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Mystery 183 Apothéri Project

Contributors:

Concept – Art Direction: Dimitris Michalaros
Organization – Production Execution: katArt-e_Art & Technology Lab
Secretarial support/ Coordination assistant: Aris Rouggeris
Recording of audio-visual material/ Video editing: Lazaros Graikos (PSari visual – Video & Photography)

TheMystery 183 Apothéri Project is a production of the 2023 Eleusis.

It is implemented with the financing of the Region of Attica, the support of the Municipality of Megara, traditional associations and private local sponsors.

Information:

Date: September 15
Venue: Megara Railway Station
Time: 19.30

The entrance is free

Starting from the production of the primary sector (agriculture, poultry, fishing, etc.), of the city but also of the wider region, contemporary artists and other creators are inspired visually, culinary and musically by creating a work of contemporary art and gastronomy, in the form of a traditional – but at the same time very different from the usual – festival.
The project examines how the dipoles of traditional/modern, rural/urban and coexistence/interaction in the specific place can bring together contemporary art with the imprint of the past. Visual artists were invited to discover and clarify these ambiguous concepts in collaboration with distinguished cooks/chefs.

During the artists-in-residence / workshops organized during the summer of 2023, edible raw materials as a medium for the creation of works of art were chosen by exploring the identity and tradition of the primary sector of Megara. The local residents and producers told the stories, the traditional recipes and presented the customs and the excellent quality of their products. The artists together with the chefs researched, inspired and worked with this cultural stock, creatively utilized the raw materials of the region and thus produced edible works of art (performances and installations), which the visitors will “partake” in a celebration where the food , as the biological fuel of the human body, will convey sensory extensions, excite and recall memories.
At the same time, individuals and local folklore associations of Megara and Nea Peramos, who love and study local cuisine, have been invited to cook. The evening will culminate with an all-night feast accompanied by traditional music from a live orchestra.

The aim of the action is for the APOTHERI PROJECT not to be the end of an era but to be a pioneering field of innovative discussions, as well as a landmark for the place. The creative management of the cultural heritage will foster further connections, will symbolically and practically reorganize the relations between the inhabitants of the community and will contribute decisively to the development of the wider area of Megara. The inclusion of contemporary art in this particular landscape of a peripheral city will recommend a cultural path for the development of ideas, giving possibilities to get closer to the familiar with what seems distant to us.

A few words about the artists-in-residence workshop
The original action Mysterio 183 APHOTHERI PROJECT is the fruit of an artists-in-residence workshop that took place throughout the summer and at the beginning of September. His program included the creation of edible works of art, stand-alone or as part of an expanded action (art performance and/or installation), which will be offered on September 15 to the public, combined with traditional food cooked by local people and local folklore associations Megaroa and Nea Peramos, accompanied by traditional music by a live orchestra of local musicians.

As part of the workshop, local producers communicated the local history of the products to the creators. The artists together with the chefs explored local and other recipes, textures, sensitivities and/or special handling of each product, as well as the iconographic, morphoplastic or conceptual extensions, which they could give to the final artistic product – work. Experimentation with edible materials as a means to create works of art is, after all, linked to the primary sector and the identity/tradition of Megara.

Contemporary Art

Visual work: Graces Ferment
Visual artist: Antonis Volanakis
Chef/ Cook: Manolis Papoutsakis
Project documentation: Lydia Matthews
Performed by the musician Anna Pangalou and the actors Antigoni Grigoropoulou, Dimitra Tarousi, Electra Fragiadaki
Assistants: Sotiria Inetzi (architectural/visual), Katerina Kataki (directing), Elena Tsavdari (organizational)

A few words about the project

A social sculpture, the result of the collaboration between visual artist Antonis Volanakis and chef Manolis Papoutsakis in dialogue with art curator Lydia Matthews. For the last 20 years, Volanakis has been researching the female experience through his works, while Papoutsakis has been researching the possible applications of philosophy to food. The goal of the cooperative group’s multiple visits and stays in Megara was to connect with the city. Especially to actively listen to the voices of women living in Megara who generously shared their experiences in relation to living tradition, locality and foreignness. These meetings, sometimes planned and sometimes random, were reinforced by visits to home kitchens, bakeries, sharing recipes and finally workshops with long hours of kneading, embroidery and bread baking. A traditional wood oven lights and bakes visual/verbal messages of women to all.

