There is an urge among many members of the Greek elites to take political and financial advantage of the crisis. Part of this urge is reflected in the ongoing attempt to re-shape the urban materiality of what used to be the commercial centre of Athens up until 2010. This is the area between Syntagma and Omonoia Square, where most shops closed down after 2010. There, according to the plans, under the label of Re-think Athens, is where a new public urban space is going to be constructed. Along with creating/destroying real estate and political values, this new public space project also aims to restrict protest demonstrations along one of the most crucial parts of the usual marching route: Panepistimiou Street.
But during the crisis Athens is not only rethought, it is remapped too. Remap Athens is an annual art exhibition, which has taken place four times since 2007. Remap Athens #4 took place in September 2013 in public and private urban spaces in the central areas of Keramikos and Metaxourgio. In its own words, Remap “is an international contemporary art platform that has become known for its participatory nature, hosting a unique mix of projects with current and up-and-coming -artists, curators, institutions and galleries- from across the world, all presented within the existing urban context accessible for free to its visitors.” (Words from the Remap Athens website)
In essence, Remap Athens is something between a real estate promotion, an art exhibition and a gentrification force. An abundance of art dealers, but also some individual –established and lesser known– artists exhibit their work in new and old properties owned almost exclusively by the two real estate companies who are the two private sponsors the exhibition. These properties are also for sale – or, to be more precise, they are the only thing that is affirmatively for sale, since not all art work exhibited had price tags.
The grafitti writes: “the passion for hipstery is stronger than glamour”
In such a context the aesthetic of the final result is often grotesque: more often than not there is not much thought put into how artworks will fit the spaces or the urban area itself. Or then again, perhaps the motivations themselves are conflicting: for example, you have some of the artworks expected to attract more visitors located in the real estate that looks like it is mostly promoted by the real estate “friends” of art. This year, such building of preference was a luxurious dwelling with debateable design. And so, a vast art piece stood in the middle of what is obviously a small and low ceiling open-plan kitchen-living room, with the WC’s open door in the background. Fortunately, a sign would warn the visitor that the toilet was out of order. Two students working there for free (“volunteering” they said) were taking care of the art (or was it the house?) The luxurious house (or was it the art?) was also fully guarded by an unfriendly security guard who would stand in a summer suit and sunglasses in front of the gate, staring at visitors with hostility. No smiles returned, and definitely no questions answered. Read the rest of this entry »
In honor of International Peace Day, we invite Athenians to join us in act of peace and solidarity pasting white butterflies between Akademias and Solonos Street by the cultural department of the Municipality. The city of Athens has embraced the project and the Philarmonical Orchestra will join s during the pasting.
Strategic Partner in London: Westminster Law and Theory Centre
“Q: What will my benefit be as a citizen/ professional / visitor in Athens?
A: The functional and environmental rebirth of the centre will shed light on even the darkest and most unwanted sides of it. Panepistimiou Street and Omonoia Square will become the liveliest neighborhood, as a city centre for shopping during the day and as a nighttime “place to be”, whereas the area will become a special meeting place for Athenians from all neighborhoods. Living conditions will improve significantly and a large part of the centre will be re-inhabited, whereas the trade, entrepreneurial and tourist activity all over this area will be revitalized.”
From the website of Rethink Athens. (Original in English, Original Grammar has been retained, http://www.rethinkathens.org/eng/faq)
Athens centre  supposedly is preparing for one more big regeneration project. This time the city will have to reconstruct anew one of its most central streets, Panepistimiou, including Athens’ two most central Squares: Syntagma and Omonoia. The project will involve a semi-pedestrianization of Panepistimiou Avenue, which will be re-paved, while several new features such as water fountains or trees will replace the asphalted avenue. An international architecture competition took place during 2012 and the winner (a Dutch urban development office) was announced in early 2013. The political authorities of the country including the Prime Minister (PM) participated in the launching event. The PM was clear in his speech that ‘Rethink Athens’ is part of a larger project, which involves the privatization and regeneration of the old Athens airport along the regeneration of the Athenian seafront up-to Cape Sounio, 60km southern of Athens centre.
