Mystery 56 Culture 2030 Meeting, a celebration by 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture for artists and cultural professionals, returns to Elefsina with its 4th iteration from 9 to 12 November, under the title “In From the Margins”.
How was Elefsina transformed from “a town where passers-by look the other way”* into a European Capital of Culture (ECoC), setting new standards for the country’s cultural heritage? After Elefsina, which city will be the next Greek Capital of Culture? Is every city a potential Capital of Culture? Are there intermediate stages?
During the four days of the Culture 2030 Meeting, curated byKelly Diapouli, politicians, artists and experts will explore the possibility of adopting a new institution, its terms and conditions of operation, which will aim at the cultural development of all regional cities on an equal footing, regardless of their size or intention to claim the title of European Capital of Culture. And, as always, the Meeting’s programme is framed by workshops with artists and professionals from European and wider international cultural networks, artistic actions, symposia, as well as the Agora, an open space for gathering, networking and exchange.
Steve Green, independent expert with many years of experience in Capitals of Culture and Chair of the selection panel for European Capitals of Culture that assessed the Greek candidate cities for the title of ECoC 2021, in his keynote speech presents the framework of a new institution, detailing the benefits, the criteria and the difficulties of the competition process. Next, Giannis Trochopoulos, member of the selection panel for European Capitals of Culture that assessed the Greek candidate cities and Director of the Veria Central Public Library, focuses on the potentials and vulnerabilities of cultural development in the region. Yorgos Skianis, an Elefsinian and several-year curator for visual art installations at the Aeschylia Festival, describes how the stigmatization of Elefsina prompted its citizens to change the city’s image in the eyes of the world. Lastly, Nan van Houte, former Secretary General of the International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts (IETM), talks about the role of contemporary art in today’s fluid and often precarious socio-political reality.
* From the documentary “Agelastos Petra” [Mourning Rock] by Filippos Koutsaftis
Mornings at the Culture 2030 Meeting are dedicated to workshops, bringing Greek artists and professionals in contact with fellow colleagues from European and wider international cultural networks. In particular, representatives from the organisations Roberto Cimetta Fund and Liv.in.g. analyse the issue of artist mobility with a focus on the Mediterranean region and present a new programme that aims to help Mediterranean artists internationalise their artistic practice.
The conference participants will have the opportunity to attend three experiential workshop-visits as part of the “Focus on Small Neighbourhood Museums” action. The “Adrachti” Folklore Association (2002), the Pontian Association “New Trebizond” (1976) and the Asia Minor Association (1932) open the doors of the small museums they have created as repositories of collective memory, presenting their traditions, their activities and their extraordinary contribution to cultural life in Greece.
The Μ2Pgroup organisesanother fascinating experiential workshop, Mystery 85 CITY PATTERNS, offering a fresh look on patterns, their imaginative reuse, and how tradition and memory can inspire new forms of creativity.
The artistic programme of the Culture 2030 Meeting takes place from 17.00 until late at night, with events held all over the city. Foremost among them is the social circus performance by the company “Ki omOs Kineitai” [And Yet it Moves], the fruit of an intensive contemporary dance and acrobatics workshop; the event “All Μy Life a Child of the Night” with folk songs and rebetika by Lena Kitsopoulou; in partnership with the CULTTERRA youth group, a party featuring artistic happenings, live performances and a DJ set by the group Katalogue in ARKOPOLIS, the new venue for young people. The artistic programme also comprises two exhibitions, the collective exhibition Mystery Theta with visual artworksworks by students of the Athens School of Fine Arts, presenting the viewpoint of 14 young artists on the preservation of the city’s collective memory, and the mixed media visual art installation titled The Utopia of Dreams, a work created collectively during the educational programme Mystery 171 Constructing Utopia.
Guided by imagination, the event “Elefsina for young and old – a different tour in time and space,” curated by the Hellenic Children’s Museum, connects stories from the past to the present, highlights all that makes Eleusis a timeless Cultural Capital, and suggests alternative ways of getting to know each other through personal journeys full of colour, sounds, scents and emotions.
Participants will also have the chance to attend a different Symposium with Dimitris Apostolakis from the Hainides band and Christina Sougioultzi, who inspired Mystery 109 The Higgs Particle, and share with them the experience from the workshops and the contemporary dance and acrobatics performance that was presented at the Old Oil Mill Factory Αmphitheatre in September 2023.
Last but not least, Agora, an open space for gathering, networking and exchange, will welcome professionals and artists from Greece and abroad, so they can share ideas and practices with their colleagues from other countries or/and present their work to a global artistic community.
