the reception is an artistic project about the city and its people · we began the miracle (το θαύμα) · a research project about the reconstruction of the greek society after World War II · focusing on a broader picture which includes us all · more details here
The Reception originated almost reflectively during the crisis. After 10 years and many adventures it is being redesigned. It started by word of mouth. As a walk talk about Athens. Continued as a public study about cities in general in Greece and abroad. Because the city is the place of our common life.
In the beginning, emphasis was stressed upon actual physical presence. Now the driving force is our need to converse with people who cannot be present physically. Future walks will be scheduled upon adequate request. From now on, we begin web-based broadcasting of stories, texts, words and sounds. With sound or else radio performances targeting a series of podcasts. Videos, publications and more will follow.
either you or nothing
We need your help, though. All these years the project was kept alive doggedly and with minimum support. We can accomplish a whole lot more though with your assistance.
The important thing is to resist the systematic devaluation of Greek society which besides being catastrophic is unfair as well. And Europe seems to be also disintegrating. We need to tell our stories from the beginning, highlight the complexity of our world without underestimating our audience. And remember that one of the highest pleasures is understanding. This is our goal. If you can, support us financially through donation. The slightest contribution means a lot.
In any case adopt our project your own way, spread the word and send us your opinion to this email address firstname.lastname@example.org
the story so far
The Reception started spontaneously in 2010. As a walk with foreign visitors, journalists, research scientists, artists or simply friends who wanted to relate to the developments in Greece. We were in the midst of the infamous “greek crisis”.
Sitting and talking in a coffee bar wasn’t enough. We had to step out of the atmosphere of that time which was a state of urgency. We needed to find time. Above all, we had to test somehow the limits and automations of a vocabulary which drove our minds constantly to the same conclusions. We needed to renew our awareness of the space. And this awareness urges language to change routes, is also known as poetry. Thus, I should mention now that we have taken to the streets with the lust for poetry, even if the Reception is not replete with poetics.
When, again, it started happening with Greeks and Athenians, it was a reaction to the desperate grief and overflowing devaluation of anything emanating from Modern Greece; a devaluation which clearly lacks solidity, although often this is a profound occurrence. The Reception was a call to a relentless consolation; because this is what Athens teaches us specifically and History in general.
It would be well uttered that this is a presentation of a pursuit which started during my teenage years and never really stopped. Somehow abusively and in retrospect, the sensation of that period could be summarized in a few points.
Firstly, the things mentioned lightly about the city harboured unprocessed or/and ideological evaluations concerning the lot of Greek history and society.
Secondly, setting up a discussion about Greece out of the European history context, which is finally the context of global history, leads to misconceptions. And we should emphatically stress that misconceptions result to social injustice are perpetuated by those taking advantage of them, in other words are reproduced since they legitimize the interest of the most powerful, the most powerful state, the most powerful social group and the most powerful individual.
Thirdly, the discussion about “cultural” criticism was always creating great confusion. The notion of civilization is so fluid and dynamic which explains itself anyone’s reluctance to deal with it. The field of civilization negotiates the suspicious and always enigmatic yet fully essential ingredient of our world which is nothing more than meaning itself; necessary because as long as the ineffective conversation regarding meaning is absent or weak, so more society becomes vulnerable, insecure, in loss of its moral strength.
So, in public discussion, never mind the known and unknown exceptions, the pattern was rather simple. Whether we were content in discussing the sum of whole eras-societies-civilizations with political and economical arguments, whether we embraced and glorified other so-called cultural examples (e.g. Ancient Greece or Byzantium). The funny thing is that when we were critical of Modernity and defended some other cultural voice, no serious effort was made for a fresh new look; in all we saw everything as presented by our Eurocentric tradition, similar to what we allegedly control.
In other words, when total conclusions were made these were automatically inherited from a modern Eurocentric tradition which ultimately recognizes no other than itself. The difficulty of the existence of the Other obstructs our era of examining its preconditions, its foundations, of comprehending and solving its problems, of being unable to see itself from a distance, like one more culture amongst others. This final spot is crucial because globalization evolves and there is this ongoing sense of the absence of “another” civilization (e.g. China nowadays doesn’t seem to embody any Chinese Civilization).
So, we headed downtown in order to study the “monuments” of the city, that is almost anything we found on our way. Emphasis was stressed on the processes which gave birth to the Greek state in the 19th century, part of which was the Greek Revolution, an extremely significant and worldwide event. While we kept returning to the 5th century B.C. without looking at it closely, other emerging reasons urged us to examine different-often neglected-eras, such as the Roman, the so-called Byzantine, the Ottoman. Very quickly a route was formed, which kept changing and evolving. Then it appeared that the selected important spots showed each time a point on which two different things osculated or approximated; transitions or connections, gaps or antitheses in space or even time. Like e.g. when two different buildings neighbour and their apposition reveals something or again when the same spot has a different usage in two different time periods.
Thus, through this experience, a “text” began forming and not the other way round. Subjects were necessarily drawn from older studies or meetings, lectures and discussions and all this evolved gradually, sometimes rapidly. Yet all that had been studied in older times had to be revisited, sources rediscovered, routes taken again and that way one more reception of the personal route so far was realized to bibliography and public and friends’ libraries, with familiar and unfamiliar faces, with confirmations and subversions. This research was and still remains vast-it is quite obvious that the Reception doesn’t secure some kind of truth; it merely hopes to cultivate a sense, a question or a relationship with space and time; and to do so, it has to be proposed boldly, fighting for its integrity.