The PM’s talk sounded like it came from two decades ago when Greece was a “Construction Contractors Republic”. Back then the “steam engine” of the thriving Greek economic growth was the construction sector, and the country was indeed being rebuilt en masse. New and allegedly overpriced highways, airports, shopping malls, stadiums etc. conquered the cityscape. Back then a widespread optimism was growing in reference to the development of urban materiality, the newly funded virtual economy of credit, the forthcoming Olympic Games, the European Monetary Integration and the Europeanization/modernisation projects. “Development” and “modernisation” at that time were elevated into the main political slogans of the governments. Nevertheless, the rapid accumulation of built and virtual capital was soon followed by the economic bust.
Today a promise to fix the “problems” of Athens’ centre via some more urban development sounds pretty hollow, according to people who work, use or just exist on Panepistimiou street and the surrounding streets of the centre.
For example, one of the central Athenian merchants explained that many public works from that golden period of contractors had been catastrophic for certain businesses. The case of the repeated (but poorly explained) reconstructions of Omonoia Square the last twenty years is often quoted as such a project that altered violently the order of things in the centre of the city. Moreover, another informant talked about the pedestrianization of Ermou Street at the second half of the 1990s. Ermou is a street departing from Syntagma Square and it was traditionally one of the busiest commercial streets of the capital city. The project of its pedestrianization lasted for some time and by the end of it several of the smaller Ermou shops had been closed down. This happened first of all because the rents rocketed in the reconstructed street but also due to the decreased consumption, during the period of the construction works. However, another part of the problem was the wider global condition in the history of European capitalism. Namely, 1990s was a period when international retail chains entered the market of Greece, leading to the economic “death” of some of the smaller merchants. Ermou Street, where many of the shops of the early 1990s today have been replaced by branches of big international chains, is a witness of both the global process, but also the local urban peculiarity.
But a central Athens’ employee in retail sector explained that businessmen “took out their eyes, with their own hands”. In the recent past during the economic growth of 1990s and 2000s quite a few of the smaller independent merchants made big openings taking risks within a market that functioned under new –unknown before– rules. In order to do the openings they often took one of those high interest bank loans, which were too easily available at the time, leading eventually to their catastrophe when they could not pay back. For example, when all the new shopping malls were built around Athens some independent merchants expanded renting a unit in one of the new malls. However, a mall is a big corporation which does not allow for much flexibility with debts. Merchants who rent and do not own their shops sometimes have to ask the owner of the property (typically another middle-class person) for flexibility, which usually is provided, but indeed something like this is out of the question when you rent in a mall which is a big corporation.
However, such an observation refers to the recent past rather than the catastrophic present, a lot of independent merchants who made further ‘economic openings’ during the period of prosperity, when the crisis broke out, vanished overnight under the weight of quickly accumulating debts. “Some colleagues ended up in the soup kitchen”, mentioned a merchant on Agiou Markou Street. The association of Athens merchants, these days maintains a social grocery for its members, namely a shop were former shopkeepers can acquire some basic goods gratis. Today on central streets of Athens such as Stadiou there are former shop-keepers who own the retail properties where they were housing their shop, so they had no rent expenses, and yet still they went out of business after May 2010 due to decrease in consumption. The aforementioned retail worker, explained the temporality of their narrative: “Stupid movements of the businessman or problematic structure, this is past and forgotten now – now first they tell you to cut down salaries, because they are not doing well, then they cut down the personnel and then they end up working with one tenth of the employees, and them are just members of the boss’ family and then one day they close down for good.”
The politics of ‘Rethinking’
Many merchants of Athens’ centre blame the recent increase of demonstrations and protests that take place in the centre of the city for the commercial failure of their businesses. The idea is that the revolt of 2008 was the first big strike to the centre of Athens, then it was the riots of May 2010 and then February 2012 riots. The truth is that one can hear this argument more and more in the corporate media ever since 2010 when the austerity started, and increasing portions of the population (including the shopkeepers) feel that they have better reasons to protest. However, the narrative of most shopkeepers does not identify straight-forwardly with the governmental/corporate media argument. When they use the term ‘demonstration’ (diadiloseis/διαδηλώσεις) or ‘riots’ (episodia/επεισόδια) they usually add ‘teargas’ (dakrygona/δακρυγόνα) and the blockade of every street or metro stations around the centre of the city. Whether expressed explicitly or implicitly, the fact is that teargas and violence, or the blockade of routes, are police tactics that have been applied increasingly the last years. Police these days close down most central metro stations and all the streets leading to the centre of the city, many hours before and after a protest march. During protests one can hear demonstrators claiming that the police are trying to limit access to protesters, but also to enrage the rest of the centre’s users, against the various social groups who protest.
