project image
Nicolaos Zafiriou

first performed on October 29, 2011
Les Halles, Brussels, Belgium
performed twice in 2011


Hamburg, Germany


This performance was performed over two days in two large images, each lasting four hours. The first image, entitled “The Speech,” showed my body as a ruler who is announcing the greatest offensive of the battle which will never happen. In the second image, entitled “The Day Of Defiance,” I took the defensive body, surrounded by four big red flags, pledging, waving, saluting and waiting for the song of Sacred War, facing debacles and eventual triumph.

I can’t precisely say what inspired me for doing “The Absolute,” but I remember that I have been constantly haunted by an image of a Dictator. It took me almost a year to get this idea to the desired shape and to finally justify all elements in this minimalistic but fully charged performance. “The Absolute” is one of the most radical and demanding live performances I have ever performed. The first image lasted for four hours without break and was very intense, demanding constant full attention and extreme concentration, since “The Speech” was fully improvised and constantly controlled. I may say that in the beginning I was inspired by Lenin’s public speeches, sometimes even being inspired by the body language of controversial Joseph Goebbels while giving the speech. I wanted to construct this highly dominant body standing on a two-meter high wooden platform, giving the speech to the audience, mostly addressing them as a society, intending to manipulate them and finally make them my army.

One may say it was acting. No, it was not acting, but rather more getting rid of a Dictator’s body that already inhabits my body. The audience was mainly quiet and frontally positioned, observing this as a theatrical piece. I was constantly present, standing in the box and giving the speech. Sometimes I was motionless, pretending to mesmerise the audience and keep them in front of me as long as possible. Some limited amount of justified movements were permitted. The lightning was static and specially designated for that occasion.

The second part was entitled “The Day of Defiance” which was partly static and partly dynamic. I was surrounded by four red flags, and was getting ready for a battle that will never happen. It started with a pledge to the flag, following by intensive salutations, hopes and debacles. The final hour, at last, was the beginning of the battle…