Now, after six years it is presented in public. It is not easy. Can it remain a whisper whilst being talked out loud? Our effort is to preserve the temperature of the sharing of one’s voice. The first circle has an experimental character as well. We decided upon eight guests each time and hope that this will function; the calling will be personal yet at the same time allow any member of the group to isolate him/herself, offering the indispensable loneliness of the traveler. On the first trial circle the ticket will remain as low as possible at the price of 8 euro. I hope that this small group which is slowly formed will remain and exist in the future. Maybe afterwards there will be more or fewer visitors and the ticket will have to be adjusted so that the project will amortize its costs, finance itself and not drain and discourage our small team. Yet this is not the only issue. Another one that came up through subsequent tests all these years is that without a ticket our relationship is not equal, there is no mutual commitment and sometimes the visitor seems to be doing us a favor just by his presence. Then the already strenuous effort becomes a true burden. Above all, we want people perpetuating the project instead of consuming it.
Each time is unique. The small group gathered defines how extensively things will be discussed. The city is noisy, doesn’t make things easier, it resists. If no care is taken from us, the ship that the whole group is in, is tarnished. In our route so far people wish to talk, converse, express themselves. The contrary would be weird. But the project is completed at the end,- cumulatively, it isn’t the amount of information, the individual, but the whole sense we aim at, thus the participants have to protect the concentration and calm state of mind of the others next to them, more than required in a cinema or a theater. There cannot be a conversation with someone without losing the rhythm, the apprehension of the others’ mood, consequently the final destination of the route is lost. All this is an internal monologue outspoken. A peculiar condition demanded by the mind to revisit the same mental routes and reach anew its sources.
And finally something which defines this and every project with the same thematic. We have accepted various characterizations such as Brutality, East, West, Prime, Decline, Middle Ages, or even ancient Greece, Byzantium, Jews, Greeks etc. essential words for a conversation. Often, if not always, these words are evaluations, they don’t just name something, (but) they define insidiously whether it is good or bad, in a general and devious way. The Reception wishes not to give into accusations without a fight but recognize things in their complexity. It longs for understanding, comprehends knowledge of the Other as identifying with the Other. In other words, an ethos is required so as to transform this information into knowledge, allowing a transfer to something unfamiliar and unknown up until that point. This transfer is not accomplished successfully without empathy. Unfortunately we consider empathy and understanding as good sentiments when in fact they are manifestations of knowledge conquered and conditions of knowledge to be acquired.
who we are
Alexandros Mistriotis was driven through literature and painting to different artistic languages such as photography, cinema and the “new mediums”.
In the performance arts field, he is working as a video artist or as a dramaturge. He presents texts of his own or others within the context of a “Theater of Quietude”, a theater often unofficial, where the boundaries between theater, poetry and philosophy are criticized/ questioned. During the past few years he’s been invited on multiple occasions to share his views around Europe on a variety of issues like the relation of art with politics or the relation of technology with culture.
He was born in Canada, raised in Athens and studied visual arts in France.
Katerina Angelou was born in Athens. She studied international and European relations and specialized in London in business strategy and politics concerning the environment. Cultural management is her basic domain/occupation for the past 8 years.
She has participated in the Reception project since September 2016 alongside with other activities in institutional or not- institutional bodies. From the phase of the first trial circle of the ‘Reception” which demanded the communication management of an artistic endeavor, her role/part has evolved to the coordination of the attempt to connect organically cultural policy to the creation of a sustainable model of local cultural production.
Acknowledgements: Helle Solvang, Χριστιάνα Συμεωνίδου, Lisa Maria Bauer, Maryvonne Riedelsheimer, Almut Wedekind, Matthew Booth, Κέλλυ Διαπούλη, Γιώργος Πρίνος, Matt Grubb, Jody Rogac, Ευριπίδης Λασκαρίδης, Φίλιππος Κανακάρης, Ελπίδα Ορφανίδου, Nan van Houte, Αναστασία Παράβα, Mari-Mai Corbel, Guillaime Allardi, Armelle Dousset, Τζένη Αργυρίου, Πηνελόπη Λιάσκου, Μπετίνα Παναγιωτάρα, Μαριέλα Νέστορα, Ιάσων Αθανασιάδης, Preethi Nallu, Διονύσης Σκλήρης, Αλέξανδρος Κωνσταντινόπουλος, Αλέξανδρος Στουραΐτης, Στεργιανή Τσιντζιλώνη, Μαρίνα Δεμερτζιάν, Boris Gibe et Clara, Riccardo Meneghini, Maria Ahlroth, Oskar Pöysti, Radoslav Piovarci, Alar Tasur, Toomas Ojaso, Eve Ganneau, Anna Fascendini, Giulietta Debernardi, Martin Amundsen, Nicke von Weissenberg, Henk Keiser, Matilda von Weissenberg, Μυρτώ Χαραλάμπους, Λαμπρινή Μίχου, Charis Lyberis, Flavia Barca, Jordi Pascual, Luca Bergamo, Marc Villarubias, Αγγελική Λαμπίρη, Lucrezia Ponzano, Julia Perheim, Νίκος Αναστασόπουλος, Marcel, Laurence, Μargot, Solal et Elie Hartmann, George Salameh, Jerome Montagne