10 March – 7 June 2020
Upper Lane, Lower Lane
We like to stroll in parks and squares, to walk around the cities, to travel to new places. During our walks we take photos. And this is an important part of our common VASKOS project. With the exhibition “Upper Lane, Lower Lane” we expand our artistic practice by getting to know better and engaging in a conversation with special walkers, travelers, flâneurs, travelers: photographers! (V. Noulas & K. Tzimoulis)
Alexis Vasilikos, Tassos Vrettos, Christina Dimitriadis, Apostolos Zerdevas, Lizzie Kalligas, Panos Kokkinias, Manolis Baboussis, Margarita Bofiliou, Vassilis Noulas & Kostas Tzimoulis (VASKOS), Georges Salameh, Angela Svoronou, Dimitris Tsoumplekas, Yannis Hadjiaslanis, Pavlos Fysakis
Curated by Vassilis Noulas & Kostas Tzimoulis
7 March 2020
Making Now-Time #4: Freedom by PAT
Screening of FREEDOM, a film project by Temporary Academy of Arts (PAT) and a lively discussion with the filmmakers.
What is freedom in Europe today? What is this ghost still called freedom? Under current social conditions, will labor make us free, if it ever did? A meeting with a former factory worker in an abandoned monastery, the spectre of Yves Klein, the resonant spaces of home: FREEDOM is a triptych combining methods and forms from the traditions of documentary, auto-ethnographic essay, and diary filmmaking. Curated and directed by Constantinos Hadzinikolaou, Yota Ioannidou, Elpida Karaba, Glykeria Stathopoulou and Despina Zefkili, this film jumps the borders between filmmaking, archival research, poetry, theory writing and exhibition curating.
21 February 2020
2nd Anti-fascist Culture Workshop: Sea Walls & Armed Lifeboats: Climate Fascism, New Democracy-Style
Governmental plans for a floating sea wall off Lesbos to keep out ‘refuse’, but also unwelcome human beings, are real when already, without this hazard, 2,182 migrants and refugees have been killed or gone missing in the Eastern Mediterranean alone between 2014 and 2018. Blasted by Amnesty International and other liberal humanitarian groups, the sea wall is nonetheless a key element of what sociologist and geographer Christian Parenti calls “the politics of the armed lifeboat” as part of an emerging “climate fascism”:
The politics of the armed lifeboat: responding to climate change by arming, excluding, forgetting, repressing, policing, and killing. One can imagine a green authoritarianism emerging in rich countries, while the climate crisis pushes the Third World into chaos. Already, as climate change fuels violence in the form of crime, repression, civil unrest, war, and even state collapse in the Global South, the North is responding with a new authoritarianism. The Pentagon and its European allies are actively planning a militarized adaptation, which emphasizes the long-term, open-ended containment of failed or failing states—counterinsurgency forever. (Parenti, Tropic of Chaos, 2011, p. 11)
This politics is already explored in contemporary fiction such as John Lanchester’s The Wall (2019) in which 10,000 km of sea wall have been constructed exactly in order to repel and kill all approaching ‘Others’: a society that has adopted full-blown climate fascism has been mobilised for the task of manning the ‘National Coastal Defense Structure’. Closer to home, and not in the realm of fiction, the absence of any serious public debate about new offshore drilling and pipelines in Greece and Cyprus is clear proof that the commitment to fossil fuels is entrenched policy, and so the fortification of borders is presented as logical. This logic is necessarily underpinned by racist nationalism which prepares ‘the nation’ to accept the slaughter of migrants. Although the 19,000 asylum seekers, refugees and migrants detained in the notorious Moria hotspot (read: concentration camp) on Lesbos are not publicly connected to climate change by the right-wing government, the migration policy of Greece prefigures and is consistent with this larger context of imperialist adaptation to climate chaos. The political decision to securitise planetary meltdown rather than to phase out the fossil economy is shared by the United States and the European Union.
Antifascist Culture unequivocally rejects the politics of the armed lifeboat in all of its forms and calls for the immediate scrapping of the planned sea wall. With the aim of contributing to a much-needed discussion and debate about the linkages between climate change, imperialism and contemporary fascism, the second Antifascist Culture workshop focuses on this topic. The workshop will be led by critical theorist Gene Ray, with the contribution of George Sotiropoulos, author of A Materialist Theory of Justice: The One, the Many, the Not-Yet (2019).
