Documenta14 & Victoria Square Project in Athens

Documenta14 is already in the past but as Adam Szymczyk argued its social awareness concept – language & otherness – will be around for some time to engage people with social and political issues. Proof is one of its project, the Victoria Square in Athens, which started under the umbrella of Documenta14 and is carrying on its activities until now. The project was created by the artist Rick Lowe and its main concept is to create an infrastructure which will operate across of fields of culture, art and business as well as support of networks of  refugees and immigrants.


Pic. 1 : Photo: D. M-J, 2017

Victoria square (pic.1) was a neighborhood of middle class Athenians until around 1970s. Thereafter, the well off Athenians moved out and the area has slowly transformed to a cross road of immigrants and refugees. In 2015 it made a news overwhelmed by refugees and their traffickers and  tents all over the area of the square for the purpose of accommodating all those people. At the moment, all those tents have been removed and the square has been transformed into a United Nations kind of place. If someone passes by the square can hear all sorts  of languages (Arabic, Albanian, French, Greek, Polish, Swahili…) by people who try to communicate with each other with the ultimate purpose to find a way for better life.


Pic.2: Photo:  D M-J, 2017

Victoria Square Project has its base very close to the Square at 13 Elpidos str. (pic. 2) and it has a lot of participants that they help to understand better the cultural, historical and political dynamics of this area.

When I visited the area and the premise one month ago,  I saw quite few people including children around other than Greeks and it seemed to me  that they felt  at easy in this place. I suppose, as all the foreigners in a new land, they found  a place that they can pop in and  be welcomed. Also, I noticed that  some activities were taking place such as knitting, reading… which can occupy people’s mind pleasantly and give a short term purpose.

One of the participants of the VS project is Barbara Mulas, creator and co-curator of Nest Conversations: an occasional and nomadic series of free social events that challenges through the language/conversations and art projects the meaning of the term NEST : comfort vs. uncomfort in people’s life.  Through her experience of leaving and working in the Victoria Square Project created the Unest art project which was hosted in a small apartment in Athens. The main concept was to illuminate the individual comfort/discomfort in a such an intense environment as the Victoria Square area.

Pic.3 : 1,2,3*  photo:  D. M-J, 2017

The conversations started in the Kitchen (pic.2)  by writing on the Kitchen wall questions posed by the audience. In one of the corners of the living room there was a board game – Backgammon or Tavli for the Greeks – a board game as a point of comfort for the immigrants and a point of connecting people of different origins (Backgammon has its origin in Persia). On one of  the walls of the living room there were photos of foreigners in Athens from refugees, immigrants to well off  tourists (comfort v.s comfort). The event attracted 70 people from the area of Athens, a good number to start a conversation and stimulate minds around the issues of the individual’s comfort vs. discomfort on a given social setting.

This small interlude was an example of how the Victoria Square Project brings different people together and enhances communication. The power of language and communication by extension is a pivotal remedy for a society’s  malfunctions.


p.s.1.: The Nest Conversations project is co-curated by Barbara Mulas and Christina Aquirre and its online nest is at :

p.s.3* : Pic 1: Nest conversations unnest#1- questioning room, concept by Mulas and Aquirre, executing by Aquirre ; Pic. 2  : ELA this place is important to me by Anne Marie Slater; Pic. 2 : Untitled by Frankie Mills.


Documenta14 : Small is beautiful

My last visit  in one of the small venue of Documenta14 in Kassel was a big surprise and I think one of the best. The top apartment of a building  right in the center of  Friedrichsplatz has been transformed as a venue for the single exhibition of a Greek artist Apostolos Georgiou (1952, Thessaloniki, Greece).  His artwork is very human centric and all of his paintings are untitled. He leaves the viewers to make their interpretations as it should be.IMG_8312





*Apostolos Georgiou studied Architecture at Hoschshule fur Angewandte Kunst, Vienna and Art at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Florence.



