03 Oct 2013 | by Apostolis Fotiadis | Themes #ab4agora ì | Civil Society - Original Feature
The 4th Biennale of Athens starts with one question – “And now what?” – aiming to bring audiences and participants, face to face with the fundamental questions of the Greek crisis experience.
For the next two months, it creates a social space named Agora within which it invites several to address these issues and engage in theoretical confrontations on how society reach to this point and even more, where do we go from here.
Zizis Kotionis, architect and artist: “This construction in its head contains a megaphone so the protestors and the demonstrators are inside it and they speak out loud. The meaning of it is parallel with the meaning of Agora, the ancient Greek Agora, which was basically not a commercial space but a space for speaking in public loud. ”.
Gina Rickard, artists, group ‘Design 99′: “ The machine room is meant to be a sort of an information hub for visitors and will broadcast and replay videos, documents and information about the Biennale. It is a large programme around it but it is also a conversation for us about the fact that this building might be falling apart but there is value in what is here. Part of it is revealing, what we see is value and part of it is impacting the space and talks about information and a kind of the market space. It is the old stock market building and for us now is a very interesting time for them to trade in Greece.”
Always organizing places of strong symbolisms, the Athens Biennale takes place every second year, it creates a platform for artists to meet with social and political? representatives, brings real provoking results and it has quickly become a reference point.
In a society like this one in Greece, where space for public debates is constantly shrinking and extremism spreads, the AB4 Group, the team of artists, curators and theoreticians behind the event, aims to reverse the current.
Polidoros Kariofilis, a visual artist and co-founder of Athens Biennale, says this year the event could not be an advertise for artistic events: “Important factors that make Biennale successful will be relevant to what is happening right now and therefore they can’t do something just in vitro. This used to be former stock exchange of Greece. Now we change this stock exchange into an exchange of ideas. We have initiate this open calls and this does not run only for artists but also it runs for people that would like to speak up”.
The father of Sociology, Emile Durkheim, describes society where institutions and values fail as a society in anomie.
There are moments when Modern Greece seems to be a place very close to this condition. The Fourth Biennale‘s propose to highlight the issues and discuss them is surely a good beginning to understand what is wrong and what to do about it.