18 February – 3 March 2020
Mπουφαν // Predella
Solo exhibitions ΜΠΟΥΦΑΝ by Myrto Xanthopoulou and “Predella” by Kostas Tzimoulis
(I close my eyes)
A collection of songs about the ΜΠΟΥΦΑΝ that never dries.
A predella is the platform or step on which an altar stands. In medieval and Renaissance painting, the predella is a number of small-scale narrative paintings along the frame at the bottom of an altarpiece. Predella scenes are now often separated from the rest of the altarpiece in museums.
In the exhibition “Predella” by Kostas Tzimoulis, the sets of works- sculptures, drawings, photographs and video – constitute notes on the relationship between the immaterial, the unrealized, the unused on the one hand, and the handcrafted, the material, the processed, on the other. The pieces can be perceived as promise of a future realization, οr, on the contrary, a reminder of a past presence. In any case, their presence traces the absence of something bigger. Of a main volume that is missing.
The sculptures consist of a variety of materials: Plaster, aluminum, Styrofoam, marble, plastic, wood, polyurethane, paper, ceramic, photograph, projection. Plaster units have a steady and repetitive place in the sculptures. Different materials, edited or not, are combined, creating sculptural situations that converse with architecture and design, and dictate a floor plan viewpoint from a distance. This is the core of “Predella”, and it is articulated in syllables: each sculptural set is a syllable of meaning.
3 February 2020
City @ EIGHT#2: Invitation to residency showing of Sigrid and Antonia
Our current residency artists, Antonia Steffens and Sigrid Stigsdatter Mathiassen, choreographers and performers, will have their final presentation on Monday 3rd of February at 20:00 and made an invitation.
“We are happy to invite you to our end of residency showing at EIGHT. We will show a 30 minutes extract of our materials and warmly invite you to stay for a talk afterwards. We propose to use this showing as an introduction to our work and as a catapult to have a conversation and an exchange with the artists and audience of Athens. It would as well be a space for us to learn more about the scene and the working conditions of the city we have been inhabiting for the last two weeks.
During our residency at EIGHT, we are continuing the process of “Spinner”, that will premiere in summer 2020. Spinner deals with our collaborative practice that explores how to propose, enter and negotiate spaces in between and to one another. Exceeding the
interest of being a duet, the practice attempts to encounter the space of the artistic subject, whose elements have to be responded to, activated and re interrogated. Dance and performance works as a visible and tangible layer that turns into a manifesto of multiple
encounters, narratives and experiences in motion and relation. Our residency at EIGHT has been dismantling and reconfiguring the strategies of our practice, such as put into question how far we can attend, create access and enter the space of the encounter.”
Antonia Steffens, *1992 studied contemporary dance and choreography in Cologne and Amsterdam. In her practice, she looks for a dialog in between spectatorship and material, often to be found in an environment made out of set designs, objects, materials and sounds.
Sigrid Stigsdatter Mathiassen (1990, DK) is a choreographer, performer and vocalist. She completed her studies at the SNDO (School for New Dance Development – AHK) in 2017 and has been based in Amsterdam since.
27 January 2020
Making Now-Time#3: Dial History and four new short works by Johan Grimonprez
A special screening of “Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y” and four new shorts by acclaimed artist and filmmaker Johan Grimonprez. Has the terrorist hijacked the role and function of the novelist in late-capitalist society of the spectacle? And if that was true in the 1990s, what are the roles of state and non-state terror today, 17 years into the so-called “War on Terror?” And what is terror becoming now, in planetary meltdown and resurgent fascism? These are some of the questions posed emphatically today by a screening of Grimoprez’s contemporary classic, Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y. Preceding the screening, four new short works by Grimonprez will also be presented. Johan will try to join us at EIGHT!