At the same time, the research was also taking place in other places, such as the Archaeological Museum of Megara, the Theognis cultural association, vegetable gardens and wineries in the area, etc. In the archaeological museum, with the guardian of the wheat goddess Demeter, Volanakis is inspired by a votive relief, from the 4th century BC with the three Graces. This image soon acts as a catalyst for the performance of food in the public space, Graces Ferment, highlighting the living presence of three women in white garments. Using the wedding dress as a sculptural and significant object, which often appears in Volanakis’ visual works, the social sculpture explores what it means for women to be together, without necessarily being friends or relatives, around a round table and collectively preparing bread and to uniquely decorate each as an offering to the extended community. Kneading, shaping and embroidering bread, practices of women throughout history, bring back new questions of community connection, intergenerational interaction and the sharing of experiences in private and public contexts. Can hospitality be innovative, non-negotiable and absolute with the three Graces offering bread and wine?

Visual work: The silence of the birds
Visual artist: Theodoros Zafeiropoulos
Chef/Cooks: Eleni Psychouli, Ioanna Stamboulou
Theoretical project documentation: Eleni Psychouli, Theodoros Zafeiropoulos
Assistants: Giorgos Boulasidis (photographer)

A few words about the project

When we were young, during the Easter holidays we moved to the family cottage. In our urban, childhood biography, the rebirth of nature, the excitement of life, caused, in addition to allergies, a strange commotion. Every year we collected the shells from the scrambled red eggs and buried them under the stones of the yard, with indescribable reverence. To meet again next Easter. Let’s see if we can meet again. Although all summer our games took place around the stones-graveyards, we remembered the shells only the following Easter. Sometimes, with mad excitement, we discovered some remains. Fine fragments of shells, the color almost obliterated by the juices of weathering. Shattered. Fragile. The burial of the egg, the burial of Christ.

The burial, the Resurrection. We, from some ancient instinct, asked the egg to answer us. On him we left the immense agony of the mysteries of the world: the decay of matter. The preservation. The death. Where do things go when we no longer see them? We were picturing the hideous end of our own corruption. By instinct. Some calcareous fragments under a stone. The future of our adulthood. A momentary encounter of death with Hesiod’s Cosmogony. Circular, like an egg. Since then, when my grandmother sent me to buy chicken and eggs, always from Megara, this city was imagined in my mind as the huge ΟΟΟΝ (Ο ΟΟΝ) – the one that, of all the others, had the unique privilege of the Birth of Life, the ideal, oval shape. So every life needs a kind of space, to develop, to be created. Some shell, a matrix.

These strange thoughts formed the basis of the collaboration between the visual artist Theodoros Zafeiropoulos and the taste journalist Eleni Psychoulis who visited and understood the mythical character of the wider Megaritika land, looking for the egg, the hen, the architecture, the memory, the taste, the social dimension of poultry farming which has historically been a key nutritional, economic and political parameter in this region of Attica. Straight-built concrete blocks with a long floor plan, abandoned chicken coops among the ancient olive trees, modern hatcheries, a unique industrial chain with a living, mutating organism as its raw material. If the Megara were a taste, it would be the oval of the egg breaking to transform into a straight path, with many stops, like a train track arriving at the festival square, in a society-communication-participation for the participants.

FOOD

Folklore associations and locals will cook traditional recipes for the public, which will be shared free of charge as part of the festival.

Participating local and folklore associations: Megara Folklore Ensemble, Megara Hellenic High School, Association of Friends of Byzantine and Traditional Music, Megara Dance Club, Nea Peramou Attica Dance Club, Athanasios Mitsou

FESTIVAL

Music editor: Georgios Spyros Berdelis

Live Orchestra :

Violin, song: Georgios Spyros Berdelis
Song: Spyros Berdelis, Semina Maneta
Clarinet: Thodoris Tasoulas
Lute: Babis Hatzopoulos
Percussion: Dinos Mitsos, Sotiris Koundemanis
Songs composed – orchestration and lyrics by Giorgos Berdeles

Studio Orchestra:

Song, violin, oud: Giorgos Berdelis
Song: Ioanna Mourtzoukou
Piano: Despina Pantelaki
Lute, guitar, mandolin: Christos Tsiunis
Canon: Antigone Papailia
Bass: Babis Economopoulos
(The list of musicians and singers is under construction)

Identity photo: Yiannis Stamelos

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