The point is that while merchants in the first instance seem to agree with corporate media/government, most of the time they use a different phrasing and add different elements. For example while, the corporate media often add Molotov cocktails or the hooded protesters as part of the city centre’s problem, the business people I have met rarely refer to these elements. The different perspective of most merchants of the centre is even more explicit when they talk about the events of December 2008. In fact irrelevant of the politics implied in the rest of the language used, the merchants of the centre I have talked with, usually use the term ‘revolt’ for the revolt of 2008, instead of riots (epeisodia/επεισόδια) as most of the governmental and government friendly discourse label December 2008. Moreover, other wording used has been the ‘events of Alexis’ or ‘…of Grigoropoulos’ or ‘…Alexandros’ etc. referring to Alexandros Grigoropoulos, the 15 year old person who was assassinated by the police on December 2008, and whose death triggered the social uprising of 2008. This terminology of personification reflects much more the language used by the participants in the revolt rather than the authorities or the corporate media.
The bottom line is that merchants are running a business and they judge spatial tactics and spatial practices according to the impact they have to their custom. As one of them told me on one of the streets which once upon a time was the major commercial street of the capital city: “In the past, even if your shop was smashed, you did not care that much. We often did not even approach the insurance companies, we used to fix them ourselves, and we did not care because we had customers, at the same moment that we were fixing the damages.” Things are not that rosy anymore. Allegedly today that every single shopkeeper struggles to survive financially, insurance companies play major role in the situation of the centre, they do not even pay for damages occurring during protests or they ask for enormous fees in order to insure a business in the area. Until the recent past when properties were destroyed in Athens centre they were fixed quickly. But most of the buildings destroyed during the riots of February 2012 remain in ruins still in late May 2013, which is an unusually long period of time for that area. “When people’s pockets are empty, there is no reason to fix and open again a shop that for whatever reason closed down” concluded the same shopkeeper of the Athenian centre.
Certainly the centre of the city (contrary to what the decision-makers of ‘Rethink Athens’ may believe) does not have only commercial activities – one of the many things happening in the centre is also protesting. The problem is that the governments of the last few years seem to target very explicitly protesting, suggesting that it is the single problem of Athens centre. For example on April 27, 2013 the Greek minister of Public Order (Police) Nicos Dendias gave a brief interview to the Voice of America during his visit to NYC to exchange knowhow with FBI, in this interview he stated:‘Let me give you an example of a policy we are trying to implement and it will change the whole life of the capital city of the country […] it is the restriction of small demonstrations, demonstrations of 100-200 people, from closing the Athens city center, occupying the entire road preventing access to the center of Athens.’
Blaming demonstrations for the failure of businesses in the centre of the city has at least two benefits. First, it masks the fact that austerity policies, unemployment and cuts to the income prevent people from buying anything and second, is part of a wider attempt to limit protesting at a time that more and more people have increasing reasons to protest against the government. In fact today poverty has increased to the extent that gradually the majority are changing their eating habits. In other words people are forced to severely cut their food budget, so clothing or other needs are limited even more if not vanished. Under such circumstances several groups each week protest, hassling the various governmental plans.
The first steps of limiting and banning protests have been evident in the publicly performed police violence during protests. Since 2010 this violence has reached its post-dictatorial peak, with tear gas and beating up by police being used in industrial scale (e.g. June 2011 general strikes). In fact the evident aim is to terrorize those who may participate in protests, since anyone who dares to protest know that their health and wellbeing is in danger. But a much more evident spatialisation of the anti-protest policies came in 2011, when the government withdrew the so called academic asylum. Since the early 1980s the Greek constitution instructed that army or police should not access university grounds, unless the university authorities decide for such an action. Academic asylum is one of the main reasons that Panepitimiou street has emerged as the necessary part of almost every single protest march. Panepistimio (panepistimio/πανεπιστήμιο) in Greek means University, and Panepistimiou Street is where the University of Athens Refectory is located . The Square in front of the neoclassical Refectory was and still is the most common point for the gathering, departing and terminating of protest marches. The various university buildings during the history of Athens have been a haven for the protesters who have been chased down, beaten and attacked by the police. The central Athenian campuses functioned as centres of resistance both during the occupation of Athens by the Nazis and their Greek collaborators in the 1940s, and more famously during the anti-dictatorial resistance in the 1970s. Indeed, today universities are not a safe place anymore since police can raid them, restrict or ban any activity that takes place in there. The future erection of so many physical obstacles along the Panepistimiou Street of ‘Rethink Athens’ probably will lead to the end of Panepistimiou as part of protest marches.
