In the last months we have met many interesting artists, actors, cultural producers, collectives and more. We have also participated in discussions with academics from Germany and the United Kingdom and most of the conversations have been centred around social impacts of art, economic impacts on art and ways of organising and producing. Whilst these aspects are extremely interesting, we noticed at some point that the focus on art itself was not so prominent.
Therefore we are posting a piece of art, produced by Teemu takatalo of the project, and relevant in a sense due to the recent discussions about censorship in Greece, but also in other parts of Europe. And also relevant because of the topics in the film itself.
Teemu's blog is: http://www.yleisradio.net
For more videos by Teemu, please visit:
A description of the film can be found below:
In September 2011 Teemu Takatalo's consumer critical mural The Absolution of the Enlightened Consumer was censored and destroyed in a gallery, in Tampere, Finland by the producers of the exhibition. The painting consisted of painted company logos of nine business enterprises, having their shops in the same shopping mall with the gallery, and texts about negligence of their social and environmental responsibility programs.
Read the full description by clicking HERE
We had the pleasure of welcoming Georg Eichinger and Heiner Legewie on the 22nd of February. Teemu was interviewed and photographed as part of their research towards an exhibition on Greek and international artists working in Athens. The discussion concerned crisis, economy, research methodologies, the future of art and Athens as a place of contradictions and creativity. Teemu was photographed as part of the material for the upcoming photographic exhibition. We greatly appreciate the richness of the conversation and exchange of ideas and expertise in research approaches and analysis.
Georg Eichinger and Heiner Legewie also interviewed and photographed Athenian street artists WD and Lotek, amongst others. More about this upcoming exhibition in the future.
Please like their Facebook page about the project to find out more: https://www.facebook.com/arttistsinathens
Here are some of their own words about the project:
As a photographer (Georg Eichinger) and a social scientist (Heiner Legewie) we want to explore the interaction between arts and economic crisis in Athens: How does the crisis influence artistic work formally and regarding the content and objectives of art work, how do artists and gallery owners cope with the situation, what kinds of cooperation and production models do they develop?
The art scene of Athens has become one of the most interesting places in Europe - as was Berlin in the years after the unification. We are convinced that artists are part of the vanguard in society and sort of seismographs to analyse social problems and develop visions of the future by their work. Therefore we share the motto of Documenta 2017 "Learning from Athens".
We want to interview and photograph Greek and international artists, gallery owners and curators of the Documenta team to document in our exhibition the social and artistic kosmos of art in Athens.
On the evening of Thursday the 18th of February, we presented the Holobiont Project and the research project '2Extremes' to our partner gallery in Stockholm Galleri Momangen. The discussions were open to the public and took place in various stages. The research project has been carried out during the last 5 months and has led to the practical creation of the Holobiont Project, a partnership with galleries and artist projects and will result in a publication which is due to be released in the coming months.
We discussed themes such as social sustainability, gentrification, militant collective methodologies, the dilemma of nationalism in relation to funding, economy and international collaborations. We also talked about differences and similarities between the realities in Stockholm and Athens and the available resources and infrastructure we can offer each other. These discussions will be continued in person in Stockholm in March and we will be working towards more exchanges and the possibilities for members of Momangen and their artists to visit Athens for exhibitions, meetings, workshops and whatever we might want to create.
The Holobiont Project's research project publication will be available at the Momangen Gallery once completed.
The Holobiont Project is a Nordic art and cultural research project with a special focus on Athens, Greece. It is the result of a research project called '2Extremes', funded by the Nordic Culture Fund, and carried out by Teemu Takatalo and Niklas Karlsson. The research has focused on the reality for creative and cultural production and dissemination in the Greek capital, a place shaped by recent political and economic crisis and with a long history of conflict and turmoil. We were interested in looking at this unique city at the other end of Europe and have worked towards gaining a greater understanding of the complexities it offers, whilst exploring themes such as social sustainability, urban transformations, public space, identities, alternative ways of organisation and production and international collaboration.
Findings from this research, and questions that have arisen from it, will be discussed via a Skype conference between Athens and Stockholm this coming Thursday at 21:00 at our partner gallery 'Galleri Momangen'.
Galleri Momangen, Kocksgatan 23, Stockholm.
Talk will be held in English and is free.
Meeting at Holobiont Project office: The Urban Politics and Governance of Social Innovation in Austerity
We had the pleasure of meeting up with Joe Painter and Antonis Vradis from Durham University, and filmmaker Ross Domoney, who are working on the project The Urban Politics and Governance of Social Innovation in Austerity, and Dean Hewitt from Boutique Athens and Sarri 12, to discuss art and cultural creativity in modern day Athens at our office in Psirri. The research project is a part of Urban Transformations, connected to University of Oxford and the Economic & Social Research Council.
We discussed issues such as the social impact of art, urban transformations, gentrification, social sustainability, poverty and crisis. Dean Hewitt shared his insights into the transformations of central Athens, and Psirri specifically, and the growth of street art in recent years. The research project looks at Athens, Berlin and Newcastle as case studies and 'aims to identify the roles of alternative finance, grassroots mobilisation and community provisioning in meeting the needs of their citizens as traditional forms of authority are disrupted and competition for public services increases'. Read a full description of the project HERE.
We will keep in touch with this research project and hope to exchange ideas and research in the near future.
Impressions of Athens by Julia Heslop, UK artist and writer, republished with kind permission from https://unofficialculture.wordpress.com
The first of some reflections I am writing about a recent trip to Athens. This article goes through feelings of hope, disillusionment, and then (tentative) hope again for a country at the hard end of extreme austerity. I hope that I have managed to illuminate the state of things over there for folks in the UK. Thanks to everyone that helped me out, everyone who was so welcoming, honest and open when I was there.
Debates about censorship of the arts came to light again as a controversial theatre production came to an abrupt end at the end of January, days before it was set to finish officially, after pressure from politicians, NGOs and the American Embassy. “The Nash Equilibrium” (Ισορροπία του Νας) had been performed at the Greek National Theatre’s Experimental Stage (REX) since the beginning of January and had attracted controversy since it contained excerpts of texts written by Savvas Xiros, a convicted member of the group November 17 which carried out 23 assassinations and more than 100 attacks between 1975 and 2002. The leadership of the play decided to cancel the production due to fear for the safety of the staff and the withdrawal of the main sponsor.