A haunted house in the heart of Syntagma to help us conquer our collective fears and a peripatetic re-discovery of Piraeus are just two of the gripping highlights of this year’s highly-immersive Fast Forward Festival, which explores the traumatic loss of both “home” and sense of belonging.
WHAT: Face up to your fears at a “haunted house” installed in the heart of Athens, by Dutch visual artist Dries Verhoeven.
“The only way to banish our fears is to face up to them”, says Dries Verhoeven, and that’s precisely what he invites us to do as we enter the darkness of the tent pitched in the heart of the city with Phobiarama glowing in neon beside it.
A 45-minute live-performance installation, a ride to be experienced in the centre of the city, Phobiarama is the latest work from the internationally-acclaimed Dutch artist and director who presented No man’s land at the OCC’s 1st Fast Forward Festival three years ago, in which viewers were given a guided tour of downtown Athens by and through a reality of being an immigrant.
“We’ve never been so insecure and so very scared”, Verhoeven notes, reminding us that: “Our fear receptors are in our brains, in the amygdala, the neurons that activate our reflexes when we are in danger. Our amydala has been putting in a lot of overtime lately. Politicians, the media, marketers and terrorists have forced us to stay ever-vigilant, ever alert. They’ve taken aim at our fear receptors with devastating accuracy. But which are real threats and which just cooked-up conspiracies…?”
Phobiarama is a site-specific performance which simulates the contemporary theatre of fear infiltrating our daily existence, and invites you to enter a labyrinthine ride which seeks to cast out all that haunts us.
Now, to tell the truth: what are you most scared of? An abandoned suitcase in an airport? The possibility of leaving the Euro? The financial crisis, nationalism or the extreme-right national parties? Terrorism and the global security services?
The world première of Phobiarama, a co-production by the OCC and the Holland Festival, problematizes, exposes and dissects the strategies of fear and personal precarity, inviting us to demystify and expose the “wizard” behind a global fear mongering.
Free entrance, on a first come first served basis. Reservation is required. Click HERE to reserve your seat.
WHEN: May 9-14. (Mon-Fri: 18:00-22:00; Sat-Sun: 11:00-13:00 and 18:00-22:00).
WHERE: Syntagma Square.
WHAT: The first European version of the much-discussed Heterotopia project which started in Tokyo in 2013 (“Tokyo Heterotopia”). The acclaimed Japanese creator Akira Takayama leads us on a free peripatetic spectacle experience. Equipped with smartphones, specially designed apps and maps, we embark on a 3-hour re-discovery of Piraeus and its long migration and refugee history.
The starting point: Omonoia. The destination: Piraeus. The goal: to re-discover Athens’ port city and its long history as a departure point for emigrants and a point of arrival for refugees in a hands-on, experiential way by means of an audio-walk that links 7 landmarks and is laden with historical memories and new experiences, myths and fictions.
The Heterotopia project began life as a radio-tour of Tokyo neighbourhoods in 2013. It has subsequently developed into a specially-designed smartphone app which will cover some 100 landmarks around the Japanese capital by the 2020 Olympic Games. Piraeus/Heterotopia, the first European version of the project, was commissioned by the OCC.
Important note on the performance:
To use the application, a smartphone is needed – with a 3G or 4G Internet connection – as well as headphones. For those who do not have one, there will be a limited number of phones at the starting point at Omonia Square.
WHEN: May 2-14 (11am-6pm).
WHERE: Outside the OCC, Syngrou Avenue 107, Athens, tel: 210.900.5800, www.sgt.gr
Visit HERE for more information on how to download the app and get the tour map.
What is the Fast Forward Festival 4?
The 4th Fast Forward Festival reclaims public and private spaces in Athens and Piraeus. Onassis Cultural Centre’s Artistic Director of Theatre and Dance Katia Arfara explains how over the next fortnight, the FFF will explore the notion of home, forced displacement and precarious global strategies through socially-engaged artistic practices.
“The 4th Fast Forward Festival is slipping silently into abandoned hotels and arcades, making inroads into old railway stations, making it as far out as Piraeus’ Silo and old stone warehouse to wander the side streets and squares of Drapetsona. The three landmark spaces of this year’s FFF—Syntagma and Omonoia squares and the port of Piraeus—co-exist with heterotopias such as the radioactive exclusion zones of Fukushima and Chernobyl and refugee camps in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
In a world charging headlong from endless motion to utter immobility and the total militarization of our borders, the co-existence of different places—and hence times—cannot but acquire a socio-political dimension. The 4th FFF is articulated around “heterotopias of crisis”, which is say around forbidden, invisible and marginalized places where, according to Foucault, spaces and times that could not normally co-exist are intertwined.
The common thread running through the heterotopias of the 4th FFF is the traumatic experience of forced displacement and the loss both of “home” and of a sense of belonging. Using various forms of artistic expression, the Festival sets out to create a notional “shared space” on the borderline between fiction and reality—a space of otherness which can dissect the hegemonic mechanisms of entrenchment and global strategies of precariousness while simultaneously testing the limits and the potential of art’s social function.
In an attempt to dilate our crisis-compressed present and redefine it by means of a comparative historical approach, the artists of the 4th FFF create a space that is realistic as well as poetic; a state both invisible and “real”, like the one Gregor Schneider has set up in Omonoia Square, which evades the machinery of surveillance and exclusion and which could, ideally, serve as a familiar space of co- existence.”
Insider Weekly, May 3, 2017