The death of academic asylum, and the material regeneration of the main street of Athenian centre come at the same time with an explicit political decision to limit protest. In a profound move, since January 2013, almost every single major industrial action (metro workers, sailors and teachers) has been basically banned by the government in the name of public benefit, via the application of a very debateable law regarding civil conscription. But in May 2013 when the high school teachers’ strike was banned, their unions decided to start one of their first protest marches against the ban on the pedestrianized Ermou Street. A place where protests are located rarely. Perhaps that was an early semiological warning that one way or the other protests will not vanish from the city centre whatsoever material regeneration projects will be applied on Panepistimiou or elsewhere. Indeed they may vanish due to political reasons, e.g. if gatherings will be banned completely (indeed it is a possibility given the recent banning of strikes and the aforementioned statements of the Minster about limiting certain marches) but a simple reconstruction project will not be enough.
“One eats the other”
But capitalist competition and class structure in their purer form are not the only source of tension on the Athenian high-street. There are some more tangibly violent occurrences around the centre. These days around Omonoia or Kanigos Square, army-personnel-looking security guards walk in front of shops. One informant told me that they are working for the bank branches. Someone else said that the smaller shop-keepers received a good offer from a new private security company, which has pretty dangerous looking employees in order to kick out the homeless. When the sun sets, blankets and sleeping bags make their appearance in the arcades and the thresholds of the shops. The city centre is gradually transformed into a huge sleeping place in the nights, homelessness increases to unprecedented level. Additionally, these days a new cheaper drug, sisa, has appeared on the streets. Sisa has almost replaced the more expensive heroin, but sisa’s effects are much more severe. People lose their consciousness or are heavily tripping for hours – so homeless or not – addicted people often end up unconscious in the threshold of shops, with some businessmen blaming that situation for the bad fate of their enterprises. One way or the other, the point is that these private guards in all black military outfit seem to do the dirty job of keeping the urban poor out of public view in early morning.
Beyond the everyday violent encounters there is another process, violent as well but more structurally violent. This is phrased in various ways but one of the most common motifs seems to be the so called ‘interests’. Nobody seems to be sure but many people active in the centre of the city are angry with these “interests” (symferonta/συμφέροντα). This is a term referring abstractly to political or economic powers bigger than you (often including international agents) which act in an unethical way, having an impact to your everyday life. In the current case the implication is that there are agents who collaborate secretly for the drop of real estate prices in the centre of the city in order to devalue the properties and eventually buy them for peanuts. Although the rumour is more and more widespread and although in certain areas of the centre -such as Keramikos and Metaxourgeio- do emerge a tendency of companies which buy large number of properties, there is no evidence as yet for such an activity that aims at the entire centre of the city. ‘Rethink Athens’ will come in that deregulated real estate market changing anew the prices in the centre. But certainly the prices of real estate in Athens are in a free-fall. Some small independent merchants, feeling the pressure of the economic failure become verbal about the increasing structural unfairness of the new conditions implemented to the market the last fifteen years. Many blame explicitly the authorities that allegedly have done everything to pave the way for larger retail corporations to eliminate small independent shops and so to force the unwanted small/independent businesses to move out from the centre. The truth is that new infrastructures and big shopping malls have appeared en masse during the golden period of economic growth (1990s-2000s), within the centre but also in the Athenian suburbs altering radically the existing – back then – balances of the market. Moreover, there are various changes in policies the last decade which deregulate the market, a deregulation which has an impact to the smaller players, eliminating many of them. “But that’s the system, one eats the other, everyone is against everyone […] and so that’s the system, I have no different way to name it” a wise and cynical shopkeeper mentioned, in a bitter moment of realization.
