One O'Clock Gun
Matthew Day Jackson
Assume Vivid Astro Focus
Folkert de Jong
Omer Ali Kazma
Lotte Konow Lund
The Otolith Group
curated by Xenia Kalpaktsoglou, Poka-Yio and Augustine Zenakos
The story emerged from a completely empirical observation. We, each one of us, the subject of every action and every conscience is built through the eyes of others. What is important here is that it is not being constructed by others – it is all an internal affair: the subject builds its own self, but its building material is the perception of others. And this fact is the precondition of any recognition, collectivity, connection, participation, sense of community.
This precondition is a necessity, but at the same time that the subject feels it, lives it and depends on it, it will never accept it. One could put it like this: we never want to be what we are; we claim the right not to be what we are. Under certain conditions, both unexpected and intricate, between those two dimensions of the entirely consubstantial – there is no division of any kind – subject, there is a rupture. What is more, such rupture is not exactly a symptom of a contradiction, but an element of our very constitution. Apparent or latent, the rupture is potentially there, lurking in the possibility of claiming refusal: at every instant, we are entitled to deny the precondition of collectivity and abolish any connection or relationship.
How would we be able, we wondered, to construct a story in which one faces such an observation? It is true that, trying to do so, we went through at least two stages. In the beginning we created a booklet, Suggestions for the destruction of Athens, in an effort to construct a narrative grid and a treasure hive of ideas on the exhibition. Then, following up this narrative grid, we organized a conference, proposing the discussion of the incentives suggested by our early concept. The conference, titled Prayer for (Passive?) Resistance, lead to a second book. In the introduction, while explaining the thought-process of the two stages that would lead to the third one, namely the structure of the exhibition, we wrote: it is not our aim to draft a navigational map or construct a compass for the bewildered viewers of an exhibition; we would like the exhibition to remain off the edge of the map – where there be monsters.
So, in a way, our preparation was not so much to load even more duties onto the back of the exhibition, but to lay down those that were already troubling us. We tried to get rid of any guilt-ridden tendency to offer up some field for the representation of ideas, any implied obligation to pursue a quasi-scientific method, anything that might hinder story-telling, that might force us to keep only one tone of voice, that might diminish our ability to shout or whisper.
As the place where the story unfolds we chose Athens; at first perhaps for the obvious reason that we live here. However, we are in a way fortunate as Athens is in itself an appropriate emblem for what we termed a stereotype, throughout the long period that the story was being shaped, that is the sense of extra-determination which constitutes the extreme expression of the subject’s self-construction we mentioned before. Perhaps a different city could have been employed – and not just Rome or Istanbul, but also Louisville, Nairobi, Peshawar or Volos. Every place, every sense of historicity, every background, every nationalist or cultural construct, any political formation, either individual or collective, is equally vulnerable to the identity that is built through the eyes of others. But if we see Athens as the location where the story evolves, one is obliged to accept the inevitable – and merciful – degree of arbitrariness of any story: if the story took place in London, it would probably be raining, but then what happened after that would still be the important thing. And that’s what is great about a story: nothing is binding, yet everything is specific. One thing or another could happen elsewhere or differently, but it is happening here and it is happening like this.
It would not of course be hard to find in contemporary art – and elsewhere – attempts to dissert on the observation we mentioned above. We wondered, however, repeatedly during the preparation period, if to dissert on it – a practice which is often, rather hastily, called political – wasn’t in reality a way not to accept the possibility of abolishing consent, to pretend that no rupture exists even at the very moment where one unabashedly proclaims it, a way for some optimism to creep in, a feeling that it’s all going to be alright.
A story, though, is not a dissertation. A story may be a story about a rupture in the same way that it can be a story about anything. A story is something which happens to a subject, to a potential “someone”. A story can face the question: what if all is not going to be alright? What if someone decides to try their luck, to raise their voice, to engage in conflict, to abolish consent, to destroy Athens?
