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text by Vassilios Oikonomopoulos / Nov 2011 / 

The Biennalist in Athens – Emergencies in the midst of unfulfilled promises.

The Biennalist came to Athens for two reasons. On the one hand he wanted to investigate the current condition of the city and the evolution of social politics in the wake of the financial crisis. On the other hand, and as part of his continuous project, he came to Athens on the occasion of the 3rd Athens Biennale ‘Monodrome’.

This piece is conceived at the intersection of the two. The Biennalist aimed at researching beneath the surface of facts, and uncover a realistic image of the current situation in Athens. In this quest he encountered and witnessed many aspects of Greek culture, beliefs and ideals, rational and irrational phenomena, many opinions and layers of visible activities, fantasies and imaginations, realities and hopes. It was an experiment of sorts, where a city became the laboratory for questioning experiences, interrogating the collective imaginary, provoking thought and testing out ideas. This is an interpretation of various episodes and degrees of interaction – at times coherent and at other maybe inconsistent, it intends to explore an unformulated territory, the territory of contemporary Athens in its process of change.

Crisis is the new upgrade for Greek society. The biggest news so far for the country, possibly the biggest news worldwide since 9.11, a typology of data that threatens to destroy the foundations of Western society. Everywhere in crisis-land, there are activists and political orators, demonstrations, wooden boards, placards, slogans, violence, police, people being arrested by the police, tear gas, fire, petrol bombs and immense destruction. Us Greeks love to abhor the crisis and the ways it functions as a financial, social, geopolitical and media spectacle. We end up condemning ourselves to a long, voyeuristic and passive immersion in its repeated imagery of insanity. A residue when the drying up flow of cross-border capital disappears and a sign of its multiple points of return, the idea and only of crisis brings shivers down the spine of the middle classes. It makes them think of the unthinkable. A changing future which brings the lack of financial advantages, the end of security, the end of money and capital movement and a future of fading, evaporating materialism expressed in  irrational inner-city warfare with signs of the urban struggle appearing even in the outer suburbia. This type of transformation is despised by many as the evolution of chaos and absurdity, an escalation of suffering and the purgatory for productivity and continuous development. It is the fear of the signs of a dark age that appear to announce the destruction of existing society, the end of the world as we possibly know it.

MONODROME aims to provoke debate around something that has broken down, but also offer the possibility at a glimpse of something new to come.

MONODROME evolves around an unlikely encounter: The Little Prince meets Walter Benjamin. This intentionally peculiar coupling of the two figures acts as the ground onto which the ongoing worldwide socio-political and financial upheaval will be examined, through a narrative that will address humanity in a universal and poetic manner.
3rd Athens Biennale 2011

Within this environment of pronounced transformations in the social and political landscape, the 3rd Athens Biennale is taking place in one of the most under-developed areas of the city, in the premises of what used to be a school for arts and crafts. In a climate characterised by many as a constant mayhem, fuelled by demonstrations and strikes, an uncertain political condition of a country in recession and a growing number of people living on the verge of poverty facing an unstable future, the directors and curators of the art Biennale are promising the production of a new model for exhibitions. Seizing the opportunity to bring the crisis factor into the art discourse, the Biennale’s directors and curators propagate a unique combination of aesthetics and politics, the creation of new forms of artistic subjectivities and the constitution of radically new mechanisms for thinking and practising that will unite the - creative - ambiance of the times, with the revolutionary causes of change and transformation. This is a task rather optimistic and ambitious, that if successful, it bears the possibility of erecting new forms of culture, an alternative and experimental condition, a contemporary avant-garde in the form of a major art show and a new type of situation that will lead to unknown and exciting results.