26 January 2020
1st Anti-fascist Culture Workshop: Fascism, Gender, Feminism
The collective Antifascist Culture is initiating a cycle of monthly open workshops with the aim to explore the ideas and practices that articulate the social threat of fascism, historically and today. On Sunday, January 26, the first workshop of the cycle will focus on “Fascism, Gender, Feminism”. Angela Dimitrakaki will introduce and elaborate on Ana Teixeira Pinto’s article «Male Fantasies: The Sequels» (2016, https://www.e-flux.com/…/76/72…/male-fantasies-the-sequel-s/) in Greek, to be followed by discussion with Eirini Dafermou (member of Kamia Anohi/No Tolerance) and Myrto Tsilimpounidi (member of Feminist Autonomous Centre for Research, Fac_research) as well as the audience.
19 – 23 December 2019
EIGHT’s autumn public programme for 2019 concludes on 18 to 23d of December with 5X5@8 that includes 5 projects in five days. After a series of open public discussions on cultural and political conditions and a series of performances during spring and the group exhibition “City in Pieces” during the summer about the changing landscape of Athens, the autumn programme of EIGHT was formed exclusively after proposals from artists, collectives and communities together with the new residency programme “City at Eight”.
The public programme 5X5@8 includes the installation λ by Mirsini Artakianou, curated by Elli Leventaki, the interactive installation Oasi by Antigoni Michalakopoulou, the participatory workshop Re:souvenir by Nikos Kostopoulos & Viki Zioga and a public presentation, a screening together with a discussion by Making Now-Time (Germany in Autumn) and a live performance The Anarchist Puppet Show 2020 (Open rehearsal) by Emer O’Brien.
Exhibition opening: Wednesday 18 December, after 20:00
19 – 23 December, 17:00 – 20:00
Exhibition opening: Wednesday 18 December, after 20:00
19 – 23 December, 17:00 – 20:00
Participatory workshop through an open call: 18 – 19 – 20 December, 11:00-17:00
Workshop’s presentation 20 -23 December 17:00 – 20:00
Making Now-Time #2 Germany in Autumn
Screening and discussion: Friday 20 December, 20:00
The Anarchist Puppet Show 2020
Performance (Open rehearsal): Sunday 22 December, 20:00
19 November 2020
City @ EIGHT#1: Artist Talk: Emer O’Brien
As part of the residency programme “City at EIGHT” EIGHT for the autumn 2019-spring 2020 organizes a series of public talks together with resident artists. The talks intend to produce a public platform between artists and local audiences opening up issues of artistic practice, methodology, critical approach in relation to the evolving sociopolitical context.
City @ EIGHT
Artist talk#1 by Emer o’Brien
Emer O’Brien, EIGHT residency artist for the period November – December 2019 will give a lecture on her ongoing project “Anarchist’s Puppet Show”.
Emer O’Brien was born in Dublin, Ireland and emigrated to Toronto, Canada with her parents as a child. In 1998, O’Brien immigrated to the UK and since then lived, studied and worked in London. In 2019 she relocated her studio practice to Athens. As an artist, Emer is looking for the unchallenged portrayal of the alienated self in inanimate, mostly man made items. The self as it proceeds the other and the mediums she often chose to use are analogue – including photography, film, site specific bricolage, installation, kenetic sculpture and performance.
For the residency period at Eight she is conducting research, preparing a public lecture and slide show, writing the script and making the puppets for the Anarchist’s Puppet Show.
The Anarchist’s Puppet Show, 2020 will explore themes like patriarchy, the Oedipus Complex, white male privilege, nostalgia, mass hysteria, mental illness, objectification, voyeurism, power, domination, political corruption, and control. This is a One Woman Show with a cast of puppets based on well known politicians like Donald Trump, Borris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn. The cast will also include random pointless celebrities and unknown civilians. The plot centres around a shambolic football match where Red Brexit and Blue Brexit battle it out to penalties or sudden death with Donald Trump acting as their referee. I am the Punch Master. I will perform dressed as Kate Bush because I can.
During her residency she will present as part of the public programme of EIGHT the The Anarchist’s Puppet Show, 2020(Closed rehearsal. Act I scene i & Act I scene ii) on December 22.
9 November 2019
EIGHT autumn#1: Poooollliiitiiicccsssss, workshop by Eliana Otta
A two-hour encounter to discuss the meanings related to and included in the word “politics”. How do we relate to that word today? For what do we use it and for what can it be useful?