 Although the term Athens centre refers to a large area with very different micro-histories, for the current text the word centre is used in reference to the area between Omonoia and Syntagma Square including the surrounding streets. (go back to text)
 Although the street was renamed Venizelou street on 1945, no single Athenian calls it anything else but Panepistimiou. (go back to text)
III. Paradigmatic constructions at a time of crisis
Our brief but nevertheless demanding perambulation in both the world of linguistics and the field of epistemology aimed at setting the theoretical foundations for an alternative comprehension of the informal, undeclared and performative appearances of the state of emergency. We now ought to test out the limit of these, by peeking over the bleak present as outlined by the intensive police operations against select façades of public space in Athens and beyond. An opportunity to conduct such an exercise is offered by the coordinated eviction operations of specific squats that took place in the city of Athens in the period between December 2012 and January 2013 (whilst it is not yet possible for us to tell whether the current period, today, comprises a mere pause in the materialisation of this plan).
A number of attempts have been made to comprehend the coordinated attack launched against these antagonistic structures during that month –– and we do not hereby wish to downplay any of these. The opinion holds truth that the state, facilitating the plans of the far-right in the wider area of the urban centre, had the evident intention to attack the nuclei of resistance, hence wiping off their trace and even more importantly, their social capacities from the metropolitan map.
The widespread claim is also important, that the actual target of this repressive operation was to directly attack ––with whatever symbolic extension–– those who fight and resist; reserving, in addition, a certain message for the practice of squatting as means for the needs of the wider antagonism. Beyond these interpretations, which we hold every right to support ––and which are only some within the world of interpretative capacities–– the present article wishes to insist upon another aspect of these operations, which appears to somewhat escape us yet nevertheless acts quietly toward the (re)production of a crucial meaning for its own self.
It would be interesting, then, to focus upon the fact in itself that these operations took place ; that is, to focus upon the materiality and the performance of these operations, upon the particular ways in which they were applied and upon the theoretical-conceptual framework that appears to explain and to have meticulously prepared them. One could therefore suggest that a crucial meaning is produced during the public appearance (or exposure, as per Agamben) of these operations, as forms that are lead, through their repetition, to their own self-comprehension, their self-legitimisation and further, their self-improvement. Forms that are to a large extent self-referential, essentially requiring their exposure to public light in order to hold meaning as such. Read the rest of this entry »
Minor Archive Ia, Typotopography of Greek Media Crisis
The New Radio and TV Complex near Athens, Agia Paraskevi, Αrchitectoniki, 44, 1964
|Vital Space is founded on the belief in the power of art to change the world. At a time of major confluence of economic and environmental crises,Vital Space deploys the artist’s perspective so as to dissolve the polarisation typifying the current dialogue on our relationship with Nature and with one another. Vital Space is dedicated to the initiation of art projects designed to reach and influence a wide and diverse audience. It strives to demonstrate in the most practical manner that art has its finger on the planet’s pulse and can mediate human deliberation on the course of our future.|
|Vital Space invites all artists to participate in the first of a series of open call competitions in the context of our ‘Raising Awareness‘ theme. For our first competition we invite short, one-minute video submissions under the broad title EAST | WEST – NORTH | SOUTH : Imperiled Viatl Spaces.|
DEADLINE:MIDNIGHT (EST) 7th September 2013
EAST | WEST – NORTH | SOUTH: Imperiled Vital Spaces
ABOUT THE 60″ VIDEO COMPETITION
|Participants are requested to submit an original sixty-second (one minute) video that reflects the theme’s spirit and helps raise awareness on our common predicament in this time of global crisis. Indeed, submissions from all over the world are encouraged, with our theme acting only as a general guide to the idea of a ‘local collapse’ following a global crisis.
Participants are asked to complete and to submit this electronic Registration Form (including a link to their video on YouTube, Vimeo or any other video hosting service website). The deadline expires at midnight (EST), 1th September 2013
PRIZES, AWARDS & EXHIBITIONS: THE ASSESSMENT PROCESS
|ROUND 1 – Videos go live: Vital Space will upload the approved videos on vitalspace.org by15th September 2013. The videos will remain on our site for two months.
ROUND 2 – Viewers’ Prize: The general public will then be invited to vote amongst the contenders for the Vital Space 60’’ Video Competition Viewers’ Prize for 2013. The vote will be completed by, and the winner will be announced on, the 16th of November 2013.