Will it really be like this? The Biennalist is here to find out…

The Biennalist arrives to Athens in the midst of events, and before the opening of the Biennale in order to experience first-hand the production of this new form of practice and explore the current socio-political conditions. Excessively and obsessively studying all forms of communication produced by the organiser’s and involved in a relationship of wonder and mystery with the Athens Biennale, he has devoted himself in critically interrogating the complexity of  the Biennale’s program, its functions and if the emergence of a remarkable new experience will dominate the expressive output and manifest itself as the reality of a new collective enunciation, as it has been proclaimed. Tense and intense, in a state of oscillating rhythms of loving and hating the Biennale, and open to learn from it, to be affected, touched and struck by things, the Biennalist’s Athens project begins, with a clear aporia. Will we be jolted out of our aesthetic skins? Will that be the beginning of the new for art shows? These are the questions, and these we are set to discover.   

The way up is the way down

Against a background of major developments, with one of the biggest strikes in recent months taking place two days before the opening of the Biennale, the Biennalist is determined to gather all information and analyse the growth and development of revolutionary sentiments and also the composition, limits, strengths and weaknesses that affect those groups and movements that rapidly produce new organisational forms within the urban terrain.

Attracting and extracting is the first act of his focus. Staging the beginning of a multiple, diverse and interconnected conceptual process of movements/actions that will enable the deeper understanding of the current social and cultural contexts and that will illuminate the cases he is here to question, the Biennalist sets out to collect personal information from people’s recording cameras. Without any hypotheses or anticipations, this is pure exploration. What actually constitutes the contemporary revolutionary cause as it is being expressed by the Greek condition and what are the spaces where distinct new functions are becoming able to produce an evolutionary form of dissent, are central matters to this quest and determine a kind of loose focal points for this investigation.

Parliament Square, central Athens. Walking through labyrinthine routes, through bodies that either move or stand still. Most of the people are protesters, there are some curious passers-by, and many photographers, reporters and media presenters that attempt to report from the centre of events. Circulation is difficult and improvisation is important, as sometimes routes are being blocked by police, or extreme overcrowding does not allow access. The situation is electric, with protesters producing passionate moments of effect, in a sort of unified human landscape, an irregular, overwhelming totality on a baroque urban stage. The aim is to glide swiftly through this installed show in search of active collaborators. The search is focusing on people that will be happy to share their memory cards from their digital cameras, in order to extract their views and memories, the data they have stored and still they did not have the time to select, their raw material from the demo but also from their personal lives, their mementos and impressions of reality in a most direct and straightforward process of accessing and collectivising the small moments of their lives. These moments will then be thrown together with the rest of the ‘Extractor’ material in the disorderly, complicated and ultimately unified database of sorts to be found anywhere in the world.

There is plenty of interest. As if people really want to open up, to share their material, to offer their views, to show what they have seen. There is a viable possibility for intervention and extraction, with a phenomenal, even at times restrained, openness with which people are participating in the extractor’s project. The Biennalist continues through the crowd, pursuing to decompress more of the constructed views of this loose social network of people, collecting and creating a kind of an aesthetic synthesis, adding to a means of common knowledge, fusing with little preserved moments of several past tenses the global undercurrent of pictorial representation.

In the meantime, the demonstration is turning into a violent riot. It erupts outside the Greek Parliament. All cameras focus. The whole world focuses. International media, since early morning, have taken position in the hotel balconies overlooking the Parliament Square. Video snipers, are stationed in nearby rooftops and terraces waiting for these moments to begin. They will not be disappointed. Cameras will successfully record the intensification and escalation of violence as police, political groups and individuals are clashing on the street.

It is important to notice here that the participating groups and individuals are not connected with the demonstrators, whose majority has now become a passive viewer. The ones that partake in violence are groups possibly related to anarchist/nihilist ideology. However, it is common knowledge, although somewhat covered up, that these groups are not entirely ideologically positioned in the anarchist domain, but they are obscure entities that are using anarchy as a preface for carrying-out a destructive course. Their existence and operational tactics are covered by a suspicious connection with the police forces and the main political parties. No one knows how this type of nihilistic destruction continues unstoppable for such a long time in Greece, and there has been many instances where their collaboration with the police has been recorded in video. However, these groups still function undisturbed. Their presence and action, realises and satisfies a number of goals. From the creation of intrinsic fear to the rest of the Greek population who is watching the news from their home, to the exposure and over-analysis of the danger of Greek rebels on the flickering screens of the global networks of instantly gratifying infotainment, images from a burning Athens and the tear-gas cloud over the Acropolis, remind to everyone what the catalytic consequences for the Western civilised world might be if the if they detour from the pre-described routes of capital obedience.   