Through conversations and experimental writing, we will dissect this word, trying to understand and expand our approaches to its potentialities and limitations. Working together with texts, and free associations, we will imagine the political constellations that could make sense to our current urgencies and desires.
Everybody interested in: connections between art and politics, poetry, collective creation, activism and the current civilizatory crisis is invited to attend.
Eliana Otta Vildoso (Lima, 1981) has a degree in Art and a Master in Cultural Studies by the Universidad Católica del Perú. Since October, 2018, she is a candidate for the Phd in Practice at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna.
8 – 13 October 2019
Εclectic Tech Carnival Athens
*Eclectic Tech Carnival 2019 8 to 13 October 2019 Athens, Greece*
^^Halt and Catch Fire^^
/ETC is a gathering of feminists, who critically use/study/share/improve everyday information technologies in the context of the free software and open hardware movements. We have a feminist approach that expands the hack meetings’ reflection on politics with an intersectionalist
point of view.
World-changing fictions. An opening ritual / Tiphaine & Lucile
Opening ritual for the Carnival, inspired by the Reclaiming tradition
Let’s summon spirits that will offer guidance and protection during the Carnival
The ritual is open to anyone. This is a moment for gathering and focus. The attendees are invited to respect this mindset.
more info here: https://eclectictechcarnival.org/ETC2019/schedule/
22-24 September 2019
City in Pieces -Public Programme
SUNDAY 22 SEPTEMBER
Presentations and alternative approaches to the exhibition works
Revolution Bodies. Walking at the center of Athens. What we can say today? (performative reading)
Working with true stories on two works: Cats on the roof, Romeo & Juliet (presentation)
Notes and Appeals. The work in continuous negotiation
Fascinator, a film by Twin Automat. sound: Yannis Saxonis. (screening)
Beyond the River, Westside (presentation and DJ’s set)
MONDAY 23 SEPTEMBER
Learning from documenta: aftersounds
Video projections, presentations, discussion.
Participants: Natasa Biza, Eva Giannakopoulou, Grigoris Gkougkousis, Fotini Gouseti, Dimitra Kondylatou, Elpida Rikou, Yorgos Samantas, Eleana Yalouri
Coordination: Elpida Rikou, Eleana Yalouri
TUESDAY 24 SEPTEMBER
Open Discussion: The ever-changing landscape of the Athens centre
During the last decade, the city centre of Athens reflecting emergent dynamics became the battlefield between economic, social, and institutional powers. Today Athens seems to be a “City in Pieces” undergoing processes of radical transformation by politics of real estate, new economies and regeneration plans. What new geographies are being drawn? How a future landscape looks like? In what ways inhabitants and collective initiatives might affect this transformation? What form possible resistances take? What kind of infrastructures and actions might emerge from collective encounters and discussions?
The discussion focuses on the ever-changing here and now of the city rethinking speculations about its future transformation. This initiative seeks to continue in the following months instituting a research group that through regular meetings in the space of EIGHT explores the possibilities of intervention in the urban landscape.
Short contributions by Constantina Thedorou, Tonia Katerini, Gianna Barkouta, Eleni Tzirtzilaki, Hariklia Hari
14 June – 30 September 2019
City in Pieces
Artists: Nikos Arvanitis, Campus Novel, Ioanna Chatzipanigyri, Anastasia Douka, Eirene Efstathiou, Yota Ioannidou, Irini Karayannopoulou, Alexia Karavella, Learning from Documenta (E. Rikou – E. Yalouri), Ioanna Myrka, Giorgos Papadatos, PAT (Temporary Academy of Arts), Theo Prodromidis, Maria Sarri, Sofia Simaki, Eva Stefani, Yannis Theodoropoulos, Anna Tsouloufi-Lagiou, Kostas Tzimoulis, Eleni Tzirtzilaki, VASKOS, Kostis Velonis, Myrto Xanthopoulou
Curated by Gigi Argyropoulou & Kostas Tzimoulis
During the last couple of decades the city of Athens went through radical transformations that changed its social and cultural frameworks. Even prior to the economic crisis the cultural landscape was in a process of rapid transformation while the lack of sustainable cultural policies and infrastructures continuously produced a precarious, hyperactive, often self-instituted and vulnerable landscape. In the last decade we have witnessed radical paradigm shifts in social and political frameworks together with mobilisations, practices of social solidarity and commoning, new institutions, large-scale art events and local scale organising. Emergent practices ephemerally rehearsed new ways of inhabiting the city while its artistic scene experimented with forms and conditions of production in varied contexts. In the last couple of years and increasingly in the current moment, Athens seems to be in a yet new phase and undergo different forms of change in the way its urban, political and cultural landscapes operate.