Let us, then, come to the monsters.
The story is divided in six chapters. Its dramaturgy follows a method of constant shifts, where a position is built for a time and is then either twisted towards something else or broken down. The narrative is linear but syncopated, so that from chapter to chapter the atmosphere changes radically. Destroy Athens is then structured as a story also in terms of space. It is a course in space, which allows for a specific continuity and therefore a reading.
We have no way of knowing – being by now totally immersed in our story – how strange it might seem from the outside that we decided to tell a story of ruptures and dead-ends. What is certain is that our lives are full of images of violent conflicts, huge disasters and almost constant brutality. At the same time, in the context of public discourse, all this is banished to the sphere of the abnormal, the illogical, or plainly the deviant: even when it is not happening somewhere else or to others, it happens as a deviation from normality, in spite of logic, in the margins of our correct and rational world. We feel that this persistent effort to present any rupture, any violence and any deadlock as something that should not exist, as something that does not belong to the constitution of the world and of the subjects that inhabit it, is perhaps the greatest lie of our time.
If there is something that Destroy Athens is not, then it is not a survey. It does not aim at being a barometer of artistic production at this moment nor teach anybody what is significant today in contemporary art or in the geopolitical circumstances. It does not want to express an opinion about what is important, poignant, interventional or new, it does not wish to argue in favour of a practice or against another, it does not wish to predict where things are heading right now or where they will be tomorrow. It is a story. We do hope that as a story it has meaning between the moment it begins and the moment it ends.
angolo Pireos 100 e Persephonis 2 - Athens
Entrance to the exhibition from Iakchou Street
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 12.00 - 22.00
--- Parallel Events
A number of significant exhibitions and events take place in the city of Athens, during the 1st Athens Biennial 2007. Some are in close collaboration with the Athens Biennial, while others are mentioned as suggestions.
8th September – 24th November 2007
Remap KM is a project running parallel to the 1st Athens Biennial 2007 Destroy Athens, taking place at the Kerameikos/Metaxourgeio (KM) district, in downtown Athens.
Remap KM hosts the 1st Athens Biennial 2007 Destroy Athens – Appendix, including the exhibitions How to Endure and Young Athenians, as well as the two-day Destructive Sound Events, a part of Destroy Athens – Live.
Also hosted at Remap KM are project spaces by numerous galleries, including AD Gallery | Blow de la Barra | The Breeder | Rebecca Camhi Gallery | Eleni Koroneou Gallery| Loraini Alimantiri - gazonrouge| IBID Projects| Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre | Johann König | Andreas Melas Presents | Nice & Fit | Peres Projects | Rodeo Gallery| Spencer Brownstone| Vamiali's | Xippas Gallery
Remap KM also includes an open screening area, shared by the Athens Biennial, independent curators and the participant galleries. In addition, Remap KM hosts independent projects by Doxiadis + and Liliana Sanguino, as well as the parallel projects Karaoke Poetry Bar and Where is the Art?
