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 Learning by earning

 {working title}

 hosted by Documenta 14

 A video program curated by Artemis Potamianou (Athens) and Bjørn Melhus (Kassel)

 Old Library, Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA) 256 Pireos Street, Athens

 

 

A video program curated by Artemis Potamianou (Athens) and Bjørn Melhus (Kassel)

 

Participant Artists: Nicos Samaras, Kostas Economou, Clara Winter, Yiannis Grigoriadis, Jan Peters, Bjørn Melhus, Artemis Potamianou, Kerstin Honeit , Yiannis Melanitis

 

Total running time: 73 min.

 

learning by earning presents 9 different approaches by artists from Kassel and Athens to frame the diverse European realities in times of crisis, migration, precarious economies, cultural colonization and gentrification. According to these questions learning by earning stands under the image of a dodo (contrary to the d14 owl), a once existing flightless bird on Mauritius, which was eradicated by colonization.

 

The program opens with a work by Nicos Samaras, dressed as Joseph Beuys on a fictional bicycle tour from Greece to Kassel, followed by Clara Winter’s ironical approach to overcome her guilt as a first-world European woman serving and dedicating herself to a third-world human, not without teaching him her standards. Kosta Economou shows us the trauma he had to deal with when he went to new country and couldn't understand the new “language” which had as result to be silent for a year. The work Deus ex machina of Yiannis Grigoriadis is a digital collage of processed archive footage from the arrival of VIPs at the Hellenikon airport, recorded by the state television in the 1960s and 1970s. This way of presenting ‘arrival’, as used historically by the media, was inspired by the deus ex machina in ancient Greek tragedy. It is a diary of the arrivals thus turned into a symbolism, which is always liberating. Jan Peters's video is a filmed diary about the attempt to become a self-employed tour guide, who buys a group ticket for the metro at Frankfurt airport and then lets passengers travel with him on his ticket - for a small fee, of course. It shows a perfect example of alternative economies. Bjørn Melhus uses a historical moment, the July 1st 1990 which marked the day of monetary reunification between East and West Germany. The West German currency, the Deutsch Mark, was imported into the East, and with it, the promise of free markets. At Berlin Alexanderplatz, the center of the fallen East German capital, an American dance group is holding a victory party. “Feel free, buy T-shirts” they chant to a crowd of on lookers. Artemis Potamianou also use the recent history, when the Olympic games happen at Athens (2004) and when the historical Athenian theater Attikon was burned during the riots and demonstrations (2012). The video Chronicle of a Death Foretold presents the headings of international newspapers about how Greece was portrayed during the 2004 Olympic Games and how it is presented now, at a time of crisis. The video explores how the public opinion and the headlines of the global newspaper changed completely about a nation in 8 years. Kerstin Honeit connects two opposing phenomena of urban development: The current gentrification processes of Berlin, where long term tenants are moved out of the city center to maximize real estate profits, and the experience that house owners in the wealthier suburbs have with wild boars intruding into their premises. Melanitis work is a metaphor of public discourse to a democratic assembly. Melanitis confronts audio elements which function approximately like a dialectic crescendo: a small radio, as an orator of retransmission of information from short radio waves towards an old ecclesiastical organ of a church, the congregation.

 

learning by earning

{working title}

 

A video program curated by Artemis Potamianou (Athens) and Bjørn Melhus (Kassel)

Total running time: 73 min.

 

Nicos Samaras: Encounter with Beuys

0:46 min,

 

“We are in the age of the simultaneous, of juxtaposition, the near and the far, the side by side and the scattered.” It is in this Foucault’s phrase that the artist’s main idea is located and on which the course of his encounter with his iconic alter ego is structured. According to the folktales, Ghionis is transformed to a bird (sops owl) and starts seeking his lost brother, calling him during the night. At the same time, the sops owl’s call in folk tradition is linked to the notice of death.

In the narrative dimension of this work, parallel courses and pairs of contradictory or complementary conditions are merged together. Death and life walk side by side, myth and reality converse in a journey that is taking place in an indefinitely present, past or future time.