ROUND 3 – Panel Prize: On 1st October 2013, a five-member panel of jurists (drawn from Vital Space’s Board of Advisors) will announce the winner of the Vital Space 60’’ Video Competition Panel Prize for 2013, as well as two runners-up. These three videos (including the winner of the Viewers’ Prize) will then be added to the permanent collection of Vital Space’s Art Projects.
ROUND 4 – EXHIBITION: The winners of both prizes in all competitions, and possibly the runners up will be exhibited, during 2014. Athens will be the starting point of an exhibition series in Greece and abroad. Vital Space will announce details about the exhibition as soon as all competition results are announced.
VITAL SPACE’s PREVIOUS 60″ ‘RAISING AWARENESS’ VIDEOS
|The idea of one minute, 60’’, videos for the purposes of raising awareness was first introduced to Vital Space by its founder, Danae Stratou, who posted two such videos as part of the ‘inauguration’ of vitalspace.org. These two videos focused on public awareness regarding Climate Change and Urbanisation equivalently. The material shown is original, taken from Danae Stratou’s archive from shootings in hundreds of strategically chosen areas worldwide.|
|Vital Space is pleased to announce that this one-minute video competition is the first in a series of three annual competitions. The other two will involve photographic stills, with suitable captions, and short 100–word texts. For more, watch this space. You will soon receive our next Photographic Competition Announcement: Raising Awareness with One Image.|
Terms and Conditions
|Submitted videos must be one minute in length.
Any spoken words heard in the submitted video that are not in English must be accompanied by the relevant subtitles in English.
The video must not contain gratuitous violence, profanity, or defamatory statements (including racism or sexism) on individuals or organizations. Any entries deemed gratuitously offensive will be immediately disqualified.
Videos submitted must be original works – no copyrighted music, video, sounds or images may be used without prior, full permission from the author(s)/owners of said copyrighted music, video, sounds or images that you wish to include.
Submitted videos must not infringe on any third party rights.
Submitted videos that are the result of a group effort need to have a nominated representative.
Posted at Roarmag.org 08 May 2013
A collective of researchers, photographers and filmmakers comes together to launch a powerful new multimedia research project on the crisis in Athens.
A collective of researchers, photographers and filmmakers comes together to launch a powerful new multimedia research project on the crisis in Athens.
In recent years, Antonis Vradis of Occupied London has brought us invaluable reports from the front-line of the popular uprising(s) in Greece, while Ross Domoney, a member of the documentary photography and film collective Aletheia Photos, has produced some of the most paradigmatic short docs and video reports on the crisis and revolt currently under way in Athens. Now, the two join a team of researchers who have just launched the website for a very exciting new multimedia project.
In an emailed announcement, the research collective describes their initiative as follows:
Crisis-scape is the website of the “The City at a Time of Crisis”, a collective, cross-disciplinary ESRC-funded research project that traces the transformations of public spaces in Athens. By focusing on urban public spaces, we aim to study the rapid, wider social and political transformations that are under way in the crisis-ridden Greek society today.
The website so far features metronome, the first in a series of short films corresponding to each of the project’s research strands; a full interactive time-line of the crisis in Greece since 2008; a documentary explaining the ongoing social meltdown taking place in the country; an interview with Professor Stavros Stavrides of the NTUA; two blog-post series (état de siege: public space user manual and metronome) and much, much more.
Crisis-scape is updated every Monday with first-hand ethnographic accounts, theoretical interventions, digital interactive material, videos and photographs from the ground here in Athens.
We rely on your help to spread the word!
The www.crisis-scape.net team
Jaya Klara Brekke, Ross Domoney, Christos FiIippidis, Antonis Vradis and Dimitris Dalakoglou
The Capital of Accumulation DisOrient
May 16-19, 2013
ART-ATHINA INTERNATIONAL FAIR
Raqs Media Collective (Monica Narula, Jeebesh Bagchi and Shuddhabrata Sengupta) are artists based in New Delhi, India working with a diverse repertoire of practices and curiosities. They make installations, films, curate, edit books, produce networks & situations and have a special interest in the history of twentieth century cities.