This exhibition seeks to bring together artistic practices that appeared in different contexts in Athens and sought to relate with its social, political and urban conditions. Challenging the contemporary demand of artistic production – that constantly seek for the new and the innovative – City in Pieces explores past works that took place in diverse environments, conditions and moments. This return is not a call of nostalgia but rather an attempt to rethink artistic narratives and explore possible new relations, imaginaries and forms that can produce in the here and now.
What are the functional and potential relations between artistic practice and material infrastructures and how changing conditions define artistic practice in Athens? How dominant is the support of private institutions today and to what degree they formulate the nature and direction of artistic work? Can artistic practices that are increasingly implicated in neoliberal structures and mechanisms produce ruptures from within the very system they appear to serve? Is the ongoing reassessment of one’s former practices that have been recuperated the most effective strategy and how it may continue in conditions of induced precarity? Can artistic practices continuously avoid recuperation, evolve and stay relevant to the conditions of today?
Invisible Committee writes that ‘in reality what we need are not institutions but forms … Everything that lives is only forms and interactions of forms’ (2017: 70). City in Pieces seeks to explore and return to such forms in the transitional landscape of Athens re-examining models of situatedness in dialogue with social, urban and institutional realities. City Pieces are collected and re-composed inside the space EIGHT attempting to produce a temporary refuge, a living organism, a fugitive condition of symbiosis.
4 June 2019
Visiting Athens/Eight #1:Black Bloc vs Black Box, R. Ridgway
Black Bloc vs Black Box
The black box of Google’s proprietary search algorithm is centred around the concept of IP (Intellectual Property) through a ‘visibility management’. The black box: an opaque technological device for which only the inputs and outputs are known. As a ‘Personalised Subject’, Google targets users with advertisements that identify and categorise them, along with other criteria (search histories, cookies, geolocative data). This ‘blackness’ of the black box, its opacity and its lack of transparency is set in competition to the Black Bloc. The black bloc: a tactic of anonymization and massification often associated with the direct action wing of the left. As an ‘Anonymous User’, Tor (The Onion Router) does not reveal the identity of the user because of the layers of encryption and the IP (Internet Protocol) is hidden. Somehow these two things come together near the end of the twentieth century. Is there a reason for this? (Alexander Galloway 2010:3). Using data visualizations of the artistic research process, this presentation will show how the user is organized into Subjectivities of Search (Black Box) versus Agencies of Anonymity (Black Bloc).
Renée Ridgway is an artist, researcher and educator based in Amsterdam, NL. Presently she is a PhD candidate at Copenhagen Business School in their Management, Philosophy and Politics department and a research affiliate at Leuphana University’s Digital Cultures Research Lab.
17 April – 25 May 2019
The Shape of Circle
A performance-lecture-walk about Omonoia Square by Mass/Mkultra
But the circle is a trap. You don’t need to go beyond it. Its enough to make circles around the square, to turn and look from all sides, without making a step beyond it. We are just standing there looking. There are many of us that we have fallen into this trap of quietly looking at the depth of the streets, the different possible routes without taking any.
(Constantina Theodorou, Omonia Diaries)
A performance about incomplete plans and the persistence of life in conditions of constant stagnation. A journey through the history of Omonoia square, centre for all incomplete plans for the city of Athens from the beginning of the Greek modern state to today, a route through ephemeral mini-utopias, a walk through changing seasons. A performance-lecture about the making of the modern Greek State, about nostalgic constructions, about the possibilities of exodus and symbiosis.
The performance begins in a secret location of the city and invites the audience to a performance-lecture on personal and collective histories/mythologies. Audience members are then guided through different routes in the city to end up in a space out of time. Diaries, construction materials, failed urban plans, old collections, songs from places faraway and the little pigeons of the square guide us in this night walk late spring early summer in a forgotten part of the city centre, and invite us to rethink together the “productivity” of the streets and surrounding city space.