Documenta 14 : A glimpse of the programme and venues in Athens


Pic : Screenshot http://www.documenta14. de/gr ,  2/04/2017

Documenta 14  in Athens is opening on the 8th April and still its PR department keeps its cards closed to its chest! In the previous week(24 March) documenta just announced the collaboration with the various institutions in Athens and gave a description of the events for each venue. I found all the information on  the website “Universes in Universe “(  In an ideal world I would like to follow all the events but probably I have to follow Adam Szymczyk’s advice “the visitor needs to make a choice of what he wants to attend” and choose some of them:

  • Athens Conservatoire (Odeion Athinon):

In the documenta 14 exhibition at Odeion Athinon, the willfully mystic and modernist Greek composer Jani Christou plays a central role. Whereas his notion of the “continuum” provided an early experimental framework for working sessions between artists, curators, and the documenta 14 team, Christou’s idea that “music can be silent” and his methodology of “metapraxis” are relevant to a consideration of other composers like Pauline Oliveros, the Scratch Orchestra of Cornelius Cardew, and the new generation of artists presented at this venue.

  • Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA)—Pireos Street (“Nikos Kessanlis” Exhibition Venue)

Since the fall of 2016, Arnisa Zeqo of aneducation (the public education program of documenta 14) has led Elective Affinities, a seminar inviting students from various departments to engage with documenta 14 artists. The exhibition in the lofty galleries of the N. Kessanlis Exhibition Hall reaches beyond Athens, examining work from Ciudad Abierta, or “Open City,” founded outside Valparaiso in Chile, from Rabindranath Tagore’s Santiniketan school in the Bengali countryside near Kolkata, and from Matanzas, the “Athens of Cuba”—to name just three key schools and sites of learning that documenta 14 examines.

  • Benaki Museum

documenta 14 enters into a dialogue with four of the museum’s branches: the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art; the Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery; the Mentis Center for the preservation of traditional textile techniques; and the Pireos Street 138 Annex, located in the once industrial Rouf area. With its inward-looking architecture and spacious inner courtyard, the 138 Pireos St. Annex offers an opportunity for investigating untold, unfinished, or otherwise overshadowed histories—and proposing novel museologies, instantiated by the newly commissioned and historical works included in this major portion of documenta 14 exhibition.

  • EMST, National Museum Of Contemporary Art

Documenta 14 asks what (kind of citizen) can this factory still produce? The figure of Diogenes—the Cynic, cosmopolitan, and self-proclaimed citizen of the world—serves as our guide, whom we encounter on the ground floor in the copper engraving of Nicholas Poussin’s painting Landscape with Diogenes. Known for his austerity, Diogenes dispenses even with his cup after observing a youth using his bare hands to drink water.

  • Greek Film Archive, “Tainiothiki”
  • Megaron, The Athens Concert Hall

The extensive music program presented by documenta 14 takes center stage at the Megaron concert hall complex. Major works such as Henryk Górecki’s Symphony No. 3, Op. 36 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs) and Frederic Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated! are being performed along with pieces by singular contemporary composers such as Julius Eastman, Éliane Radigue, and Jakob Ullmann. Joaquín Orellana premieres his new work Sinfonía del Tercer Mundo (Symphony from the Third World), a culmination of years of experimentation with choirs and orchestras as well as his own invention, the “utilés sonoros” (sound utensils), which is on display at the Megaron at the time of his performance.

  • Amerikis Square, Stavropolou 15

Maria Eichhorn’s work at the site consists of converting the building into an unowned property, which is to remain unused and protected against gentrification, real-estate speculation, and acquisition for commercial purposes.

  • Ancient Agora of Athens, Odeon of Agrippa

The two artists of Prinz Gholam appropriate the ancient architecture of these sites o and write their history anew by orchestrating a movement score of correspondences between the statues and their own bodies.

  • Archaeological Museum of Piraeus

Presented at the museum is Collective Exhibition for a Single Body, a proposal formulated by documenta 14 curator Pierre Bal-Blanc in collaboration with Greek choreographer Kostas Tsioukas and dancers Myrto Kontoni and Anastasio Koukoutas. A body is dissected into distinct parts, as in an anatomical study. Each part, limb, muscle, or organ becomes the medium of an action overseen by the curator and the choreographer and created by selected artists participating in documenta 14. The proposed gestures are translated into scores and performed amidst museum visitors by three dancers in an aleatoric fashion, repeated continuously.

  • Archimedous 15

The industrial district of Moschato is characterized by workshops, tavernas, wholesale shops, and low-income housing blocks. It is also home to the Athens School of Fine Arts, Pireos Street campus. Not far from the school are two adjacent spaces sharing the same address. The first, a former print shop with high ceilings and concrete floors, houses Otobong Nkanga’s production of new soap recipes inspired by different regions of Africa, the Middle East, and Southern Europe. Next door, in a former taverna, Nikhil Chopra stages a three-day performance in which he makes a wall drawing of the open sea, before setting off for a road trip to Germany through Eastern Europe. The road trip is punctuated by performances with public drawings and collaborative events, with the cycle concluding upon his arrival in Kassel.

