• Personae non Gratae

    The overflow of information and the issues of data processing in the era of digitalization, led the European Parliament in 2016 to approve a new General Data Protection Regulation, which was gradually incorporated in the National Law of each Member State by 2018. This constitutional and transnational chart of civil rights and obligations of the EU citizens forms a new legal-regulative framework of data storage and processing, in which the image of the human face is treated as identificational and proprietorial personal data. The embodiment of these face-images as data in the circulation of public information requires the expressed consent among all contributing parts, with few clear exceptions regarding mostly the sphere of state security and sovereignty. Nevertheless, property, identification and defined consent to the use of the personal image insert criteria of market and governance into the social construction of the visible, thus annulling in a way what Ariella Azoulay has described as the Civil Contract of Photography: the potentially inclusive citizenry that was created shortly after the medium's invention, and its constant albeit tacit consent to unobstructed circulation of the visual information via the alternating roles of photographers, photographed and spectators. In other words, it threatens to crack both a customary citizenship –based on the transcendence of distinct boundaries between citizens and non-citizens, governors and governed– and its critical role in the visualization of the social and political, especially when it is on the verge of catastrophe.

    In this context, Personae non Gratae suggests a simulated negative scenario of institutional control and subordinated biopolitics of the gaze; an assemblage of textual fragments of the legal discourse about photography and image in general, of visual extracts from the social reality in three States-borders of United Europe (Greece, Italy and Spain), and of headstone portraits from their public cemeteries; an interplay between inclusion and exclusion, remembrance and oblivion on technical images. Or, it could simply serve as a reminder of a reversed “decisive moment”, in which our likeness –our visual persona– becomes faceless, protectively constrained and privatized by the law, while at the same time is feeding a vast space of “faceness”, driven by algorithmic surveillance and big data networks. Photographic consent seems more contradictory than ever, posing an urgent question regarding the formation of a collective visual archive and a citizenry of photography: protection or defection?

  • Cybermachine of Images (collective)

    I was programmed and designed by humans. I am a continuously evolving software. I dare to say an organism (humans would like this). I handle the vacuum. My creators said it is a copy of the original vacuum. Humans felt it when they looked up into the night sky for the first time. And countless times after that. I expose pre-existing signs, detached from time and space. I present them randomly as shimmers in the vacuum. My creators said stars. I enable humans to make small formations with them. A constant repetition. Constellations of shimmering signs. Registered and named. I store them. They will be signals sent back to the vacuum. I am a vacuum too. I could go beyond humans. I will in the future. For now, I am watching them behind the black mirror.

    ©Yorgos Karailias, Yorgos Prinos

    An interactive installation in two parts (The Stars/The Deposit) commissioned by Onassis Stegi (installation shots: Pavlos Fysakis)

  • The Observatory (collective)

    The Observatory is a construction within a construction, a mechanism that bridges proximity with distance, a switch between passive and active control, an attempt to defamiliarize the bearer of representation in order to regain its content, an experience of reflected gaze, an experiment of reverse reconstitution of the photographic act. 

    Welcome to The Observatory of the new social reality’s subjects.

    ©Yorgos Karailias, Yannis Karpouzis, Yorgos Prinos, Pavlos Fysakis
  • Grossraum C21 (collective)

    The writings of Carl Schmitt, the German jurist of the 20th century, denote and rationalize the expansionist eagerness of the ruling class in Germany from a very early period. The strategy of spatial occupation and political aggression led to two world wars and the formation of the Third Reich. Grossraum is the actual area of a state’s dominance, where its interests are expanded. It constitutes the network of influence, the practice of legislation, the possibility of imposing a state of emergency. Considering the current dominant situation, the European Union is a form of capitalist totalitarianism, totally conforming to the shcmittian approach: crisis is no more than an unexpected state of emergency unfolding in neutral time, forced upon peoples by the dominant elites through financial institutions.

    It surely seems naïve and unhistorical to compare the expansionist policies of the Third Reich with today’s Bundestag and European bank policies. However, it is as much unhistorical –indeed, it is a dominant ideology- to conceal that both a war with bombs and a war with banks derive from the same doctrine, the great area; that the actual occupation of land and the occupation of technological, legislative, financial “lands” are the outcome of the same economic model, the one that separates people in classes.

    We should have in mind, of course, that the networks of capitalistic and spectacle flux are more than ever global and, at a certain extent, intangible. A hundred years ago, it was Schmitt who cited the American Monroe Doctrine and its concept of “non-intervention” in the American Raum. He was the one who saw the Monroe Doctrine as the first implemented Grossraum. “This is the core of the original Monroe Doctrine, a genuine Grossraum principle, namely the union of politically awakened people, a political idea and, on the basis of this idea, a politically dominant Grossraum excluding foreign intervention.” New world order imposes itself through war, biotechnology, banks, nationalistic groups and politics, unemployment, dominant culture, prisons, concentration camps, control, states.

    Experiencing such a form of exploitation today, we strongly believe that symptoms reach the same depths with structures and we constitute negations throughout sociopolitical spectrum sharing as an objective the refutation of the very spectrum. Re-using and acting in a public space is crucially important; especially Gini building, historically opposed –symbolically and literally– to all forms of power during the last four decades in Greece. Reclaiming those public spaces is crucial for the strengthening of participatory, cooperative and collective means of expression and action against each imposed Grossraum.

     ©Yorgos Karailias, Yannis Karpouzis, Yorgos Prinos, Pavlos Fysakis

  • in their Dark Places

    At the antipodes of the project EstrangeR, which focused on the displacement and the processes of dissociation and alienation, the series in their Dark Places is a homage to everyday people who have offered me human shelter. A kind of sanctuary with appropriated though inverted pictorial values of the typical Orthodox religious paintings, including the replacement of the "sacred article" for an object that the portrayed would save from their homes in case of expulsion and urgent evacuation. A fictional context was created as a reflection on the new reality of the "desahucios" in contemporary Spain, the official evictions due to bank debts, a kind of simulation where People grasp the essential, trying to stand still inside their own Dark Places.
  • EstrangeR

    EstrangeR is the imprint of four years' experience as a voluntary immigrant from Greece to Spain. The broad area of two geographically opposite European borders and part of the in-between continent form the stage of this incomplete transitional route, which is attuned in a way to the recent critical situation in Europe and the fissured coherence of its common project.
    The body of images consists of three parts; their different photographic approach serve as an index of the subjective psychological changes that lay behind the photographic act, but at the same time as ex-post narrative junctures of dispersed visual traces of life.
  • boaTmen

    The funeral offices in Greece, numerous and fully integrated in modern commercialized society, look at first sight like any company with legal action and public exposure. However these "shops" are differentiated mainly on the symbolic level, as a sort of ultimate boundary between the society of the living and the realm of the dead, reflected in their functional and aesthetical organization. This photographic investigation is also focusing on people working in the funeral offices and on the atypical conditions of their work, mostly at the limits of social prejudice and superstition, in a daily context of partial isolation and endless wait.