Parallel actions in the city
During the Culture 2030 Meeting, parallel actions in the city will offer participants the opportunity to enjoy art exhibitions, performances, openings of original actions, and even radio walks. More specifically, the Old Town Hall houses the photography and multimedia exhibition by famous American photographer Lina Bertucci titled Mystery 34 Faces of Elefsina. Portraits of Identity, Passage and Transition on the theme of the diverse communities of Elefsina. Simultaneously, the iconic archaeological site of Elefsina will host one of the most important legacy projects of 2023 Eleusis, Mystery 20 Performing Arts Initiator – Narrative Archaeology. A combination of narrative performance and archaeology on the theme of the indefinable attraction felt by visitors of historical monuments in their search for the hidden, secret narrative of each site. Finally, 12 November marks the launch for the online streaming of Mystery 37 Voices of Elefsina, the radio station created in collaboration with the locals, accompanied by an artistic event in the form of a radio walk.
Thursday 9 November
10:30 Registration, X-Bowling Art Center
11:00-13:00 Opening discussion | A new institution for regional cultural development,
X-Bowling Art Center
15:00-17:00 Keynote speech | Steve Green “Greek Capital of Culture: towards a national title”, X-Bowling Art Center
17:30-19:00 Small neighbourhood museums in the spotlight, workshop – visit to the Folklore Association of “Adrachti” museum, meeting point: X-Bowling Art Center, departure time: 17:00
19:30-20:30 Mystery 109 The Higgs Particle, presentation of a social circus workshop, X-Bowling Art Center
21:00-23:00 Symposium with Hainis Dimitris Apostolakis and Christina Sougioultzi, Old Oil Mill Factory
Friday 10 November
10:30 Registration, EKEDA – West Attica Labour Union Building
11:00-13:00 Workshops | Artistic mobility in the Mediterranean // From bidding to winning. The gamble of cultural strategy in the selection process, EKEDA – West Attica Labour Union Building
15:00-17:00 Keynote speech | George Skianis “How our desires change the city”, X-Bowling Art Center
17:30-19:00 Small neighbourhood museums in the spotlight, workshop – visit to the Pontian Association “New Τrabizun” museum, meeting point: X-Bowling Art Center, starting time: 17:00
19:00-21:00 “Mystery of Theta”, collective art exhibition of students of the IX workshop of the Athens School of Fine Arts, Cultural Centre Leonidas Kanellopoulos
21:00-00:00 “Child of the night(s) for a lifetime”, folk and rebetiko songs with Lena Kitsopoulou, Old Oil Mill Factory
Saturday 11 November
10:30 Registration, EKEDA – West Attica Labour Union Building
11:00-13:00 Workshops – Working Groups | Internationalising our artistic practices // From the archive to the museum, EKEDA
15:00-17:00 Keynote speech | Nan Van Houte “Live art in a world in shambles. Not such a funny story”, X-Bowling Art Center
17:30-19:00 Small neighbourhood museums in the spotlight, workshop – visit to Asia Minor Associations’s museum, meeting point: X-Bowling Art Center, starting time: 17:00
19:30-20:30 Mystery 171 The Utopia of Dreams, art installation with mixed materials, X-Bowling Art Center
21:00-00:00 #Parts of Katalogue @ARKOPOLIS, Party with visual arts, Performances & DJ Set, ARKOPOLIS
Sunday 12 November
10:00-12:30 MEMORY REPURPOSED, Μystery 85 CITY PATTERNS, X-Bowling Art Center / [10:00-12:00] Elefsina for young and grown-ups – a different promenade in place and time, meeting point: X-Bowling Art Center
12:30-14:00 Agora, a networking experience, X-Bowling Art Center
14:00-15:30 Lunch & Goodbyes
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.
With 12 premieres of documentary films, inspired by Eleusis and the surrounding areas and with important collaborations from the film industry, the 1st IN SITU REALITIES – Eleusis Documentary Festival is inaugurated, a legacy project of 2023 Eleusis.
From December 15 to February 11, 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture presents Mystery 87 I My Sea Journey, I My Land Claim, the new sculpture installation by the acclaimed visual artist Stefania Strouza honoured with this year’s Art Athina Prize for young artists.
From 17 December 2023 to 11 February 2024, 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture inaugurates a new era for the renovated IRIS factory with Mystery 111 Eleusis Terracotta Army by international artist Juan Esteban Sandoval. An exhibition as a tribute to the people who work in Elefsina and the broader West Attica region, a huge collective portrait that was made to represent the people who have forged with their work, their physical toil and their lives the current image of the place where they live. The exhibition will open on Sunday 17 December, during the closing ceremony of 2023 Eleusis, Mystery 1 Closing : Opening | A ceremony.