Press Releases : 2014/11

Upcoming within OCA's Notations

Published 2014/11/26


‘Pirates, exiles, runaway youths, merchants and other migrants in ancient Italy and Plautus: the comedy and reality of a borderless world’
A lecture by Elena Isayev

Within the programme ‘Of Love, Departures and Countering Defeats in Choleric Times. Three Stagings’

Wednesday, 10 December 2014 / 19:00
Live audio streaming

Office for Contemporary Art Norway 

Nedre gate 7, 0551 Oslo I

In conclusion of this season's discursive programme, OCA welcomes historian Elena Isayev on Wednesday 10 December 2014 at 19:00 for a lecture titled ‘Pirates, exiles, runaway youths, merchants and other migrants in ancient Italy and Plautus: the comedy and reality of a borderless world.’

High rates of migration are often seen as the prerogative of the modern global condition, yet the evidence from the ancient world surprises us, as to the quotidian nature of mobility. Isayev’s presentation will explore the possibility of knowing the extent of movement in the Mediterranean in the last centuries before the Christian Era, and the problems of trying to apply our contemporary concept of migration to this context. In particular Isayev will focus on ancient Italy through one of the earliest remaining Latin works, the comedies of Plautus – one of the most interesting narrators of the period.

Throughout the lecture, Isayev will present a society which had no national borders, nor citizenship which was defined by territory. As such the presentation will end with a brief exploration of how space and place were differently perceived in a world uninterested in mapping out territory, preferring an alternative kind of cartography.

The discussion is part of Staging One in the programme Of Love, Departures and Countering Defeats in Choleric Times. Three Stagings, a project that evolves through three individual, yet interconnected stagings involving lecture performances, talks, unfinished moments and exhibition fragments, all of which contribute to speculations around the choleric moment we are experiencing globally.

About the Speaker
Elena Isayev is an Associate Professor of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Exeter, UK. As an historian she uses the ancient Mediterranean to explore questions about society, belonging and perception. Her research and teaching interests range from re-constructing histories of pre-Roman groups in South Italy, by using the rich material remains, to de-constructing theories of generation conflict and youth in Republican Rome. The most current research concerns human mobility, the construction of place, and the fragility of the bond between site and memory. The aim of these investigations is to challenge preconceived ideas and stereotypes within and about ancient society, and the effect that these have on our understanding of the contemporary world. Isayev is a keen supporter of interdisciplinary initiatives, and has organised workshops on peace, poverty, and suicide, and was co-director of the Migrations Network at Exeter University. She is the founder of the Future Memory projects, first funded by the ‘AHRC Beyond Text’ scheme, and works on interdisciplinary initiatives with artists, architects, contemporary migrants as well as young people of all ages and backgrounds. Some of these have led to her participation in various fora beyond the ancient context, including most recently a presentation of ‘Ancient presence: Memory of places never visited and people never met’ for the workshop Al Masha - the Space of the Common’, curated by Sandi Hilal & Alessandro Petti for ‘A Journey of Ideas: In Dialogue with Edward Said’, at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Germany, in 2013.

21 January–15 February 2015 


A Project by Rene Gabri and Ayreen Anastas

April–May 2015 

A Project by Ruanne Abou-Rahme and Basel Abbas

For more information about the programme, please contact OCA’s Communication Manager Tara Ishizuka Hassel. 


'Of Love, Departures and Countering Defeats in Choleric Times. Three Stagings’ launches OCA's new programming series entitled ‘Notations’. During the next years Notations will unfold as a series of programmatic activities – performing, writing, thinking, fragmenting, exhibiting, moving, eating and socialising – that will reflect upon the potential for artistic practice as an alchemical sphere of public action. The spirit of Notations is embodied by the interrelated and circular relations designed by Hans Gremmen – OCA’s long term graphic designer. Notations replace the institution’s previous Semesterplan.