her an electric device under high tension or “hysterical”. She is the current of floating sensations. Electra is the divine girl, the Earth’s daughter, half born, half unborn. The statue was created in 2007 when Elisabeth von Samsonow’s book “Anti Elektra. Totemismus und Schizogamie” was published in German (Diaphanes, Zurich and Berlin). In 2009, a performance procession was enacted, followed by the transportation of the statue to Vienna where it was coated with gold. Gold is the element that has the largest number of electrons. The gilded statue of Electra is now easily detectable from outer space with a high resolution electronic microscope.

(Translation: Michael Hall)


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Elektra, Lower Belvedere Vienna,                   Mouth Opening Ritual ELECTRA,
Exhibition GOLD                                             GALLERY53 Vienna 2011
curated by Thomas Zaunschirm