Therefore, functioning more as a symbolic process of demystification of violence in contemporary urban environments and as a progress whose possibility can entail a destructive function if its territoriality expands in other systems, violence and riot is turned into a complex technology for the production of fear and control. A worldwide effect made possible via the forceful events of violence, and the possible disaster that is threatening to consume the global future.

Tear gas, masks, helmet, cameras. The Biennalist is inside the event, coexisting in order to absorb and decode functions, objects, people, symbolisms, in the stage of the here and now, in the theatre where politics and aesthetics is played out.

He is intentionally allowed to be dragged into a peculiar artistic and urban project of deciphering the ritual of violence and destruction. As he is following people, he is creating a route of detournement, unidentifiable and limitless, outlined by makeshift borders, flaming objects and rising smoke. Somehow contained within a pattern, movement becomes an exploration and a measuring of possibilities. Every step is a laboratory of the contemporary, more current and more real than any artistic representation, a great leap that can not be substituted for any hopeless product.

The desire is to continue but also to keep a safe distance from burning bins, cars, shops and tear gas grenades. It is a full blown assault, rude, rough and inescapable. Stuff flies in the air almost magically, petrol bombs touch the ground and leave a trace of fire, tear gas produces a spectacle of smoke, in a continuous antigravitational flow.  The perpetual mode of attack creates a transitory space of urban rubble. An urban installation, an experience of momentary exhilaration and panic, an almost primitive sense of fear. Wooden sticks, shattered glass, disfigured metal structures, a sea of broken marble and stone with melted bins, chairs and other furniture, and also people busied in running, some of them involved in destroying and others in documenting, make for a challenging experience. At times navigation is only by instinct, trying to avoid getting caught in the middle. There is competition to be always around. Documenting this processual experience in a chaotic manifestation of a city out of control, questions arise fast.  How much of this happens with the desire to change? How strong is the desire to creatively produce alternatives to the forces of systematic suppression? What are the alternatives and how can this energy be used productively to produce new forms of subjectivities?

The existing experience resembles more of a dramatic New Babylon, a city trapped in a nihilistic becoming. An urban installation, where signs, symbols, logos and materials are piling up on top of each other, defaced and decontextualised, in a kind of junk-chic aesthetic and the apotheosis of an ephemeral new whole, the revolutionized carcass of what used to be a city. As the fire rises and the smoke clogs up the tiny streets of the historical centre, it creates a phenomenon of raw action, discharged energy on an infantile political ground. The city turns into the politics of spectacle. A charged atmosphere and a sacred totem overpowering and realising the mythology of an immoral festivity. This is political battleground, but is it a revolutionary possibility?

More often than not, it seems to be pure reduction, the abandonment of any ambition and the subdivision of people’s needs and desires to a simple survival. Contemporary political action in Athens is just a distorted notion of collective behaviour and a face to face fight destined for media consumption. It is thus dominated by abstract gestures, empty movements and the disorienting ruination of a city in a downward transition.

The lack of political program and the evident disappearance of a productive revolutionary cause describes the course of destruction. Is this the rise of a new form of totalitarianism? Is this a totalitarianism controlled and manipulated by mainstream politics, by corrupt governments and corrupt politicians? Is this experience but a living monument to their perverse agenda? When the notions of people and citizenship have evaporated, when democratic processes are being silenced by vandalism and when the obsession with destruction becomes a real threat, then we are within a system that no longer serves anything productive but launches a blow to any potential change, to optimism and the production of new systems of radical thought. As the revolution turns into the ugly monster of destruction, it becomes a leap towards pure spectacle, an attraction more popular than anything else. Change seems to be one more piece of territory lost in the battle that devours the streets of Athens.  

