Son of a Patriarch is an ongoing process developing into a performance and internet art work that blends gender identities, dominant gender representations and mannerisms, popular culture, desires, fear, anxiety, humour. The title is a wordplay on the expression "son of a bitch", -- similar expressions of which can be found in other languages eg. "hijo de puta" in Spanish, "πουτάνας γιέ" (pr. poutanas yie) in Greek (both these expressions mean "son of a whore" but they are used to the same effect). These expressions always include a feminine noun that carries a derogatory meaning paired with the word for son. So, who/what is a patriarch? How do we recognise them? What are their characteristics? Breaking down the word itself it is about a male figure who is a leader. Is it the most male word there is? What does it mean to be a man? Not being a woman?
Georges Jacotey has been preoccupied for a while with the issue of hegemonic masculinity and all the norms and representations constructed by years and years of the dominant patriarchy within most societies. Gender identity is one of the many aspects of humanity that is commonly singled out and attacked repeatedly, especially at times characterised by a similar to the conservative, often neo-liberal, climate that is gripping a number of contemporary societies currently. Dominant visual and linguistic representations reinforce fixed binary gender identities and accepted behaviours (straight male -- straight female), insidiously sustaining certain attitudes and hate-filled conditions within different societal structures: the feminine is regarded as negative and below par in relation to the masculine, calling a man gay is still a major insult, identifying as LGBTQ or even discussing anything that veers away from heterosexuality is on the verge of criminality or a criminal act in many places -- we have been reminded of this with recent law changes in Russia banning "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors", whatever that means. With Son of a Patriarch Jacotey is attempting to develop a body of research around those subjects and create work by playing with stereotypical and dominant masculine and feminine behaviours.
ZINO and Jacotey have been working together for a few months now discussing and exchanging ideas, opinions, materials, research. The internet has become their main studio site what with Georges Jacotey in Drama, Eleni Bagaki in Athens and Zoe Charaktinou in London. Jacotey, Bagaki and Charaktinou have each noted and highlighted some of Son of a Patriarch's elements in their exchanges that in turn have raised several other considerations for each one of them, artistic and beyond.
Son of a Patriarch has grown beyond Georges Jacotey and it is still growing -- the process is ongoing, the project is in progress. As it stands now, Son of a Patriarch comprises of various parts: a varied online presence, performances, videos, images, texts, our coexistence.
Text by Zoe Charaktinou
Big thx to Marya Repousi for helping making this video.