The Highflyer

The Highflyer (2011) extends Karikis’s thematic interests in the voice, professional identity and self-censorship. First developed as a live performance for the Danish Pavilion 54th Venice Biennale, The Highflyer is a political allegory which explores the politics of work, notions of freedom of speech. The project consists of a performance, a video, a poster and a photograph. Featuring Karikis as the main character and a cast of performers from his multi-media opera Xenon, for the video Karikis invited filmmaker David Bickerstaff to collaborate on directing the production of a moving image version of the project. Set on an austere office, the video starts at The Highflyer’s desk where he discovers an inconspicuous hand hidden in his suit giving him directions. The Highflyer is compelled to follow the disembodied hand’s instructions and invents different solutions to overcome his reality. Combining prerecorded sounds, vocals, actions and props, Karikis’s performance draws inspiration from political modes of speech and observes the disturbing contradictions in prevailing models of neoliberal masculinity, questioning the performance of ‘maleness’ by exposing the faultline between machismo, aspiration and masochism.