However, the Biennale is the main concern here. Is it possible for an art show to react upon developments moving so fast, upon ideas and practices of such an intensity and speed? Is the notion of the contemporary in art a mere symbolism, a dysfunctional representation and an iconic structure that distorts and succumbs any effort for addressing the emerging potentialities that are at stake?

At the site of the Biennale, a literal 10-minute walk from the spectacle of destruction, time moves in a different pace. It is less than two days before the opening night and the Biennalist is intrigued to find out about the area in the immediate proximity of the Biennale. People mention that this is a dangerous territory, especially at night. As soon as the sun sets, the area around the former school becomes frequented with African prostitutes, junkies and drug dealers. An underground population emerges in the streets of the forgotten quarter. Pedestrians rather than vehicles occupy the roads. There is the occasional trading from small shops that sell Chinese and Asian products, and where other commercial exchange takes place over transitory stalls and makeshift shop windows. There is a huge contrast with the area we were just before, where the battle still continues. A huge monitor in one of the shops shows the burning storefronts just a few minutes away. A paradoxical image in this trajectory of questioning… However, there are no chic boutiques here or monolithic department stores to burn, neither it is a beautiful village. Its background would not satisfy the news consumers. This is a rough territory, part wasteland, part slum, a compound constructed by immigration, rejects, overcrowding and inadequate sanitation.

Miraculously though, on the run-up to the Biennale, images of degeneration have disappeared. Prostitutes and junkies have been removed, possible by a police operation, the so-called ‘Broom Operations’. Policemen are ‘sweeping’ the streets of the area clean of the unwanted, the marginalised, the ‘dangerous’ elements that frequent it. Continuing his detective work, the Biennalist is looking for evidence of this operation, asking what has happened to the junkies and the prostitutes. It is true that the area seems strangely empty, a naked city, at the process of a cosmetic operation. People are reluctant to talk about it, however, it is apparent that junkies and prostitutes have been pushed to a different area, a few streets below in an effort to present a clean city to the visitors of the Biennale.

This is another forceful construction, to satisfy the insatiable thirst of the art crowd, fuelled by the persistent drive to rationalize, homogenize and regulate with the controllable power of police, what used to be a diverse, fluid space. As the official institutionalised qualities of art are progressing to taking up this space, the evacuation of a local population is deemed necessary. Another spectacle is progressing here, the new social and aesthetic structure that competes for the site, with the promises for offering the possibility for a new society, a new form of experience and a new power construction where the old will be eliminated.

Second day for the Biennalist in Athens. More action this time. Heavily armed with recording cameras, masks, helmets, a tent and spray paint, the Biennalist will not remain passive but in a more provocative way, he will further question the events and conditions that unfold. There is another demo, the second in two days, and the background is the same. Until the moment of destruction arrives, all participants are inspecting the territory, passively waiting to enjoy some action. In a moment of waiting and anticipation, right outside the Parliament, the Biennalist is setting up his tent. A green, two-people tent pops up in between the crowd, that opens up in surprise. An action of unpredictability, that breaks down the regularity of a natural course of events, the Biennalist’s tent becomes a moment of attention. The introduction of this element – the tent – within the protesting/standing crowd creates a kind of synthetic intimacy. Many support and recognising the strict temporal boundaries – things might start getting nasty at any possible point -  the assist with the task. People take up the opportunity to help, and soon after the tent is mounted. Looking like an ephemeral monument and a gesture signifying  the construction of a new space within the larger whole of the demonstration, it certainly exploits its vulnerability and immediacy. A sign of collective praxis, the tent opens up to a moment of participation. Ann attractor and a metaphor, it bears the vision of fragile resistance that overwhelms for an instance the presence of armed police on the streets. Its effect is almost utopic, a momentary monument that radicalizes behaviours and an eventful surface articulating the time and space of its realization. A modular reality and a manifesto that changes the way for experimentation, through a playful, anarchic game.