  • Parko Eleftherias, Athens Municipality Arts Center
    Museum of Anti-dictatorial and Democratic Resistance

For eight months, the building has been the site of the Parliament of Bodies, a space for public debate and collective performance, and it continues to have this function throughout the exhibition. In this context, we ask what does it mean to be public? Who can narrate history? Who is allowed to speak? Can the museum be used against its own colonial and patriarchal regimes of visibility? The Museum of Anti-Dictatorial and Democratic Resistance also serves as one of the sites of the exhibition by hosting a film by the Syrian collective Abounaddara.

  • Aristotle’s Lyceum

Between the Athens Conservatoire (Odeon Athinon) and the Sarogleio Building (Armed Forces Officers Club) lie the foundations of the ancient Lyceum of Aristotle, established by the philosopher in 335 BC with a focus on peripatetic learning. The ancient Greek word περιπατητικός (peripatêtikos), or “given to walking,” signals Aristotle’s key notion of learning as a movement of the body in tandem with the movement of the mind. In the installation by Postcommodity, movement takes the form of sound at the archaeological site. Transmitted through highly precise military-grade speakers, stories of forced displacement, imposed journeys, and transformation are broadcast—sometimes sung, sometimes spoken, and at times merely indicated by silence.

  • Attis

Founded in Delphi in 1985 by Theodoros Terzopoulos, the Attis Theatre is dedicated to performing works of ancient Greek tragedy. The theater collaborates with international festivals and theaters to bring attention to the tragic drama and revitalise the knowledge of its form. It was the wish of playwright Jannis Kontrafouris (1968-2007) that his Jocasta, completed shortly before the author’s death, would be directed and staged by Terzopoulos. A meditation on human suffering, the play explores the margins of speech and barest leftovers of meaning. The protagonist here is the language itself, as it carries the traces of the once glorious past into the world of contemporary atrocity.

  • Avdi Square

The former factory of the silk company, one of the oldest neoclassical buildings in the city and now the Municipal Gallery, once employed more women than men; the women were paid less than half the average male wage. In response to these and other not-so-distant histories of hard working conditions and inequality, Sanja Iveković reimagines Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Monument to Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht as a public stage for workers’ rights, women’s rights, and class struggle.

  • Gennadius Library
  • Dionysiou Areopagitou

On April 9, horses and riders set out on The Athens–Kassel Ride: The Transit of Hermes, in a procession that begins at the midpoint along Dionysiou Areopagitou. The procession celebrates the horses and riders as they depart on a 1,850-mile journey on horseback to Kassel, taking place over approximately 100 days. Inspired by the Swiss-Argentine horseman Aimé Tschiffely’s trek from Buenos Aires to New York (1925–28) on two Argentine Criollo horses, The Athens-Kassel Ride is conceived by Ross Birrell and developed in collaboration with Peter van der Gugten, founder of the Annual Tschiffely Memorial Ride. The ride is being carried out by Tina Boche, Peter van der Gugten, Zsolt Szabo, and David Wewetzer in accordance with the Charter of Reken.

  • Isadora & Raymond Duncan Dance Research Center
  • National Archaeological Museum

Originally designed in 1866 to host finds from nineteenth century archeological excavations, the museum’s collections—the most extensive in Greece—date from the sixth millennium BC to late antiquity. The building’s neoclassical façade was designed by Ernst Ziller, an important architect of imperial buildings under King George I. In the 1940s, when Nazi troops invaded Athens, archaeologists in Greece (in a gesture similar to those of colleagues around the world) chose to protect ancient objects by reburying them. Daniel Knorr references this act in his (unrealized) proposal to bury the sculpture Boy with a Dog from the collection of the National Archeological Museum for the duration of the exhibition. His second proposal involves setting up a hydraulic press to print a book, in which each edition includes objects found on the streets of Athens pressed between the pages—an archeology of today, preserved for the future.

  • Polytechnion,” Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA) and the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA)—Patission Street Complex

A main work on view at the Polytechnic is a model proposed by artist Rainer Oldendorf, which is inspired by the Functional City exhibition mounted in Athens in 1933. The exhibition was the culmination of the fourth Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM 4) held on board a ship traveling from Marseilles to Athens

  • Syntagma Square

Ibrahim Mahama engages in an intervention on Syntagma Square that involves repurposed jute sacks, once used for transporting commodities, to reveal the layers of political action performed on this square over time.

