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  • Writer's pictureeanastasiou

Retrospect: Peace & Chaos


exhibited three weeks ago at The OGallery in Larnaca. And I did good. I planned, organised, marketed etc etc. But. There's always a but, always room for improvement. But - I feel the work was mediocre. Mediocre because my research was superficial. I partly and intentionally left it like that because I wondered what superficially prepared work would look like. Last years post graduate exhibition at Kipriaki Gonia was compromised of great work. Indeed, conceptual and provoking. And the research on that work was in depth and analytical. But, the opening night was less than mediocre - on all aspects involved. I guess next year's work needs to include the best of both exhibitions.

Anyway, to set things "right", I have decided to go back and re-begin the minimal research I have on "Peace and Chaos". So here goes..

The Start

When Theo Philippou reached out to me to exhibit at his gallery, I had nothing. I had been playing around with abstract, and was being messy and doing anything else but really thinking about what I was doing. He was interested in that. I weighed the pros and cons and I thought that exhibiting at a commercial gallery really had little to with the kind of work I am interested in, but none the less I decided to give it a shot. And at that moment in time, I also decided that commercialism meant on the surface. Saying "yes" to a commercial exhibition in my mind frame meant background research was really unnecessary. But, simultaneously I felt I could't not give the work some sort of literature background, I began researching.

I was interested in how hectic daily routines are and how hard I found it to find time to make. Whatever gap I had in the day, it seemed that it wasn't enough to get me going. I wanted to think about that. About how unbalanced the day seemed. And how did I manage to use up all my hours in doing things, other things, but not art?

I don't exactly remember how the game 'Tetris" came in to play, but this juggling of tasks and priorities, reminded me of this game. How beating the game or staying in the game was all about organizing geometric falling pieces into the right "space" to achieve a completed line - task.

I am often preoccupied with various questions about life, about the evolution of life and whether this evolution of our life, on an individual and in general level, comes as a choice or as a result of some pre-fulfilled conditions. One of these questions is whether our mind needs to be constantly employed, either professionally or in some other form. When we are constantly on the run throughout the day, we crave for a moment's peace, and when we find ourselves for spaces of time at peace, boredom kicks in and then we ache for work, activities or something to preoccupy our mind body and spirit. It is in human nature to need to feel useful and sufficient. There is a kind of value in feeling active and efficient, as well as in relaxing and allowing oneself to be at ease. But, considering this, it is obvious we are compromised of at least 2 identities: the one we adopt when leaving our home, and the one that occupies us when we are at home. But which one is the real deal? Or is our identity a weave that is woven according to how the environment in which it is located, (whether physical or psychological) encourages it to? The English sociologist Stuart Hall explained it better,

"Identity is never unique, but it multiplies in intersecting and competing reasons, practices and positions"

Tetris Effect

Undoubtedly, contemporary daily life has become more complicated, and not necessarily more difficult, than it was just a decade ago. Technological advancement has made our living conditions more efficient in no time, and as a result, it has forced us to blur the boundaries between our work life balance. We can now, without any difficulty, work from home or from wherever we are, as the online world is always accessible. And of course, the pandemic has encouraged this mode incredibly. Everyday life is like the electronic game Tetris = as different geometric shapes fall (with clear boundaries), the player has to place the shapes in such a way as to complete a line. When the line is completed, it disappears and the game continues. So, in essence, the game becomes a continuous solution of tasks where in order to stay in the game, one must effectively complete lines. This is how a normal day of most humanity unfolds.

The Tetris effect (also known as Tetris syndrome) occurs when people devote so much time and attention to an activity that it begins to pattern their thoughts, mental images, and dreams.

Interesting facts about the Tetris Effect:

  1. Dr Stickhold's experiment on the Tetris Effect & Sleep - how playing tetris for hours before bedtime affects dreams and memories - to even those that do not withhold any memories, i.e. procedural memory

When we play Tetris for hours on end, our brain starts creating new neural pathways that allow us to recognize patterns with less effort and get better at the activity. Our brain, as it were, helps us practice the game even when we are not playing
  1. Game Transfer Phenomena: modify our visual impressions and the way we use logic. Professional gamers often find that the strategy and actions they take in a game affect their thought patterns in the real world

  2. affects the brain's plasticity, that is, the ability to change and adapt as a result of experience. It turns out that this captivating game can promote cognitive development, enhance memory capacity, and generally contribute to keeping our brains healthy

  3. Improves sleep quality

  4. overcoming negativity bias

  5. dealing with trauma - The Tetris effect is increasingly being used as a tool in mental health research. Psychologists at Oxford University and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden have found that playing Tetris may interrupt processes that would otherwise embed traumatic events in the memory. A dissociative state that the game creates blocks the formation of long-term memories that could lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. The parts of the brain that would normally form these memories are being filled with the spatial puzzle. As a consequence, the person playing the game shortly after a distressing event would remember Tetris patterns instead of the traumatic experience.

Theodore. (2020, April). The Tetris Effect (Definition + Examples). Retrieved from

Some of the work that made in light of the Tetris effect is beneath:

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