The Politics of Ecstasy Chiara Baldini
Rafael Kozdron
(2019)

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Over two millennia ago, in ancient Rome, an enigmatic cult emerged, embracing frenetic dances, gender fluidity, mind-altering substances, and unrestrained sexuality. This clandestine movement rattled the established order curated by a patriarchal, repressive, and militaristic ruling elite. The clash of values resulted in brutal suppression known as "The Bacchanalia Affaire." This historical upheaval, now buried in time, continues to resonate through the ages, transcending temporal boundaries.

In this video essay, researcher Chiara Baldini and video artist Rafael Kozdron guide viewers through a journey of rediscovery with the use of found footage, video archives and works of other living artists. They illuminate in a subliminal way, how events from millennia past echo in the contemporary times of rave politics and social dynamics. Through insightful analysis, this dynamic duo connects ancient rebellion and the pulsating beats of modern-day subcultures, revealing the enduring relevance of the Bacchanalia Affaire. In revisiting this era, we understand the struggle between conservative norms and avant-garde movements, inviting reflection on the cyclical nature of societal evolution.

This work has been commissioned by the q21 Artist-in-Residence program and Bogomir Doringer as part of the exhibition Dance of Urgency.

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