‘That which changes our way of seeing the street is more important than that which changes our way of seeing a painting’
Guy Debord

Setting up the tent activates the street and mobilises the people. The street becomes a privileged site that unites the everyday with the festive, and in extension with change. The Biennalist graffities the outer walls of the tent with a question, sprayed with red paint.
‘Is the revolution selfish?’
This question bears a most crucial and poignant message. For a minute, everyone stops to consider it. A question that remains largely unanswered, whose meaning seems to resonate inside most of the crowd. For the Biennalist this is a  highly pressing need, as he witnesses the rise of the personal and a manifestation of a selfish model of behaviour within the realms of an aspiring revolutionary course.

This action aims at presenting the dilemma in the psychological frame of mind of protesters. By asking them if the revolution that they form part of is selfish, is blatantly asking them what they are fighting for. It also provoking them to consider the wider process of events which goes beyond their own existence and occupies a different plane, a plane of total rethinking of society. In reality some people find it funny that this question is being asked. For many this is a fight for their rights, and the personal and the collective mingle to overcome the common enemy. We film while the Biennalist is asking these questions to the people. Others get seriously upset and almost violent with the possibility of questioning their struggle. They support whole-heartedly the revolution and they attack the Biennalist, who, as a Northern European represents the comfortably-living individual who is unable to understand any of this. However, what is apparent is that the revolution involves mainly the safeguarding of the establishment for middle-class individuals that experience a dramatic change in the privileges they used to hold until now. The reasons to revolt, it becomes clear, are focused on holding on to things rather than changing things. The  spectre and oeuvre of the revolution seems fatalistically narrow, produced and contained within a bourgeois objective and a pitiful materialistic ideological enslavement. A device that annihilates collective energy and ambition and transforms a whole society into  a spectacular anticlimactic fantasy.  

In the streets around the Biennale, a number of immigrants are interested in talking to the Biennalist. They want to express their fear and uncertainty, the insecurity they are faced with on an everyday basis. Most of them are literally trapped in Greece. Crossing the borders months ago, their final destination would have been a northern European country, where they would have more opportunities to work. However, without any money and without any work they are stuck in Greece, most of them without legal papers, without existing, phantom images in an absurd background that certainly offers very limited possibilities. They are based on the edge of existence, mostly by scavenging and selling metal pieces they find in rubbish. Although some are educated and used to have a job back in their home, they are now penniless and hungry, searching for food in the bins. When asked about their experience with the police, they mention how scared they are of them, how violent they have been against them in the past, and how unfairly and inhumanely they have been treated. They are aware of the operations for cleaning up the area, and they believe something similar has also happened now. At the same time, they have absolutely no idea about the Biennale that is beginning in the area tomorrow. This is not part of their life. For the Biennale, they are unwanted. This is not good material for neither for press nor for potential visitors. In the global circuit of art mobility, the army of curators and international artists does not interact with the wilderness of real life. Instead it superimposes its own hue on the image, reconstructing it by eliminating any anomalies. This magical landscape, this other city of aesthetic beauty, fiery political scintillations, new conceptual instruments and illusionary fulfilments, bypasses the contemporary misery, opting for a cardboard reality.

The Biennalist, presenting himself as both a cultural colonialist and a naïve interrogator, is increasingly agitated by the great formula of manipulating reality and mythologizing ambitions, that are constantly being practised by Biennales internationally and their curators. Continuing in the same mode of questioning and researching, his multiple formats will appear both in social events and the Biennale. The Biennalist continues his living critique of the 3rd Athens Biennale, fuelled by the tensions on the social, political and urban terrain.

In an effort to understand the complexities of the area, the emerging complexities in the wider picture that represents what Athens is at present, and the aims and ambitions of the Biennale, the Biennalist transforms himself into multiple personas.

