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Mystery 62_ Nights of Slowness – Discourses about Time: Journey to the West by Tsai Ming-liang


Against the backdrop of the full moon of May, the third iteration of Mystery 62_Nights of Slowness – Discourses about Time, from 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture, focuses again on the concept of time. With three separate but interconnected events in Elefsina on Sunday, May 15, which will include walking routes across the city, a screening of the film “Journey to the West,” directed by Tsai Ming-liang and a Discussion on “Time on the Streets of Metropolises” featuring prominent speakers, thearchitect Stavros Stavridis and the Professor of Philosophy Stefanos Rozanis, under the coordination of Giannis Leontaris, May’s Night of Slowness will take place as a walk, introducing the public to the art of slowness, and slowing down the frantic pace of a world that moves too fast.

As a sacred place, Elefsina has been intertwined, since antiquity, with mystery, mysticism and initiation. Where is this mystery found today? What secret is hiding in the modern city of Elefsina, and how may one discover it?

Silent group walks within the city will start from the Old Canteen on the coast of Elefsina, under the guidance of director Dimitra Loupi and the assistance of four “tour guides,” and end at the Courtyard of Agios Nikolaos, at the Archaeological Site, as part of a unique participatory process.The experience of walking around a city in a condition of slowness and silence will offer participants the opportunity to look for the secret through fragmentary images. The walk, which will take place in this “other” time, different from the everyday time of experiencing and consuming the city, seeks to synthesize the fragments. The photographic traces gathered by the participants in the context of the silent wandering/walk to the chapel of Agios Nikolaos will be dramatized under the guidance of director Marilena Katranidou and transformed into a guide for a live musical performance by Vassilis Mantzoukis on the traces of modern Elefsina.

Photo: John Kouskoutis

Then, a 10-minute action will take place, under the guidance of architect Stavros Stavridis, who will narrate a 360ο view from the hill of the church of Agios Nikolaos. This will be followed by a bold invocation of spirituality, with the screening of Journey to the West, directed by Tsai Ming-liang (France-Taiwan 2014), a film about a Buddhist monk wandering around the center of contemporary Marseille, in a rhythm of extreme slowness. Watch the trailer here.

The evening will conclude with a Discussion on “Time on the Streets of Metropolises,with architect Stavros Stavridis and Professor of Philosophy Stefanos Rozanis, under the coordination of Giannis Leontaris, Professor of Directing (Univ.of Peloponnese).

The event “Nights of Slowness” is part of the section of events entitled “Ordinary Mysteries.It was presented for the first time in Elefsina in 2018, in collaboration with the French Institute of Greece, as part of an annual event, dedicated to the exchange and circulation of ideas, organized by French Institutes all across the globe. Eleusis 2023 European Capital of Culture repeats and further develops the action, under the title “Nights of Slowness – Discourses about Time / Nuits de Lenteur – A propos du Temps”, hosting the event twice a year, under the light of the full moon, and presenting a series of original discussions featuring distinguished guests, always focusing on the concept of time. At the same time, each event is accompanied by different cultural actions. The first event of Mystery 62 took place in June 2021 and included talks by director Syllas Tzoumerkas and film critic Alexandros Papageorgiou, with the participation of composer Giannis Veslemes. Thesecond event took place in October of the same year, featuring the director Patrick Bokanowski and the music composer Michele Bokanowski.

Photo: John Kouskoutis


Editing, Direction: Giannis  Leontaris
Coordination of walking route: Dimitra Loupi
Coordination of drama / music performance: Marilena Katranidou
Film screening coordination: Vassilis Konstantopoulos, Carousel Films
Music performance in original composition: Vassilis Mantzoukis

Practical instructions for participation

Free Entry Passes with Seat Reservations or one (1) hour before the start of the event at the Old Canteen, subject to availability.

Starting point: Old Canteen, behind the Cinema Club of Elefsina (Kanellopoulou & Nikolaidou Str., Elefsina coast)

Time: 19.00

Destination: Chapel of Agios Nikolaos

Time: 20.00

Route duration: 40-45 minutes

Film screening: 20.45

Duration: 55 minutes

  • The routes followed by the groups will be different, developed in the center of Elefsina, and will include five groups of 10-15 people.
  • Participants must wear comfortable shoes and carry a water bottle. At the end, they will reach the chapel of Agios Nikolaos, to the right of the main entrance of the Archaeological Site of Elefsina, where they will attend the continuation of the Night of Slowness.
  • For those who do not wish to participate in the walking experience, the arrival time at the chapel of Agios Nikolaos is 20.00.
  • The number of participants in the event is limited. Reservations will be made on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • Disabled access: The space is accessible by a ramp from Sotiriou Gioka Street. It is noted that it has a very steep bevel and may be a need of an attendant to help people with mobility problems.
  • During all Eleusis 2023 European Capital of Culture events, all the necessary measures are taken, in accordance with the relevant health protocols, for the safety of both the public and each event’s employees.