After months of curious speculation, the wait’s finally over. The official Documenta 14 Athens season debuts on April 8. From eco-sexual campaigners, to haunting world-class symphonies and avant-garde dance spectacles, Amanda Dardanis reports on 3 opening day performances that reflect the diverse, eclectic (and often surprising!) nature of this historic modern art milestone.
MEET THE ECOSEXUALS
WHEN: April 8, 6pm-8.30pm.
WHERE: EMST–National Museum of Contemporary Art, Kallirrois Ave, tel: 211.101.9000-99, www.emst.gr
You’ve no doubt heard of Metro-sexuals. But did you know there’s also a growing movement of Eco-sexuals? (No, nor us).
Two larger-than-life Californians, Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle, are on a crusade to “sex up” green activism. The pair are the leading pioneers of eco-sexuality – a new Millennial-tweaked approach to global economic crises and existing environmental activist strategies.
Stephens and Sprinkle’s colourful antics include taking their “pollination pod” – a converted 1975 Perris Pacer camper and art installation – on participative road trips; water tarot readings; documentary making; presiding over eco-sex weddings; and holding symposiums on the pleasures and politics of water.
Since 2004, they have been devoted to developing the eco-sex movement through art, theory, practice and activism and their award-winning documentary Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story has featured at numerous film festivals.
For Documenta, the pair will perform a collaborative live water cleansing ritual at the site of a former police station that has a violent history linked to Greece’s military junta. Their Athens appearance is in solidarity with Native Americans who are defending water against a pipeline being built by Energy Transfer in North Dakota. The EMST event will begin with a presentation entitled: “An Evening with Annie Sprinkles and Beth Stephens: Post-porn activism and eco-sexual freedom”, followed by a “collaborative water ritual for humans, non-humans and water everywhere”. Documenta’s Director of Public Programs and curator Paul Preciado as well as theorist/artist Margarita Tsomou, (both of whom were in Stephens and Sprinkle’s Blue Wedding to the Sea in the 53rd Venice Biennale) will also participate.
Meanwhile, the flamboyant duo will also be conducting several days of “Cuddle Athens” in the EMST lobby, plus four pop-up “Sidewalk Sex Clinics” around the city where they will offer free sex advice to the public!
Here are the details of their Athens appearances:
7th April from 6pm – 8:30 pm @ EMST
8t April from 6pm – 8:30 pm @ EMST
9th April from 6pm – 8:30 pm @ EMST
10th April from 6pm – 8:30 pm @ EMST
Nomadic Sex Clinic
11th April : 12-2pm @ Sygrou Fix Avenue and 7-9pm @Iasonos street, Metaxourgio
12th April: 12-2pm @ Iasonos Street, Metaxourgio and 7-9 @ Psiri Square
13th April: 12-2pm @ Psiri Square and 7-9 @ Sigrou Fix Avenue
So … could you be a closet Eco-Sexual?
An Eco-Sexual is a person who imagines the earth to be their lover. According to Beth & Annie’s Eco-Sexual Manifesto, you might identify as one, if you’ve ever done more than one of the following: shamelessly hugged trees, massaged the earth with your feet; talked erotically to plants; worshipped the sun or the stars; caressed rocks or admired the earth’s curves!
Read their eco-sexual manifesto HERE:
THE SYMPHONY OF SORROWFUL SONGS
WHEN: April 8, 8.30pm.
WHERE: Christos Lambrakis Hall, Megaron. Vass. Sofias and Kokkali, Athens, tel: 210.728.2000, www.megaron.gr
We guarantee you’ll need the Kleenex for this one!
Hear the Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra (SEPO) perform in an exquisitely powerful and timely joint production with Documenta 14 artists David Harding and Ross Birrell; The Athens State Orchestra; and the Megaron.
Packaged by the Megaron as “Adagio – Music for Easter”, The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs is the Polish composer Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s best-known work. It is a poignant lament for orchestra and soprano in three movements, each focusing on the sense of hopelessness, separation, and loss experienced by parents and children as a consequence of war. The concert opens with Fugue by Ross Birrell & Ali Moraly, a tetrastich for violin solo, based on the poem Death Fugue by Paul Celan.
Here’s a taste of what you can expect:
Part of the evening’s proceeds will benefit the initiative of the Athens State Orchestra “Pink Box” for refugee children as well as the programs of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) for refugees both within and beyond Greek borders.
Tickets range from €12-45 (with €7 reduced entry for students, unemployed, etc). To book visit: HERE
PRIVATE SONG BY ALEXANDRA BACHZETSIS
WHEN: From April 6-8 and April 19-23 at 8pm.
WHERE : Municipal Theatre Piraeus, Leof. Ir. Politechniou 32, tel: 210.414.3310, www.dipethi.gr
We all perform and stage our bodies and ourselves through stereotypes and archetypes, choice and cliché, labor and spectacle. This is the Big Question that shapes the exciting work of choreographer and visual artist Alexandra Bachzetsis.
The dynamic creations of this Basel and Zurich-based Documenta artist unfold at the intersection of dance, performance, the visual arts and theater. More specifically, much of Bachzetsis’s choreographies of the body relate to the way that popular culture provides source material for gesture, expression, identification, and fantasy as we continually create and re-create our bodies and the way we identify.
Within this framework, Bachzetsis scrutinizes the mutual influence between the use of gesture and movement in the ‘popular’ or ‘commercial’ genres on the one hand (things such as online media, video-clip and television) and in the ‘arts’ on the other hand (ballet, modern and contemporary dance and performance).
For her Private Song performance for Documenta, popular rebetiko songs from the 1940s and 1950s composed by Giannis Papaioannou, Vassilis Tsitsanis, and Giorgos Mitsakis are introduced within the piece. Not as a narrative motive but as a means of juxtaposing the singular voices and codified gestures stemming from oriental and modern dance, as well as wrestling, Hollywood gender models, and time-honoured representations of love and battle.
Private Song questions how certain cultural and gender frames – such as with the rebetiko – come to define what is acceptable or not, by regulating a sense of reality, and subsequently, limitations, within a given scene. The 90-minute performance also concerns itself with questioning, underlining, or neutralizing the spectator’s relation to the moving bodies on stage.
Ultimately, though, the theme that possesses Bachzetsis throughout everything is the human body’s vast potential for transformation.
Tickets are €10. For more information and to buy tickets visit HERE:
For a full list of Documenta 14 inauguration week exhibitions and events, visit HERE:
Insider Weekly, April 5, 2017.