The figures of the two artists meet in a virtual encounter, while at the same time two cultural and social backgrounds, two countries that move both in same and opposite directions converge in a sequence that seems to repeat itself in an infinite loop with no destination.

This encounter brings up a dialogue on the borderline between the notions of historic and contemporary, history and myth, place and non-place as the artist goes through the path that connects and distinguishes him at the same time with the myth, the work, the background and the place-context of Beuys.

The scops owl’s calls mark the death of an existing condition or the birth of a new one?

 

Kostas Economou: A silent year

5:30min, 2017

 

A silent year is a video/film loop that deals with issues of memory retold. How does a family story of integration and language acquisition relate to a child’s rememberings of the time of transition from one language to another. How does the representation of a filmed event from 1966 translate into a contemporary visual language, and a personal concern now?

 

 

Clara Winter: Postcolonialism in 30m2

14:33 min, 2015 (Spanish, German engl. subtitles)

 

She can’t stand the guilt of being european, so she decides to give herself to a third-world human and serve him. He thinks this is appropriate and thankfully accepts this reparation.

She begins cleaning and cooking for him, and soon starts to set up some well-intentioned regulations to his household, trying to convince him to live his life in a better way developing hygienic, environmental and economical standards. She just wants to find a way to help him that’s good for both of them. He feels somehow less happy than before.

 

Yiannis Grigoriadis: Deus ex machina

5:30 min, 2014

 

The work Deus ex machina of Yiannis Grigoriadis is a digital collage of processed archive footage from the arrival of VIPs at the Hellenikon airport, recorded by the state television in the 1960s and 1970s. This way of presenting ‘arrival’, as used historically by the media, was inspired by the deus ex machina in ancient Greek tragedy. As the tragic poet gradually took the myth to its culmination and finding a solution was too difficult, if not impossible, then a deus ex machina was enlisted to resolve the impasse; a divine intervention to redress human misdeeds and restore justice. The arrival is thus turned into a symbolism which is always liberating. The setting of the airport becomes the “intermediate locus” between unfamiliar and familiar or, as modernism put it, the “non-locus” where the atmosphere is prefabricated, thoughts are dictated and emotions are imposed through predetermined protocols.

 

 

Jan Peters: HOW I BECAME A FREELANCE TOUR GUIDE

15:00 min, 2007 (German / engl. subtitles)

 

A filmed diary about the attempt to get an internship with a man on early retirement who buys a group ticket for the metro at Frankfurt airport every day and then lets passengers travel with him on his ticket - for a small fee, of course.

 

Bjørn Melhus: AMERICA SELLS

7:00 min, 1990 (English)

 

July 1st 1990 marked the day of monetary reunification between East and West Germany. The West German currency, the Deutsch Mark, was imported into the East, and with it, the promise of free markets. At Berlin Alexanderplatz, the centre of the fallen East German capital, an American dance group is holding a victory party. “Feel free, buy T-shirts” they chant to a crowd of on lookers.

 

Artemis Potamianou: Chronicle of a Death Foretold

8:11 min, 2012 (English)

 

The video Chronicle of a Death Foretold presents the headings of international newspapers about how Greece was portrayed during the 2004 Olympic Games and how it is presented now, at a time of crisis. The letters of the 2004 headings are formed by scenes from the Olympic Games’ opening ceremony and the lighting of the Flame, while those about the crisis present footage from the riots and demonstrations.

 

 

Kerstin Honeit Pigs in Progress

12:17 min, (2013)

 

The video PIGS IN PROGRESS connects two opposing phenomena of urban development: The current gentrification processes of Berlin, where long term tenants are moved out of the city center to maximize real estate profits, and the experience that house owners in the wealthier suburbs have with wild boars intruding into their premises.

A playback performance amongst wild boars.

 

Yiannis Melanitis: PNYX EQUINOX

2:37 min, 2014

 

PNYX EQUINOX is a connection of political assembly places across Europe as a metaphor for the J. Beuys installation /100-day event in Documenta, of interlinking remote spaces to a central mechanism.