Performing as Maismenos

Maismenos’ video ± THE OILY LAND ± certainly has a finished artwork on a wall which is essential to the overall piece, but that doesn’t mean the piece is any less about the performance and the video as the end result. Throughout the video, there are extremely short clips of politicians, soldiers, terrorism and war, including a few clips that can be identified as tied to wars in the Middle East. Maismenos appears dressed in an all-black outfit reminiscent of that of a Medieval crusader. Using a special pole with an attachment in the shape of his logo (this symbol: ±) which magnetically attaches to large letter-shaped stamps, Maismenos stamps out the phrase “THE CRUDESADES” onto a wall before posing proudly in front of the finished piece. There seem to be no hints in the video as to where the piece might be located, but it doesn’t seem to be in a particularly populated area. That hardly matters though, since anyone who does see the phrase in real life would only get the partial experience. They would not get news footage fed to them at a rapid pace. They would not get Maismenos in costume. They would not get to see the piece being installed in an odd way. Even photographs would not fully capture the experience of ± THE OILY LAND ±. What Maismenos did was make a piece of video art that happens to include a piece of street art in it.

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