Phoebe Giannisi, Zissis Kotionis
Urban Trend: Urban Memory
Nothing to do with Dionysos, 2013
3 min., 40 sec.
Phoebe Giannisi (phoebegiannisi.net) received her Ph.D. in architecture from the University Lumière Lyon II in 1994. She is currently serving as assistant professor of design and cultural studies at the University of Thessaly, Greece. Her work lies at the border between poetry, performance, theory, and installation, investigating the connections between language, voice, and writing with body, place, and memory. She has published five poetry books and the following theory monographs: Récits des voies. Chant et cheminement en Grèce archaïque (Jérôme Millon, 2006) and, with Alexander Tzonis, Classical Greek Architecture: The Construction of the Modern (Flammarion, 2004). Selected exhibitions include the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark (2011), Hungarian University of Fine Arts, Budapest (2010), and the Lyon Biennale (2009). In 2012--13, her poetic video/sound installation, Tettix, was exhibited at the Museum of National Art (EMST), Athens.
Zissis Kotionis (kotionis.com) has a Ph.D. in architecture and is also a writer, visual artist, and professor of architectural design at the University of Thessaly, Greece. Kotionis has published seven books in Greek on architectural theory and urban studies. He has also published two books of fiction and poetry. His studio's projects and buildings have been published and received awards. Selected exhibitions include the Venice Architecture Biennale (2004, 2006); Europan, Madrid (1993); Biennale of Architecture, Krakow (1989); and Mediterranean Biennale, Barcelona (1989). In 2012, his architectural project Multidomes, on the multitude, metropolis, and the commons, was exhibited in Benaki Museum, Athens.
Together Giannisi and Kotionis designed the Greek participation in the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2010, The Ark: Old Seeds for New Metropolitan Cultures. They founded the artist collaborative Urban Void (1998--2006), which exhibited at the Biennale of São Paulo in 2007.
Nothing to do with Dionysos (2013) documents a public art event that took place at Plato's Academy, an archeological site and park located in a degraded multicultural area of Athens. It was the former site of Plato's school and sanctuary of Dionysus. Today, this partly excavated park functions as a place of memory and a leisure point for the "others" of the city----the migrant population. The event documented in the video was created in response to the current critical situation of the city of Athens, and to celebrate autumn and the vine harvest.
The temporary installation suggested a mnemonic reference to the ancient theater's structure. It consisted of a wine press for the orchestra, an open place with microphones for the skene, and an auditorium constructed of parallel rows of straw bales. The performance involved vine stepping and rhythmic public reading. Dionysus is considered to be the god of wine and represents the origins of tragedy. He has also been interpreted as the god of the other, especially appropriate for this location.
National Museum of Contemporary Art
Municipality of Athens
Hellenic Ministry of Culture
Grapes' Sponsor: Aggelos Rouvalis and Asprolithi Wine
Dramaturgy : Isabella Martzopoulou, Stergios Barres
Texts by: Dioskorides, Ossip Mandelstam, Anacreon, Homer, Friedrich Hölderlin,
Marina Tsvetaeva, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, Archilochos, Pier-Paolo Pasolini,
Antonio Negri, Emily Dickinson, Magical Papyri
Performers: Stergios Barres, Yorgos Chantzis, Phoebe Giannisi, Yannis Grigoriadis,
Orestis Davias, Katerina Iliopoulou, Nadia Kalara, Zissis Kotionis, Panos Kouros,
Konstantinos Matsoukas, Iordanis Papadopoulos, Nana Sachini, Eleni Tzirtzilaki,
Daphne Vitali, Adonis Volanakis.
Percussions: Petros Kourtis and the ensemble Drumvoice
Cooking performance: Eleni Psychouli, Anna Maroulaki
Camera: Yanis Isidorou
Montage: Betty Gkoudani
Sound Design: Nikos Vamvakas
Studio Recording and Sound Procession: Lab of Environmental Communication
and Audiovisual Representation (LECAD), University of Thessaly, Greece.
Inside the video (besides parts of the public performance) we hear
Fragments of the Homeric Hymn to Dionysos in ancient Greek.
Voice: Phoebe Giannisi
Subtitles Translation for the Hymn: Hugh G. Evelyn-White (from Perseus Project).
Copyright For the Image of Dionysos Cup (Exekias-Schale, Dionysos Inv.
8729): Staatliche Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek, München.
Special thanks to:
Anna Kafetsi, Director of the National Museum for Contemporary Art
Manolis K. for the boat people frames
Ifigeneia Charatsi for her technical support
Daphne Vitali for her curatorial support