FFF5 | Kader Attia: "The Body’s Legacies Pt 1" / ONASSIS CULTURAL CENTRE

FFF5 | Kader Attia: "The Body’s Legacies Pt 1"

Discussion and screening

Onassis Fast Forward Festival 5–Athens

11-13 MAY 2018

11 May | 20:00
Screening & Debate

12-13 May | 21:00
Irida (15, Ippokratous St & 55, Akadimias St)
Screening duration: 60 minutes
The screening and the debate will be held in English.
As part of theOnassis Fast Forward Festival 5–Athens, the historic Athenian movie theatre “Irida” presents in a European premiere the first part of the film trilogy of the prominent French-Algerian visual artist and filmmaker Kader Attia. The stars here are the “exiled” objects; the ones that colonial powers and Western missionaries seized from their rightful owners and turned into ethnic token-exhibits in European museums. The artist himself and the anthropologist-archaeologist Eleana Yalouri coordinate the public discussion that follows the first showing.
Free entrance, on a first come first served basis.
The distribution of entrance tickets begins one (1) hour before the event.
Kader Attia’s film essay The Body’s Legacies Pt 1: The Objects is part of a trilogy that questions the colonized body. This first part is concerned with the restitution of objects that were taken from non-Western societies by the colonialising powers or by missionaries and delivered to Western countries. In Europe and North America, they entered private and public collections, and since then have been presented from a merely Western scholarly perspective: they have been ethnologized. Being categorised as ethnological objects, they have been emptied of their original meaning, and frozen in time, no matter if their original purpose included deterioration or even destruction. Whereas their actual function has been ignored mostly, these objects have gained a new identity: they have become cornerstones of archaeology, art history and ethnology, and now bear witness to the history of Western science and humanities. Like colonialized peoples and migrants, they now have two identities — much in the same way as archaeological artefacts from ancient Greece that have become part of the history of Classicist art of those countries to which they were brought by scholars in the 18th century.
Kader Attia’s film features interviews with experts specialising in the legacy of colonialism and in the seizure and restitution of traditional objects, both from Africa and North America. Far from being a documentation or historical survey, the work subtly reveals the psychological effects these acts of seizure have had on individuals and societies, and it becomes clear that the long negligence of the issue must be perceived by the deprived societies as ongoing injustice. But the film also raises the question about the effects on the Western societies: when such objects entered the physical space of Western museums they at the same time influenced the Western mind, especially the mind of artists and writers: they have shaped our concept of Modernity — and us ourselves as postmodern people.
The screening on 11th May, will be followed by a discussion titled Relics Re-claimed. Five people working on or in between anthropology, museum studies, archaeology and art discuss with the artist about these issues and address questions such as i) the involvement of anthropology, archaeology and art in colonial projects and the self-reflexive interest in these issues that the three fields have developed, ii) the relationship between History and Histories, iii) the relevance the specific case of Greece may (or may not) have in discussions like those above related to (post)colonialism and claims for repatriation, iv) and the role contemporary art can play not only in thinking about, but also in acting vis-a-vis such claims.


Chaired by:
Kader Attia, Artist
Eleana Yalouri, Assistant Professor at the Department of Social Anthropology, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences in Athens

Konstantinos Kalantzis, Social Anthropologist, Research Associate at the project “Citizens of Photography”, Department of Anthropology, University College London
Dimitris Plantzos, Associate Professor of Classical Archaeology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Esther Solomon, Assistant Professor in Museum Studies, Department of Fine Arts and Art Sciences, University of Ioannina
Eva Stefani, Documentary Filmmaker and Associate Professor of History and Theory of Cinema, Faculty of Theatre Studies, University of Athens

We thank the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, the Rectorate and more specifically the Deputy Rector, Professor Georgios Polymeneas, the Students' Cultural Society and every member of the University staff who contributed to the event.

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Kader Attia (b. 1970), has developed a dynamic practice that reflects on aesthetics and ethics of different cultures. His research focuses on the concept of Repair, a constant in human nature, of which the modern Western mind and the traditional extra-Occidental thought have always had an opposite vision. Repair is deeply connected to traumatic experiences from the past that live on in the collective human psyche. Following the idea of catharsis, his work aims at Art’s reappropriation of the field of emotion that, running from ethics to aesthetics, from politics to culture, links individuals and social groups through emotional experience, and that is in danger of being seized by recent nationalist movements. Kader Attia’s comprehensive solo show The Field of Emotion is currently on display at The Power Plant, Toronto, and will be followed by another at the Mac Val Ivry-sur-Seine. Past exhibitions include The 57th Venice Bienniale; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; SMAK, Gent; Museum Für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; Musée Cantonal des Beaux Arts de Lausanne; Beirut Art Center; Whitechapel Gallery, London; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; dOCUMENTA(13) in Kassel, as well as group shows at MoMA, New York, or Tate Modern, London, just to name a few.

Eleana Yalouri is an assistant professor at the Department of Social Anthropology at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences in Athens. She holds a BA in Archaeology (University of Crete, Greece), an MPhil in Museum studies (University of Cambridge), a PhD in Social Anthropology (University College London), and conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Princeton, USA. She has been a visiting lecturer at the University of Westminster, London, and a lecturer at the Department of Anthropology of University College London. Her teaching, research interests and publications revolve around theories of material culture, cultural heritage and the politics of remembering and forgetting, theories of space and the social construction of landscape, anthropology and contemporary art, anthropology and archaeology. Her current research projects involve collaborations with visual artists and art historians exploring the borders between contemporary art and fields of inquiry dealing with the material culture of the past or present, such as archaeology and anthropology.

Dr. Konstantinos Kalantzis is a social anthropologist, specialized in the fields of power and visual culture. He has taught in various institutions, such as the University of Bern and the San Francisco State University, and has worked as researcher at Princeton University (USA), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (GR) and, currently, at the University College London. His book, Tradition in the Frame, about photography and the social imaginary on the mountainous Crete, is to be published by Indiana University Press in 2019.

Professor Dimitris Plantzos is a classical archaeologist, teaching at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. His research focuses primarily on ancient art history, archaeological theory, and modern receptions of classical culture. He is the author, among other titles, of Greek Art and Archaeology c. 1200-30 BC (Athens and Atlanta, GA: 2016) and co-editor of Wiley-Blackwell's A Companion to Greek Art (2nd ed., Malden, MA and Oxford: 2018).

Esther Solomon is Assistant Professor in Museum Studies at the Department of Fine Arts and Sciences of Art of the University of Ioannina. She has studied archaeology, museum studies and social anthropology at the Universities of Ioannina, Florence, Sheffield and London (UCL). She has worked as a museologist and exhibitions curator at museums in Greece and abroad, and has produced a series of studies published in Greek and international journals, conference proceedings and edited volumes. Her research interests include exhibitions curating, museum representations of the past, cultural tourism, the social and political uses of cultural heritage, and material manifestations of social memory and identity.

Eva Stefani is a visual artist and a documentary filmmaker. She uses video and super 8 film to make observational documentaries and short visual poems. Currently, she is completing an autobiographical graphic novel. Stefani is also editing her feature documentary Days and Nights with Dimitra K. She works as an Associate Professor of History and Theory of Cinema, Faculty of Theatre Studies, University of Athens, and as a Visiting Professor at Freie Universität Berlin, Institut für Griechische und Lateinische Philologie.

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