OUT OF THE BOX INTERMEDIA Booth also presents a variety of past projects (Locus Solus, London 2009, Byzantine Museum 2009, Benaki Museum 2010, Eleventh Plateau Hydra 2011, UN/INHABITED Delos 2012,Metabolism of Forms London 2012 ) that the company has produced, curated by Dr. Sozita Goudouna.Dimitra Stamatiou’s work “Closer,” sculptures by Eva Marathaki and Leontios Toumpouris, the research projects Thanos Koutsianas & Stella Pantelia and Terezas Papamichali with Irini Efstathiou, Panos Kouros, Kaja Pawełek, Mary Zygouri and Nora Demjaha’s, Athina Kokla and Elena Chronopoulou from the project UN/INHABITED. Also, part of Danae Stratou’s work “It’s Time to Open The Black Boxes” and works by Mat Chivers, Marenka Gabeler and Costas Alivizatos’ model of the architectural installation for Locus Solus.
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Raqs Media Collective at OUT OF THE BOX INTERMEDIA BOOTH
Raqs Media Collective
“The Capital of Accumulation”
16-19 May 2013
Opening Reception: May 15, 7:30pm
Η Μη Κερδοσκοπική Εταιρία OUT OF THE BOX INTERMEDIA παρουσιάζει για πρώτη φορά στην Ελλάδα, στην ετήσια έκθεση ART-ATHINA την καινοτόμο καλλιτεχνική ομάδα RAQS MEDIA COLLECTIVE και τα έργα “The Capital of Accumulation” (Το Κεφάλαιο της Συσώρευσης) και το disOrient(αποΠροσανατολισμός) σε επιμέλεια Δρ. Σωζήτας Γκουντούνα. Το έργο αντιστρέφει τον τίτλο του πιο σημαντικού βιβλίου της Ρόζας Λούξεμπουργκ “Η Συσώρευση του Κεφαλαίου” (1913). Η αντιστροφή του τίτλου σηματοδοτεί μια ιδιαίτερη ανάγνωση και ερμηνεία της κληρονομιάς, της σορού και του πνεύματος της Λούξεμπουργκ. Στο συγκεκριμένο βιβλίο η συγγραφέας εξέθεσε τις αδυναμίες της θεωρείας του Μάρξ για τη διαδικασία της αναπαραγωγής του κεφαλαίου.
Το έργο των RAQS MEDIA COLLECTIVE έχει γυριστεί σε τρείς διαφορετικές πόλεις – Βαρσοβία, Βομβάη και Βερολίνο – και είναι μία φιλόδοξη βίντεο-εγκατάσταση (δίπτυχο) που αφηγείται την ιστορία της σχέσης των μητροπόλεων και του κόσμου με φόντο την ιδιαίτερη κριτική της παγκόσμιας πολιτικής οικονομίας της Λούξεμπουργκ. Η βιντεοεγκατάσταση μετεωρίζει μεταξύ ενός στοιχειωμένου, ονειρικού τοπίου που είναι εν μέρει φυσική ιστορία, εν μέρει ημερολόγιο μυστηρίου, εν μέρει ρητορική ανάλυση, εν μέρει κοσμοπολίτικη αστική έρευνα και εν μέρει φιλοσοφικός διάλογος. Στόχος του έργου είναι να προσφέρει ένα προσωπικό στοχασμό για τις δυνατότητες ριζοσπαστικής ανανέωσης στους καιρούς μας.
