Removement Athens 2017 project (1.6.2017- 30.6.2017) links the stories of the past with a modern approach of reusing three different Arcades located in the centre of Athens: Praxitelous, Kairi and Arsaki. Installations, artworks, video-art projections, performances and interactive events constitute a one-month artistic program that invites artists and audience to revive the city’s urban memory and to create or witness artistic interventions within these three historical arcades.
Removement project is inspired by the issue of abandonment of Athens itself, a direct effect of the financial crisis that has resulted in an abundance of empty or damaged buildings. Accordingly, the same phenomenon has stricken various neighborhoods of our city, which lost their unique identity, causing its people to move away because of fear and insecurity.
Buildings that once stood as the columns of the active tissue of Athens now stand isolated as remnants of a busy past. Removement stands as an observer of these changes: it documents both realistically and conceptually every single movement in the passage of time, even when the change stays unnoticed by the human gaze. These rapid changes influence year after year what is called the urban memory, and it is this topic that moves Removement itself, which will be used by the project’s artists as a motivating power to awake and recall through the most precious and direct call: art.
Athenian Arcades revisited
It focuses on and draws its themes from the Athenian Arcades. It follows the course of the arcades in the city centre throughout their contemporary history as well as their transformation over the years. Places sealed with flows of people for decades, places which once fulfilled the dream of success and interpersonal relationships, are tamed nowadays by oblivion. Along with the change in use and the passing of time, the stories and the people who created the city’s arcades were sidelined, too. These stories function as the main inspiration for Removement’s visual and performing artists.
Removement begins from the small domed Arcade in Praxitelous street, unraveling the thread of narration through a performance, directed and composed by choreographer/stage director Natassa Zouka, inspired by the past use of the Arcade’s upper floors as tailor shops and its ground floor as the final destination of the garments for sale from the façade stores.
Kairi Arcade will host visual interventions, installations and video-art projections on the four levels of the Arcade. The starting point of the artworks is the history of the Arcade itself: from the old sock industries to today’s wrapping materials shops and the remaining gun repair shop of the Papaioannou family, the artists Tzeni Argyriou, Vasilis Gerodimos, Peggy Kliafa, Yorgos Maraziotis, Andreas Savva, Christos Tolis and Panayiotis Velianitis each one using different means and materials, transform the spaces of the Arcade in a canvas full of changes, colours, emotions which both contribute to the revival of the urban memory and predispose the need of new ways of reuse.
Arsaki Arcade will host three different performances which propose, each from another viewpoint, the restoration of the Arcade not only as a passage, but also as a place of gathering, resting and relaxation: an oasis in the centre of the city. The three performances are directed and composed by Marianna Kavalieratou (choreographer/performer), Konstantinos Ntellas (stage director/actor) and Mariela Nestora (choreographer).
“Removement” constitutes a visual and performing arts exhibition, which aims at interpreting, attributing and synthetically presenting motion or/and alteration, which characterizes a land, through the creative utilisation of mixed media. Its starting point is the observation and recording of the phenomenon of ‘mobility’, focusing each time on the specific geographical area, as well as the society, where Removement is presented. The main goal of the project is to offer dynamic answers to contemporary concerns and quests while interpreting the reasons that cause mobility all around the world in such intensity and sequence. Indicatively mentioned: financial factors, cultural diversity, social issues, religious subjects, war conflicts, the manifestation of natural phenomena etc.
Removement is not limited within specific geographical regions. It aspires to acquire a universal character and offers the possibility to artists around the world to get involved. The creative team aims to collect enough data for each different place the exhibition will visit and, then, to collaborate with artists who live and work at that particular place, creating as a result a sincere and original response on the issues approached. In this way the dialogue acquires a more substantial and universal dimension, providing the results of the project with more material and diversity.
Removement team: Maria Vasariotou – Artistic Director, Art Curator & Production Manager, Konstantinos Sakkas – Performing Arts Curator & Artistic Consultant. DELTA PI | www.delta-pi.org – Production Management. Polina Gioltzoglou – Anthropological Research, Yorgos Nomikos – Assistant Curator