Creative direction & project coordination: Chloe Vaitsou
WORKS FROM THE DAKIS JOANNOU COLLECTION
5th September 2007 – 29th March 2008
Curator: Jeffrey Deitch
Curatorial Advisor: Massimiliano Gioni
Exhibition design: Jeffrey Deitch, Massimiliano Gioni, and Dakis Joannou
Project coordinator: Nadja Argyropoulou
Artists: Pawel Althamer, David Altmejd, Janine Antoni, assume vivid astro focus, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ashley Bickerton, John Bock, Maurizio Cattelan, Paul Chan, Dan Colen, George Condo, Nigel Cooke, Roberto Cuoghi, Folkert De Jong, Nathalie Djurberg, Αnastasia Douka, Haris Epaminonda, Urs Fischer, Barnaby Furnas, Robert Gober, Matt Greene, Tim Hawkinson, Αdam Helms, Elliott Hundley, Chris Johanson, Martin Kippenberger, Terence Koh, Jeff Koons, Nate Lowman, Mark Manders, Paul McCarthy, Takeshi Murata, Wangechi Mutu, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Cady Noland, Chris Ofili, Poka-Yio, Richard Prince, Georgia Sagri, Aurel Schmidt, Gregor Schneider, Tino Sehgal, Dana Schutz, Kiki Smith, Christiana Soulou, Francine Spiegel, Andro Wekua, Ralf Ziervogel
DESTE Foundation Center for Contemporary Art
11, Filellinon & Em. Pappa Streets, Nea Ionia
4th June – 29th September 2007
Curator: Marina Fokidis
Artists: Adel Abdessemed, Doug Aitken, Darren Almond, Paul Chan, Bruce Nauman, Seth Price, Marina Yioti, Stephanos Tsivopoulos, Victor Alimpiev, Cory Arcangel, Paolo Canevari, Douglas Gordon, Rodney Graham, Gary Hill, Isaac Julien, Peter Land, Annika Larsson, Aernout Mik, Toni Oursler, Oliver Pietsch, Anri Sala, Zineb Sedira, The Atlas Group (Walid Raad), Charis Epaminonda, Lina Theodorou, Deanna Magganias, Miltos Manetas, Angelo Plessas, Yorgos Sapountzis
Museum of Cycladic Art
Stathatos Megaron, 1, Irodotou Street & Vassilissis Sofias Avenue
3 PORT AMPS
3 Temporary Soundscapes by Zafos Xagoraris
Artistic direction: Claudia Zanfi
8th September 2007: Installation at the Antrepo Area, during the opening of the 10th Instanbul Biennial
10th September 2007: Installation at Piraeus Harbour, during the public opening of the 1st Athens Biennial
14th September 2007: Installation at Bristol Docks, during the opening of Port – City
GOING PUBLIC Special Edition for PORT-CITY, a project by MAST [Museo di Arte Sociale e Territoriale] in collaboration with Arnolfini Art Center, Bristol
7th September – 2nd October 2007
Project coordination: Locus Athens
Artists: Nikos Alexiou, Carolina Caycedo, Mario Garcia Torres, Ian Kiaer,
Aleksandra Mir, Olaf Nicolai, Christodoulos Panayiotou
10, Akti Miaouli, Piraeus
8th September 2007 – 6th October 2007
Curator: Thierry Geoffroy / Colonel
Artists: Aagard Hilde, Alavanou Loukia, Apostolakis Christos, Baboulis Dimitris, Bardi Antonia, Bassanos Kostas, Beveratos Costas, Christidi Katerina, Christofilogiannis Dionysis, Dimitropoulou Martha, Franzen Frank, Foutris Dimitris, Giannakis Theodoros, Hjerl Sophie, Ikonomopoulou Maria, Ioannou Dimitris, Katsouri Kali, Kolbaek Marie, Kotsoni Eleni, Lau Lasse, Lind Peter, Mantzios Nikos, Michalakakou Marw, Mitala Eva, Moris Petros, Nalbantidou Lia, Nikolakopoulos Pavlos, Nikolaou Kosmas, Ntokatsis Dimitris, Palaska Aliki, Papamichali Teresa, Patsourakis Eftixis, Pittas Antonis, Plessas Angelo, Taxiarchopoulos Yiorgos, Theodorides Phillipos, Theodoropoulos Yiannis, Tsoumblekas Dimitris, Vamiali Dimitra, Veneri Eriphyli, Zacharias Michalis, Zervou Maria
