Mystery 42 Futuring Waters’ exhibition and parallel events introduces us to the artworks created through a process of co-authorship initiated by the artist and educator Jenny Marketou with the help of Greek and international scientists, artists, curators, architects, archaeologists and activists among others around water rights and hydropolitics, a complex political thought around water.
Conception/Installation/ Project Management: Jenny Marketou
Assistant/ Installation Design: Panagis Marketos
Curatorial Advisor/ Text for this brochure: Eleni Riga
Meetings led by: Nikos Anastasopoulos, Blanca de La Torre, Dimitra Ioannou (textlab), Ariana Kalliga, Denis Maksimov-Gupta, Panagis Marketos, Michael J. Scoullos, Joulia Strauss, Tatiana Theodoropoulou, Angela YT Chan
Videography: Alexandra Masmanidi
Project coordination: Zoi Moutsokou, Director of Contemporary Art 2023 Eleusis, Anastasia Tsopelaki, Architect
Audience Development: Yannis Koukmas, Director of Audience Development & Participa-tion 2023 Eleusis, Maria Papakonstantinou, Director of Student Community Activation & Participation 2023 Eleusis, Fjorida Cenaj, Public Participation Support Officer 2023 Eleusis
Production company: Eight
Many thanks for their participation during workshops
7th Elementary School of Aspropyrgos, 1st and 8th Elementary School of Elefsina, Kostas Sapoutzis, Evy Anthi
Many thanks for their collaboration to:
Alexandra Tsigkou, Director of Environmental Education of Elefsina
A Production of 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Cultural
Duration: 16.09.2023 to 01.10. 2023
Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 5 – 9 p.m. Saturday to Sunday 11:00 – 14:00 and 17.00 – 21.00
Location: Canteen Art Hub/ Anapsiktirio
Performative installation and official opening
Location: Vlycha and Canteen Art Hub/ Anapsiktirio
Publication launch and exhibition closing
Location: Canteen Art Hub, / Anapsiktirio
Elefsina has all the necessary ingredients to map and recreate an inclusive future for all water bodies. From the local to the global, a collective speculative approach was implemented around key questions about the future of waters such as “What’s next for water? How can we design the future with water? Who is entitled to participate in water legislation, whose views and rules are heard and taken into account? Whose definitions, priorities and interests prevail?”.
Through a series of public interdisciplinary and interartistic meetings (workshops, lectures, performances, site visits, etc.) that took place from May 29 to June 30, 2023 at the Canteen art hub/ Anapsiktirio on the waterfront of Elefsina, Marketou introduced a multitude of participants – especially young people, children and citizens of Elefsina and the wider area of the Thriasian Field – in innovative ways to co-shape new potential socio-ecological futures with water as an active agent in shaping civil society and public space.
One of the main approaches that Marketou proposes is futuring, practices that bring actors to-gether around one or more speculative futures and through critical thinking and dialogue they share specific directions for action. The exhibition includes photographs and artifacts that came from the aforementioned meetings utilizing various futuring techniques. The works differ in their materiality, sometimes they consist of plasticine, fabric, paper and sometimes of legumes, shells, oysters and other materials, the majority of which are organic, non-polluting and do not submit to the extractive economy. Also, an immersive video installation with short interviews conducted with the meeting facilitators and selected documentation from the meetings is presented along with an installation of nine hanging banners printed with short poems created by the participants of the workshop Water Time led by Dimitra Ioannou.
Furthermore, Marketou places great emphasis on the body, on embodied and situated knowledge. Here, the body represents an important scale of analysis of space, our closest geography, a scale that resists the privileging of abstraction at the expense of lived experiences. Each body is both space and has its space; it produces space and is produced in space (Simonsen, 2003). With an interartistic attitude, Marketou, inspired by the poetry of Nathalie Diaz and more specifically her poem “The first water is the body”, is forming a political space for all bodies of water with oysters as protagonists. Thus, in a parallel outdoor event at Vlycha on September 22, 2023, she realizes a public sculptural intervention entitled The Hatchery using tabby, a mixture of oyster shells, sand, algae and water. The Hatchery deals with the filtering effect oysters have on water and proposes a poetic interpretation of underwater habitats inspired by the architecture of oysters, meaning a complex function that involves the purification of polluted waters and ensures the ecological well-being of seawater.
Finally, the exhibition is accompanied by a special printed publication entitled “A Speculative Manifesto for – and from the Water of Elefsina”, as a result of an οn-site and interdisciplinary research that includes, among other texts by the guests of the meeting, a comprehensive manifesto, a written declaration for and from the water of Elefsina demanding their rights by introducing the concept of personhood. The rights of nature recognize ecosystems as subjects of law and empower people and governments to defend nature’s rights for the benefit of ecosystems. The publication will be presented during a special launch on September 30, 2023.
A Speculative Manifesto for – and from the Water of Elefsina is part of Jenny Marketou’s year-long interdisciplinary research that examines ways of dealing with the climate crisis, which is linked to abusive human interventions in the environment. Marketou actively participates in the history of socially engaged and collaborative art that took shape in the ‘90s after a series of up-heavals of important conceptual and historical developments that took place in the ‘60s. After careful research, Marketou combines art and speculative design to create sculptural ecosystems using dead oysters and shells as raw and live material bringing our attention to ecological issues with focus on bodies of water. In addition, oysters not only act as water filters, sea level rise mitigators and food sources but also as a powerful metaphor for redefining both environmental and social justice. Marketou works internationally on hydropolitics: Her artistic practice is exemplified by her collaboration with scientists, activists, academics and boat builders as part of The Billion Oyster Project and the Swale Lab on Governors Island in New York, where she lives and works.
The second axis focuses on the Environment, sustainability and wellbeing, seeking new ways to take ownership of the city, and focusing on the need to redefine our relationship with nature and the environment as a prerequisite for sustainable development. The thematic axis Environment comprises the three themes/notions of “Demeter-Mother Earth”, “Persephone” and “Ecoculture Festival”, corresponding to significant features of the relationship between human beings and the environment.
An exciting contemporary circus and dance performance, Mystery 109 The Higgs Particle, directed and choreographed by the ki omOs kineitai team based on a concept by choreographer Christina Sougioultzi and Dimitris Apostolakis of the Hainides music group, is presented by 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture at the Old Oil Mill Factory Amphitheatre on Saturday, 23 September.
On August 27 and September 14 and 23, 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture presents Mystery 67 Amoli – Demeter and agricultural cultivation in the post-industrial Thriasian Field, in Elefsina and Aspropyrgos respectively.
Mystery 169 If the Wind Blows by Amsterdam-based international visual artist Mariko Hori explores the relationship between language and the city, prompted by the Japanese proverb which goes “If the wind blows, the barrel makers prosper”, which means that any event can bring about an effect in an unexpected way.