In an ironic and critical attempt, he is visiting the area of the Biennale as a German colonialist and he explores the city of Athens as a UN Peacekeeper. An explicit remark and a reflection on cultural colonialism, and the forces that shape the global contemporary terrain of artistic production, his fictive characters become hybrids and testing grounds for their ability to attract attention, intensify and suspend oppositions and conventionalities. His symbols of global recognition, peace and understanding between people, become subverted as instead of complementing and reinforcing a set of standard ideals, they interrogate and question the existence and the validity of what they aim at representing – a global purpose.

In the virtual realm, his many Facebook personalities are firing the Biennale page and the Biennale’s site with the specific questions. Why is the use of the Little Prince? Are they more in the past or in the present? How can they claim the here and now? Where is now?

In multiple but interconnected gestures, the Biennalist aims at questioning the whole structure that maintains and reinforces an empty discourse around social political and cultural subjects. It invites with a seemingly naivety but exceptional accuracy in program, the descent below the surface of things, under the skin of the phenomena, where the blurring of boundaries creates and generates strong understandings about current and future conditions.

Art produces a type of effects which are helpful. Art is a person-to-person situation… The strength of art is to be able to modify your perception of reality…
Nicolas Bourriaud

Athens Biennale Press Conference. At the former School of Arts and Crafts, where the exhibition is taking place. The Biennalist attends the press conference. The curators XY (Xenia Kalpaktsoglou, Poka-Yio) and the guest curator Nicolas Bourriaud are taking positions in the room, surrounded by city officials, and a committee of affiliated sponsors and directors. After the short introductory talks, the curators, in a somewhat honest effort, they express the difficulties they faced when organising the show, due to limited budget. Furthermore, the express their deep interest to the events that were unfolding in the city and in the whole of Greece and that have changed the way of life dramatically. They consider ‘Monodrome’ as the only way they could take. Do the exhibition and explore its political aspects. The only way they could think of producing a show, was to incorporate the events that result from the crisis. Their efforts would focus to ‘transform the biennale into a sit-in and a gathering of collectives, political organisations and citizens involved in the transformation of society, an invitation to create a political moment rather than stage a political spectacle’.

However, it seems already from the press conference that the results are not as wished. Poka-Yio makes an apologetic plea, for the purposes of the Biennale have not been fulfilled. Nicolas Bourriaud focuses his talk on the film, which will follow the end of the Biennale and will present a collection of moments from Athens and the Biennale to a global audience.

A series of questions resonate after the press conference. Poka-Yio is taking up the task of guiding press through the rooms of the exhibition. He is in position to answer more questions as they arise.

It is a big surprise that no collectives or sit-ins are to be seen. Political groups and activists are nowhere to be found either. The experience is a collection of two-dimensional and three-dimensional works, from international or Greek artists and a collection of historical material that represents the ‘good, old days’ when Greece was great. Although some material is interesting, the disappointment is clear. There are no intentions for exploring the current political and social situation. The show, although sympathetic, cannot be considered a breakthrough. It has certainly failed in grasping the situation, and it has failed in showing and expressing the current and contemporary moment which Athens experiences. This is another art show. Its agenda for new forms of collectivities and new conceptual frameworks from those that are involved in transforming the society, are non-existent. An early attempt from the Biennalist to penetrate an artist’s space, was blocked by the artist himself. Therefore, how can we continue talking about new possibilities and new ideas when we are still striving to maintain our old ideologies and dated conceptions? Is the program of the Biennale doomed in the similar way that the revolution in the streets is stuck between destructive nihilism and fetishization of totalizing forces? Maybe this is true…. Maybe both revolution and Biennale follow the same route of extra-big claims without achieving anything. Is this the ultimate fate of Greece’s dramatic nostalgia? And is there a way out of that?

It seems not. It seems that the Biennale has failed to address the issues that were at stake. It has failed to change the perception of reality, but instead it reinforces an already past set of realities, a kind of historical example, without offering tools and technologies for the future, for potential actions rather than pessimistic inactions. In the exhibition there are no efforts to present new modes of existing, new perceptions and emerging realities. They have failed to engage productively the figures of the Little Prince and Walter Benjamin. Certainly, a deeper research into Benjamin’s work and a better use of the Little Prince’s childish naivety, could have produced something more interesting. It is clear that their use has only been employed to fulfil publicity purposes.