Created by the company
Performed/Devised by: Constantina Theodorou, Mary Lousi, Yorgia Karidi, Gigi Argyropoulou/Evangelie Fili
Direction: Gigi Argyropoulou
Video: Constantina Theodorou
Assistant Director: Evangelie Fili
This performance is supported by The Greek Ministry of Culture
12 May 2019
This Sunday we assemble at EIGHT (Polytecheniou 8) to collectively discuss ideas and proposals for this first phase of EIGHT’s public programme.
These meetings will take place on a monthly basis and are open to all. Collective proposals with a experimental/research/social orientation are particularly welcomed to form the public programme of the space.
5 May 2019
Antifascist Culture: First Open Assembly
Antifascist Culture is a recent, independent initiative set up by cultural workers – from the fields of visual art, curation, literature, education, among others. Sharing the belief that collective resistance is called for against the range of racisms and exclusions that make up neo-fascism in Greece, Europe and across the globe, we are calling for our first open assembly on May 5 where we hope to address questions such as:
– How is the neo-fascist logic legitimised in the public sphere and why is it tolerated by contemporary democracies? To what extent does the cultural field bear responsibility for such tolerance?
– When referring to ‘neo-fascism’, do we identify a specific ideological formula or are we facing the mere exacerbation of tendencies that are regularly and commonly experienced under the weight of social antagonisms?
– Why has the cultural field in Greece been hesitant in acting against neo-fascism through collective platforms when we see a number of antifascist groups active beyond the cultural field?
– Which social forces comprise antifascism today, within and beyond Greece?
– How is an antifascist problematic connected with social struggles that find expression in the cultural field – a field traversed by sexism, fraught with precarity, trapped in the ‘market’ logic, defined by hierarchies and entrenched structures and practices of power?
– How can the cultural field in Greece stand in solidarity with sister initiatives abroad so
as to contribute to a transnational antifascist cultural network?
Antifascist Culture formed in February 2019, in a critical juncture on the local, European and global level, with the aim to contribute to the de-normalisation of neo-fascism as a cultural and social logic and the hate practices and discourse this logic fosters. The May 5th open assembly is being organised with this in mind as an informal meeting, carried out in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Wine and beverages will be served. The language of the event will be Greek, but we hope to translate for non-Greek speakers where possible.
19 April 2019
Transformations, institutional models and paradigm shifts#2
Participants: Angela Dimitrakaki (Contemporary art theorist and writer), Eva Stefani (Artist and Professor University of Athens, Theatre Studies), Poka Yio (Artist/curator, founding director of Athens Biennial, Professor Athens Fine Art School), Tzortzina Kakoudaki (theotrologist, theatre director, advisor for educational programmes at Hellenic Festival/Athens and Epidavros), Adonis Volanakis (visual artist), iLianna Fokianaki (curator, founder of Institute for contemporary art “State of Concept”, lecturer Dutch Art Institute)
This public discussion is the second iteration that seeks to bring together cultural workers across different fields in order to examine processes and organisational models for public institutions in the current era.
A series of questions emerge from recent events that perhaps are fruitful and productive in thinking of institutional models and practices today: How landscapes and procedures gradually transform? Is it always easier to react to a changing model rather than a sedimented one? What are the appropriate processes for artistic institutions? Are there common procedures across public artistic institutions worldwide? Should public art institution operate with different procedures than those that are applied across other State structures? What is the relation between quantifiable and non-quantifiable criteria? What are the processes that might resist tick-box culture and yet support both objective and subjective criteria? How the international artistic scene expresses solidarity and what forms this support? What are the limits of public participation and debate? Is our saying and participation limited to procedures and organisational models on public institutions or can be extended to other actors of the landscape? How cultural workers can take part in processes, institutions, actions that form the cultural landscape?
These are some of the many questions that we seek to address in this second discussion while we are aware that public debates and dialogues need time and participation.
This initiative will continue in different forms to carry such critical questions and produce debates and texts that refuse an objective outside position but rather propose models and practices from within the specific strictures and conditions of the Greek cultural landscape.