EMERGENCY ROOM is an open art format in constant movement and daily change at
Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center
48, Armatolon & Klefton Street, Ambelokipoi
KARAOKE POETRY BAR
12th November - 18th November 2007
Project coordinator: Intothepill.net
Visual artists: Alexis Avranas, Vaggelis Artemis, Dimitris Christidis, Alexandros Georgiou, Nikos Giavropoulos, Yiannis Grigoriadis, Giorgos Gyparakis, George Drivas, Makis Faros, Eleni Froudaraki, Yiannis Isidorou+Yiannis Stankoglou, Kostas Ioannidis, Katerina Kana, Georgia Kotretsos, Yiannis Koufopoulos, Tasos Laggis, Viki Mpetsou, Ioanna Myrka, Leia Petrou, Yiannis Savvidis, Yorgos Sapountzis, Thanos Stathopoulos, Athina Stamati, Vasileia Stylianidou+ Chrysa Tsabazi, Yiannis Theodoropoulos, Lina Theodorou, Panagiota Tzamourani, Takis Zerdevas
Poets: Vasilis Amanatidis, Dimitris Allos, Yiannis Antiochou, Giorgos Chantzis, Dimitris Eleutherakis, Foivi Giannisi, Katerina Iliopoulou, Vaggelis Intzidis, Doukas Kapantais, Dimitra Kotoula, Patricia Kolaiti, Dimitris Leontzakos, Giorgos Lillis, Iana Mpoukova, Stamatis Polenakis, Efi Pirpasou, Vasilis Rouvalis, Yiannis Stingas, Maria Topali
“417” Club, 53 Kerameikou Street, Metaxourgeio
Project hosted by RemapKM
WHERE IS THE ART? – OPEN SPACES 2007
Open Studios in downtown Athens
12th – 23rd September 2007
Concept: Sarah Ettlinger, Toby Short
Project co-organisers: Katerina Athanasiou, Sarah Ettlinger, Toby Short
Artists: Agopian Eozen, Athanasiou Katerina, Anastasopoulou Vanessa, Visviropoulou Konstantina, Gazis Dimitri, Demis Konstantinos, Vasos Alexander, Dimitriou Giorgos, Ettlinger Sarah, Zerdevas Apostolos, Theodore Chrysikos, Commonplay, ΚΚ Comic, Kaludi Irini, Karamouzis Michalis, Karidi Georgia, Cassaveti Angel, Cassaveti Katerina, Kollaros Alexandra, Kotsovoulos, Koutroulis Yiannis, Lakides Antonis, Leventi Loula, Liambeys Leonidas, Lillian Lykiardopoulou, Loukakou Penny, Marengo Valentino, Marouda Dimitra, Mavridis Giorgos, Mιndora, Michalopoulos Aris, Bicknell John, Bouzas Vassilis, Othonaiou Alexia, Panagopoulou Domna, Papadaki Stavroula, Papamichali Tereza, Pita Kiki, Sitorengo Andreas, Skarvelis Yota, Short Toby, Sortiropoulou Tzina, Tselo Anesti, Tzimou Olga, Tiligadis Kostantinos, Trismpiotis Giannis, Filippidis Alexandros
Launch Event on 11th September, 20.30
“417” Club, 53, Kerameikou Street
Event hosted by RemapKM
4th – 27th September 2007
Artists: Evangelia Basdeki, Kostas Bassanos, Katerina Christidi, Dimitris Christidis, Martha Dimitropoulou, Aikaterini Gegisian, Maro Michalakakos, Nina Papaconstantinou, Nikos Papadimitriou, Yiannis Theodoropoulos
Cosmos of Culture
20, Andreou Metaxa Street, Exarheia
Places in ZONE D
6th September – 6th October 2007
Curator: Daphne Zoumboulakis
Artists: Sophia Petrides, Danae Stratou, Evanthia Tsantila
Thission Lofts, 123 Peiraios Street
6th – 29th September 2007
Artists: Panos Kokkinias, Nikos Markou, Yiorgis Yerolymbos
20, Aristophanous Street, Psirri
Opening: 9th September 2007
A Project by Yiannis Hadjiaslanis, photographer & Farida El Gazzar, painter/illustrator
44 Konstantinoupoleos Street