And what about the local communities? The people that live and work in the area, Mostly from different backgrounds and not related to art, they are however people that live and breathe a few streets from the Biennale. Is the exhibition addressed to them? Poka-Yio objected, that they Biennale does not have any intention of being politically correct. However, does it have an intention of being socially exclusive? How much of that is in their program? Where is the change they hope for comes for?

Thinking of the immigrant communities that live in the proximity of the Biennale, the Biennalist addresses the issues of social inclusion and political program by inviting a local resident from Pakistan to visit the exhibition with him. In a remarkably honest response, the Biennalist’s new friend is amazed by the art and the show, and exhilaratingly telephones his friend to announce them the event. Is that a mini-revolution? And why did the organiser’s never included the local communities? Certainly they are not the typical glossy art magazines, neither do they follow or like sublime but empty manifestations online. However, they are the phantom worlds of this city, and although art can be interested in their representation, they are not really fascinated by their reality, their presence and their situation. In this stage, the dreamland of art, politics and life, they are the counterpart of history, since they offer not an empty speech but a living critique fuelled by direct experience, and the tensions of social and political terrains the dominant society has never imagined. This is another type of monument, a monument to the constant annihilation of pseudo-dialectics.

So many questions still resonate, amplified even further. Is the contemporary art circuit as it is presented here a process of regeneration and sanitization? A process of eliminating and radically transforming the demographics of a certain area, infesting it with investment possibilities? Is this the political scope of the Biennale? Are the artists a new methods of the gentrifying forces for uprooting population and radically transforming lived areas? During the exhibition excessive control over an area that runs its own course, is being manifested. The dilapidated reality is artificially being made-up, cosmetically injected with means of territorial control in order to resemble a safer, private cultural landscape. As soon as its contents are removed and refused, organisers, municipality, and real estate interests follow a strategy of explicit ambition, of transforming the area at all costs, even if that means the devaluation of human life and dignity. Therefore, to a certain extent contemporary art is intriguingly connected with a dominant philosophy and a perverse project, which demands the further marginalisation of the most vulnerable subjects. As a strict zoning is being implemented for the mass of art lovers to inhabit, a sad methodological vacuum is being created, a space of harsh exclusion, planned, orchestrated and activated in the name of the artists.

The final outcome of the Biennalist project in Athens, is the rapidity of the event and the simultaneity with which events, almost in real time, are uploaded on the world wide web circuit. Immediacy against delay. Hyperspeed against the histrionic stagnation of historicity, to speed up things, to amplify capacities and replace repetition with direct involvement and action. Against any notion of the contemporary, since it is too delayed to capture the movement of process, and managing to overcome the restraints of its hypnotizing domination, fragments of motion become the hyperlocation and hyperdestination, where everything happens at once, where everything is experienced, uploaded, disseminated and informed, communicated simultaneously, with the urgency of the immediate. The material that has been collected, including interviews, images, people’s opinions and behaviours, fears, hopes and responses are the ultimate expression of the emergency situation, an emergency encountered throughout the last few days he has been to Athens. The Biennalist’s material, always in the process and always conveying the most pressing messages, present in a straightforward aspect the ranking emergencies of a city on the brink of collapse but also of a place in the edge of dissolution and disillusionment. Raw, real and immediate, his shorter or longer recordings of sounds, voices and images, investigate and present these few days of action in Greece. It is a means for accessing the stages of activity in the city, and a way for generating the significance of temporary, emerging and escalating events. The urban, the social, the cultural and the political unfold as the Biennalist follows the developments in all planes of activity, as he is asking the questions and as he is trying not to get killed. Experimenting with the possibilities for intervention and set to scrutinise the boundaries between events, art, politics and society, his critical explorations will surface from the saturation of the mediums and the amount of information collected about this place and its emerging condition.