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La Biennale di Venezia

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Biennale Teatro 2022

Samira Elagoz

Silver Lion

Award ceremony

Friday 1 July 2022, 12:00 noon
Ca’ Giustinian, Venice

Samira Elagoz

La Biennale di Venezia will present the Silver Lion to Samira Elagoz.

Stefano Ricci and Gianni Forte write in the motivation for the award: “Bringing his body to the stage and visually sectioning it with its paradoxes and its multiform facets the way Nan Goldin does, focusing his implacable gaze on solitude, on the human relationship between genders in the digital era and in a society that eschews regularisation and control, exploring the porous boundaries between the real and the virtual, investigating the effects of love, gender, femininity, desire, its consequent annihilation and the brutal covert power plays, Samira Elagoz embarks on a journey that is intimate and poetic, yet ironic and perturbing at the same time, exploring the clichés and issues that concern not only self-representation in the media, the behaviour of the male in his attempts at seduction in a relationship of domination and/or submission, as well as the tool-body as the terrain for a necessary and inevitable artistic experimentation.

Camera in hand, using his own self and relying on personal experiences cultivated on applications and websites, amalgamated with videos and photographic footage of real life, highlighting the manipulation of bodies on these platforms and skilfully broadening the typical relationships between masculinty and femininity online, in his creations Samira Elagoz flirts with the infinite possibilities of performance to shape an original language and offers us ¬– with the aim of experimenting his own changing gender identity as an expressive devining road – a unique brand of performance-reporting, multimedia happening and docufiction”.

Biographical notes

Samira Elagoz (Helsinki, 1989) is a Finnish/Egyptian filmmaker and performance artist based in Amsterdam/Berlin. He graduated with a choreography BA from the Amsterdam University of the Arts in 2016. From 2013 till 2019, when still a female artist, Elagoz dedicated his artistic practice to researching and filming cis-men and building an extensive collection of first encounters with male strangers arranged through various online platforms. Elagoz toured the world nonstop for 5 years, pre and post #metoo, with his performance Cock, Cock, Who’s There? which dealt with sexual violence. On a quest to find intimacy after touring so many years, he realizes that the show started as a genuine ode to being a woman, but revealed itself to be a farewell to being one. Now he identifies as a transmasculine with a high femme past.

A recurring topic for Elagoz is masculinity and men. While his previous works explored cis-men and masculinity in its different forms from an outside position when still identifying as a woman, his latest work Seek Bromance (2021) changes the vantage point as Elagoz captured his own transition. Elagoz has dedicated his career and being to the discourse on gender, sexual violence and its aftermath, the male gaze, digital romanticism, and intimate encounters. Educated in performative arts, he incorporates aspects of this medium with that of video and film, creating his own unique brand of “docu-fiction”. The most indicative parts of his filmings are that he doesn’t use actors or performers and always puts himself inside his films as a vérité-esque observer who is also being observed. Elagoz never uses scripts, refuses to work in studios, and wants to gather up real-life events. He has been a comrade, a lover, a confidant, and a sidekick.

Elagoz has toured with his works in various international film, visual art, and performance contexts. In 2014 Elagoz won the visual art competition Blooom Award in Cologne with his first short Four Kings. His documentary-performance Cock, Cock, Who’s There? won the Prix Jardin d’Europe competition at Impulstanz 2017. And at Edinburgh Fringe it won the Total Theatre Awards for Emerging talent. His first feature film Craigslist Allstars had its premiere in 2016 at IDFA, the world’s biggest festival for documentary. It was nominated in the main competition for best international films at CPH:DOX 2017.

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