Pythagorean Lecture: the Irreducible Surplus Matter

Performance at the opening of Forensis.

Berlin, 14.03.2014.

The Srebrenica genocide has become a complex object constructed by science, religion, and trauma administration; by the advanced forensic apparatus of re-association of the mortal remains of the executed. Can we make a matheme of the Srebrenica genocide that is going to be legible a hundred years from now? Can we convey knowledge without historicization, images, lab visits, or DNA data processed by the International Commission on Missing Persons? The Yugoslav wars were an act of negation. How do we articulate an affirmative, emancipatory politics out of an entropy-inducing negativity?

Grupa Spomenik’s performance Pythagorean Lecture: the Irreducible Surplus Matter is an intervention into these “matter-of-fact” forensics, which, by reducing victims’ bodily remains to re-associated evidence and assigning them an ethnic identity, ultimately reproduce the ideology of genocide. But not all the remains yield to DNA identification. The performance takes the form of an acousmatheme, a specific form of knowledge transmission devised by the Pythagoreans. Positioning the lecturer behind a curtain determines the dynamics of a Pythagorean lecture with the acousmatic voice as the only source of information and representation. The acousmatic voice brings to the fore exactly that remaining, irreducible surplus matter that refuses to be forensified.

Grupa Spomenik (Damir Arsenijević, Ana Bezić, Pavle Levi, Jelena Petrović, Branimir Stojanović, Milica Tomić) with DeLVe (Ivana Bago and Antonia Majača) and Branislav Jakovljević

Tuzla / Ljubljana / Rijeka / Belgrade / San Francisco / Berlin / Durham, 2008–14