6/1/13 4:47 PM
What would it mean to be a truly democratic subject? In her search for an answer to this question, Kim Miller has looked far and wide, including to Northern Thailand and to a local theater troupe of disabled actors. She has also gone back in time, to the place where such ideas first began to take shape: ancient Greece. In her performance video “Theater of Heavy Clouds,” Miller takes on the role of Aristophanes, the Greek playwright famous not only for writing the first comedy but also for so poorly portraying Socrates in one of his plays that the philosopher was eventually executed. In the deliberately scrappy video, with its stilted directional captions and wind-blown non-set, Miller portrays Aristophanes as an uncannily contemporary type, alienated and deluded in the ways of celebrity and image-based culture. How could this be the birthplace of democracy, and how could it be instilled via the theater of one so self-centered as Aristophanes seems to be? If there is hope for this mythic democratic subject today, it must be off stage somewhere, not listening too hard to the celebrities bent on hogging the camera, and certainly not taking them seriously enough to go out and kill at their behest.