The event is open to the public
16 March – 23 April 2019
Imagine a Heroic Landscape
Performance by Nova Melancholia
Directed by Vassilis Noulas
Sets-Costumes-Light desiging by Kostas Tzimoulis
Stars Ondina Quadri, Alexia Sarantopoulou, Marcus Richter, Kostas Tzimoulis, Vassilis Noulas
Texts translated into Greek by Natascha Siouzouli
Assistant Director Elisavet Xanthopoulou
This production by Nova Melancholia has received funding by the Greek Ministry of Culture.
The performance draws its initial inspiration from the letters from the prison sent by Rosa Luxemburg to Sonia Liebknecht between 1917 and 1918. The letters touch us with their pure humanity and the incredible sensitivity they exhibit to everything that lives (bird, insect, plant).
In 2019, 100 years have passed since the assassination of the Marxist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg from the right-wing Freikorps militias in Berlin in 1919. Imagine a Heroic Landscape is our own tribute to a lost revolution and a personality that still inspires and exemplifies. The title of the performance comes from a phrase that we have isolated from one of these letters.
What is Utopia? What is heroism? How do we fancy a landscape? Rosa seems to find heroism in the humble fight of an overturned beetle with the ants or in a bird’s outburst! How can we deal with the small, seemingly insignificant in heroic terms? What is worth, for us, fighting for?
In German romanticism, people were searching for the awe of the Sublime in the great natural phenomena (for example, in a storm, in a snow-capped mountain peak). Rosa Luxemburg seems to find heroism in the battle of an upside-down beetle with the ants or in a bird’s lyrical outburst! Can I, therefore, deal with the small, seemingly insignificant on terms of heroism?
Let’s create an ephemeral monument, a tribute to Rosa, by using precarious objects and materials just like our bodies and voices!
15 March 2019
On public processes: Institutional models and paradigm shifts
This public discussion brings together cultural workers across different fields in order to examine processes and organisational models for public institutions in the current era.
The recent competition for the position of the artistic director of National Museum of Contemporary Art EMST and the reactions that followed produces a series of questions that make such discussion particularly timely. Until now, the dominant model in Greece was that artistic directors for all public institutions (including National Theatre, Hellenic Festival etc) were appointed directly by the Minister of Culture. For the first time in its history Greek Ministry of Culture announced an open competition for the position of the artistic director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art EMST. After the end of the competition the selection committee resulted that it was “unproductive” as none of the candidates fulfilled the required criteria. These criteria despite their absurdity for some are common across the public sector in Greece and are requested for the fulfillment of most public positions (whether administrational, pedagogical or other) according to the official (transparent) public process (ASEP). After the results, the Ministry announced that a second competition will take place open also to international candidates and at the same time a petition was initiated by some of the candidates and other cultural workers requesting signatures of support from the international art scene pointing out to certain failings of this procedure. Worth noting, that during the past decades the process of the political appointment for artistic directors in public institutions hasn’t caused any significant public reactions.
A series of questions emerge from these recent events that perhaps are fruitful and productive in thinking of institutional models and practices today: How landscapes and procedures gradually transform? Is it always easier to react to a changing model rather than a sedimented one? What are the appropriate processes for artistic institutions? Are there common procedures across public artistic institutions worldwide? What are the limits of public participation and debate? Is our saying and participation limited to procedures and organisational models on public institutions or can be extended to other actors of the landscape? How cultural workers can take part in processes, institutions, actions that form the cultural landscape? Should public art institution operate with different procedures than those that are applied across other State structures? What is the relation between quantifiable and non-quantifiable criteria? What are the processes that might resist tick-box culture and yet support both objective and subjective criteria? How the international artistic scene expresses solidarity and what forms this support? These are some of the many questions that we seek to address in this opening discussion while we are aware that public debates and dialogues need time and participation. Thus, we hope this initiative will continue to carry critical questions and produce in the next period a series of debates and texts that refuse an objective outside position but rather propose models and practices from within the specific strictures and conditions of the Greek cultural landscape.
Participants: Anestis Azas (theatre director, artistic director of the Experimental stage of National Theatre), Yiannis Constantinidis (art critic), Alexandros Mistriotis (artist), Despina Zefkili (art critic, managing editor athinorama) and the Minister of Culture Myrsini Zorba. An open discussion will follow
The event is open to the public