Starting March 30th 2017, a group of about twenty artists, currently enrolled at the weissensee academy of art, together with a group of contributors from the Athens School of Fine Art, will collaborate on a symposium and on presentations around the Kastela Art Center in Piraeus, and The Art Foundation (TAF) in Athens.
In English, being on the edge, or being edgy, usually figuratively refers to being nervous, aware of imminent danger, as in standing on the edge of a cliff, or on the edge of disaster. On another level, Piraeus, as an important port, also reflects a notion of an edge, in particular topographically, one of the (many) edges of Europe. And what has been termed „the Greek Crises“, already has become a European crisis, the background against which we can examine the question of the most important values representing the Euro-pean idea.
Art cannot offer any solutions in this respect, but it can help to contribute different images and ideas. The questions that have informed the artistic dialogue leading to this project can be summed up in a few core questions: How do structures imposed on a society affect its citizens? Does a „the least evil“ agenda lead to the death of democracy? How can artists study, survive and stay active under extreme conditions, how can artists continue to reflect and shape the society, even in extraordinary circumstances?
Athens is a logical location for this artistic research, as it is not only historically and culturally an iconic city, it also has come to represent the future, as an international and dynamic metropolis, that has come to evoke a terminology and imagery of crisis, as well as attracting public discourses about solutions, as in the upcoming edition of documenta.
Within these objectives everything appears interconnected – the private, the public and the political, the local to the global, from downsizing to uprising. These very contemporary complications of inter-personal, inter-institutional and inter-national relations in the context of this project will be reflected primarily in a sense of awareness of the participants, and their choice of topics. These range from aspects of the experience of everyday life in Athens and of the results of austerity measures imposed on Greece by the EU, but also address stereotypical statements of left wing idealism, questioning the uprising and its medial reflections.
Stimulated by discussions about texts by Judith Butler (Notes towards a Performative Theory of Assembly), Franco „Bifo“ Berardi (The Uprising – On Poetry and Finance), Giorgio Agamben („Stasis“ – Civil War as a Political Paradigm), but also the writings of Hannah Arendt and Panajotis Kondilys, to name but a few, the artistic approaches will consist of experiences with and reflections on the contemporary urban environment and its interpretations of the Greek legacy.
They also include the development of communicational models between capitalistic human-human interactions and new lifestyles. Further motifs will involve representations of activism and social transformation, community and migration, democracy and mass media, the plots of memory and the personification and development in ancient tragedies and comedies.
These ideas are already showing a tangible influence on topics and formats of artistic production, both in individual artistic research, as in experimental, performative and participatory practices. Most works will be produced onsite and take the form of performed displacements, secret experiments and experiences, newly invented objects, live performances, photographs and films.
Events will continue throughout the month of April and will be announced separately.
Organisation and curating:
Athens: Nikos Tranos, Loukas Loukidis, Lydia Vairaktaraki
Berlin: Hannes Brunner, Guy Féaux de la Croix, Ulrike Mohr, Andreas Schlaegel, Maria Turik