*More venues and description of the events on the website of Universes in Universe.

From all the above probably I will be able to attend only a handful and again I feel that I am quite lucky!


The Girl from Ipanema

Who has not been humming the tune of “The Girl from Ipanema” as was going up and down in the elevators around the world?  It was the most popular song in history, behind Beatles of  “Yesterday”! Lately through the media and because of the Olympics in Rio the story about the inspiration of the song came up in the surface and became part of the Olympics opening ceremony with Gisele Bundchen. The story was so romantic and once more reassures me  that life is getting better when there are musicians, poets, artists and in general when there is still around the University degree of Art & Humanities which is so depreciating subject  in our times.What will we do without all these people that feed our soul? It is quite clear that the type of Mark Zuckerbergs in this world, simply alone  does not fit the bill for  making us feel better and enhance our inner soul.

But let’s see the story behind the song which I don’t know if it is true but who cares ? It is a nice one! Lydia Hutchinson at the website ‘’ writes:  “Summer 1962. Rio de Janeiro. At the Veloso Bar, a block from the beach at Ipanema, two friends—the composer Antonio Carlos Jobim and the poet Vinícius de Moraes—are drinking Brahma beer and musing about their latest song collaboration.The duo favor the place for the good brew and the even better girl-watching opportunities. Though both are married men, they’re not above a little ogling. Especially when it comes to a neighborhood girl nicknamed Helô. Eighteen-year-old Heloisa Eneida Menezes Pais Pinto is a Carioca—a native of Rio. She’s tall and tan, with emerald green eyes and long, dark wavy hair. They’ve seen her passing by, as she’s heading to the beach or coming home from school. She has a way of walking that de Moraes calls “sheer poetry.” Legend has it that Jobim and de Moraes were so inspired by this shapely coed, they wrote a song for her right on the bar napkins!”

Those musicians and poets, eh!



Helo Pinheiro and Vinícius de Moraes

And when you listen Sinatra and Jobim  to sing the song you feel even better and life is good again!


Enjoy the rest of summer! August is a fabulous month to recharge our batteries with uplifting music  during its summer lazy days. Don’t worry, Mark will make all this job  of competing  and achieving (jogging, learning Chinese…) for us 😉  Have a nice one!

Booking open for MmIT 2016 Conference

Booking is now open for the 2016 MmIT annual conference – Digital Citizenship: What is the library’s role?

To book go to

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During this conference we will explore and discuss several digital citizenship themes and the role and responsibility of the library and the librarian in supporting citizenry in the digital world.

The conference themes will consist of, your library’s role in:

  • Digital access and inclusion
  • Digital literacy
  • Digital communications (including digital profiles, reputation)
  • Digital law
  • Digital security

Digital citizenship is a term often used to describe how people acquire and use their digital and online skills and experiences in order to further achieve and develop in their personal, professional and social roles. MmIT believe that libraries across all sectors play a significant role in supporting and developing digital citizenship with our user communities.

With four expert keynote speakers confirmed, the conference seeks to facilitate discussion and the sharing…

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“Only men of property could vote…”

During the pre-enlightenment period  only men of property could vote and probably it was a continuation and mimic of the  Athenian democracy where only the aristocrats can vote -no women, slaves and commoners…

The  British referendum had divided the country into two camps (leave & remain) with clear animosity between them. The same happened with the Greek referendum of “No & Yes” against EU/German’s bailout.

Many people have argued only selective persons must vote such as:  young people whose future belong to them, the highly educated, probably with PhD and above from Ivy league or Oxbridge Unis and for sure the petite bourgeoisie  with their well grounded aspirations for better life , their “comme il faut” appetite for museums, concerts and their pedant inclination to scorn everyone who has posted on facebook a ‘grammarly accident’. The rest must stay at home and play videogames or watch x-factor. Only by this way Democracy will survive, they argue.

The above arguments gave me an inspirational idea :  to abolish all these nonsense elections – government, local, referendum…-  and launch a whole new election concept  : the Bank elections as we say Bank holidays et cetera. Where the above mentioned selective people will elect the Banker of the year or the best Bank with the best mortgage or interest rate…

The following  is a parody from 1915 by Alice Duer Miller, satirizing all the reasons given at the time the reasons for why women shouldn’t vote :