By Eva Kekou, 4Humanities International Correspondent
Despite the economic crisis, a number of media art events are taking place in Athens. Creativity flourishes amidst difficult social and economic changes. It seems a crucial time of transformation is stimulating creativity and collaboration for the first time in Greece. The many events one can mention include Athens Fringe, which will take place for the third time this year, the Athens Biennale, the Thessaloniki Biennale, the Thessaloniki Urban Festival and a number of workshops and symposiums in media art. New communication technologies encourage the audience to express themselves about topics such as the urban environment, the city, environmental problems, and the economic crisis. It also seems that people under the current social and economic situation have become more extroverted and have started to act collectively. They also have been more actively involved in public art projects and collaborations with institutions, museums, and universities from abroad.
Two examples of these collaborations are the Invisible Cities workshop and the Urban Digital Narratives Event.
Invisible Cities Workshop-TAF
“What is a city for us today? I think I have written something like the last love poem for the cities, at a time when it becomes increasingly difficult to experience them. The crisis of a very large city is the opposite side of the crisis of nature.”
– Italo Calvino 1983
The Chinese Emperor, Kublai Khan, asks Marco Polo, the young traveler from Venice, to visit his vast empire and return to describe all of the cities he visited. Khan carefully listens to Polo’s narratives (although he cannot be sure if they are inaccurate or false) as Polo’s descriptions seem to identify and explore all those concealed and neglected aspects of cities. Cities are places of the exchange of words, desires, memories, wishes, signs of a language…
The 14 artists of razzmatazz art company interpret Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities as images, expecting the viewer to discover, to construe. Each room in taf’s courtyard represents one of the 9 sections of the book. They attempt to identify and map all the elements and parameters that explore the “city” as a concept and as an experience.
The tenth room is where Polo meets the Emperor.
Invisible Cities functions as a tour guide for the public. While exploring the room-cities, each member of the audience creates his/her own path: personal meetings, sounds, installations, images that Marco Polo used to describe to Kublai Khan the cities of his empire. Each city is an ideal destination for the traveler and the explorer who know how to use their senses.
Production: Central Saint Martins, RazzmatazZ art company
Concept-art direction: Zaharoula Ioannou
? Lydia Kontogiorgi/Mariza Pagkaki
?? Nadia Lakhani
??? Yael Sherill Mohilever
?V Douglas Williams
V Sapfo Pantzaki
VI Doris Hakim
VII Vassilis Chatzimakris
VIII Grace Laubacher
IX Ioanna Nassiopoulou/Dimitris Bogdanos
O Andreas Pashias/Christos Papamichael
Read more at the art foundation site.
2.Urban Digital Narratives ?vent
Art, science and technology event.
Eva Kekou and Martin Rieser in collaboration with the British Council, Athens Information Technology and the National Hellenic Research Foundation are organizing an interdisciplinary event that will focus on arts, science and technology, the city and locative media.
This three-day event consists of a workshop in which Keramikos streets will be mapped through various narratives, including memories, experiences and testimonies. Displacement and psychogeography are central to this workshop, which will be followed by a symposium where notions of art, science, and technology will be discussed with an emphasis on the city, narratives and locative media.
Symposium – see the full schedule here.
Moderator and Organiser: Eva Kekou
Invited speakers: Marcos Novak (Keynote Speaker), Roy Ascott, Alexandros Psychoulis, Stelios Giamarelos and Giorgos Tzirtzilakis.