Οι Raqs Media Collective αρέσκονται στο να παίζουν ποικιλομορφους ρόλους, συχνά εμφανιζόμενοι ως καλλιτέχνες, κάποιες φορές ως επιμελητές και αραιότερα ως φιλόσοφοι “agent provocateurs.” Δημιουργούν σύγχρονη τέχνη, κάνουν φίλμ, επιμελούνται εκθέσεις, εκδίδουν βιβλία, “στήνουν” δράσεις, συνεργάζονται με αρχιτέκτονες, προγραμματιστές, συγγραφείς και σκηνοθέτες θεάτρου και έχουν καθιερώσει διαδικασίες που έχουν καθορίσει τη σύγχρονη πολιτιστική παραγωγή στην Ινδία. Η λέξη Raqs υποδηλώνει “κινούμενους στοχασμούς” παράγοντας φαινόμενα που είναι αεικίνητα σε σχέση με τις φόρμες και τις μεθόδους που εφαρμόζει ενώ παράλληλα καταφέρνει να συνέπεια στοχασμού. Οι Raqs Media Collective ιδρύθηκε το 1992 απο τους Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta. Η ομάδα έχει συνιδύσει το πρόγραμμα Sarai στο κέντρο Μελέτης για Αναπτυσσόμενες Κοινωνίες το 2000. http://www.raqsmediacollective.net
Παράλληλα, θα παρουσιάστει σε βιντεοπροβολή και άλλα μέσα το σύνολο των πρότζεκτ (Locus Solus, Λονδίνο 2009, Βυζαντινό Μουσείο 2009, Μουσείο Μπενάκη 2010, Eleventh Plateau Ύδρα 2011,UN/INHABITED Δήλος 2012, Metabolism of Forms Λονδίνο 2012 ) που έχει διοργανώσει η εταιρία σε επιμέλεια Δρ. Σωζήτας Γκουντούνα στο Λονδίνο και την Ελλάδα. Θα εκτεθεί το έργο της Δήμητρα Σταματίου “Closer,” σε επαυξημένη πραγματικότητα, τα γλυπτά της Έυας Μαραθάκη και του Λεόντιου Τουμπούρη, τα ερευνητικά πρότζεκτ του Θάνου Κουτσιανά & Στέλλας Παντελιά, της Τερέζας Παπαμιχάλη με τους Μαίρη Ζυγούρη, Ειρήνη Ευσταθίου, Πάνος Κούρος, Kaja Pawełek και των Nora Demjaha, Αθηνά Κόκλα και Έλενας Χρονοπούλου απο το πρότζεκτ UN/INHABITED στη Δήλο 2012. Επίσης, θα εκτεθεί μέρος του έργου της Δανάης Στράτου “Είναι Ώρα να Ανοίξουμε τα Μαύρα Κουτιά,” έργα των Mat Chivers Marenka Gabeler και η μακέτα απο την αρχιτεκτονική εγκατάσταση για το Locus Solusτου Κώστα Αλιβιζάτου.
During the 80s, transgender Greek artist and prostitute Paola Revenioti published the trans-anarchist fanzine Kraximo. Funded by her own prostitution, the zine pioneered the fight for gay and trans rights, combining interviews with Greek poets and intellectuals alongside Athens street hustlers and her own photography, since compared to the work of Larry Clark and Walter Pfeiffer. Today she continues to work as an artist and activist, making Athens-based documentaries with her “Paola Projects”. This interview is taken from the May issue of Dazed & Confused:
“I was born in 1959 on the Greek coast in Piraeus, a historic place. There were old captains and merchants from the Aegean islands gathered around the big port in neoclassical houses, while on the other side of town was the Trouba neighbourhood with its old brothels, cabarets and cinemas that played erotic movies after sunset. The American navy was moored off the coast. My father was a factory worker, my mother a hairdresser.
If you remember the character Tadzio, from the movie Death in Venice, that’s how I looked then, with my long blond hair. Boys there were nothing like the self-indulgent Athenian boys. They knew how to seduce you. I remember my grandmother showing me a piece of land one summer and saying, ‘This will be yours’ – a small yard, but a forest in my eyes. But for my father’s family it was a legacy I didn’t deserve; I was a ‘faggot’, shameful to them. I wanted to be independent and escape that family environment, so I joined the navy. I never had the opportunity of a proper education. In life I met extraordinary people and educated myself.
I was in my 20s when I moved to Exarchia in Athens. It was an oasis of painters, poets, musicians and intellectuals. A revolutionary neighbourhood. Most of the friends I made back then became famous for something. We wanted to change the world. I got officially involved with politics – as the first transvestite to run as a candidate for the Alternative Party of Ecologists. My beliefs were closer to anti authoritarianism and anarchism. We occupied universities, held demonstrations.
I began running my own pirate radio in Exarchia with money from prostitution. I’d go to work around nine in the evening and by 11pm I’d had about 25 customers, so I was making enough to run the station from midnight till 5am. I always played hard with the police. I was arrested twice for the station – the first time I hid the equipment with communists living next door. The whole of Athens was listening to ‘crazy Paola’. I’d receive live calls, start philosophical conversations on air, even arrange blind dates. I was evicted from my flat because every night dozens of boys would hang out on my doorstep, making too much noise. Read the rest of this entry »