The world-renowned Russian collective Chto Delat,
which combines political theory, art and activism, comes to Athens for the first time. With wide experience of works in public spaces and in collaboration with the visual artist and musician Anton Kats, they create Park Fables
: they mount a large-scale, off-OCC project on the fertile ground of Pedion tou Areos
, in an attempt to find new ways to activate it.
Pedion tou Areos
(Field of Ares) is one of the largest public urban parks or gardens in Athens. As such, it becomes part of the public sphere in the early 20th
century and reaches its heyday in the 1950s as a very popular site of entertainment and leisure activities; today, the basic features of Pedion tou Areos, apart from its abundant and rare flora, are the diversity of its population and the miscellaneous activities that energise it in multiple ways. Distinguishing features diachronically uniting the multiple identities of the park are the fragments of history that could be seen as continuities of the history of Modern Greece.
Equipped with various aesthetic languages, diverse ways and media, and rooted in findings of broad and original interdisciplinary research, the work encompasses miscellaneous fragments of the park’s memory and takes a critical stance towards national narratives, rigid stereotypes and established identities. Park Fables
arises from the present life of the park and spreads into a variety of eras and domains; it emerges an ephemeral field of fictional links between the real and the imaginary, generating encounters between history and memory, between people, desires and experiences, between different situations and identities shaped in Pedion tou Areos.
The Park Fables
actions comprise ephemeral artistic, recreational and educational interventions that converse with the park’s cultural heritage: a theatrical performance and a radio station-and-listening space form the core of the work, flanked by temporary installations and parallel events. All the interventions invite the audience to think and discuss, negotiate the complexities of contemporary sociopolitical life, and aim to showcase different ways to manage and use public spaces and reinvent the role of recreation. A point of reference and a meeting point during the Park Fables
actions is a specially designed pavilion housing a radio station and a library.
2, 6, 12, 13, 14 & 16 May |19:00 (Duration: 2 hours) | Starting point: Pavilion | Age guidance: 15+ (teenagers must be accompanied by their parents)
The performance Park Fables
starts with guided tours, which unfold between the real and the imaginary in Pedion tou Areos. Different routes guide the audience through a play of contemporary fables, by employing various narrative angles. Drawing inspiration from Aesop’s Fables
, each narrative consists of a story performed by puppets, foregrounding “morals” open to interpretation.
Dirty Athens Brass Band
2 May | 22:00 | Square May 1st (Open-air Theatre)
The Dirty Athens Brass Band was created in Athens in November 2014, bred by the love of its members for music and more specifically for the distinctive sound produced by the combination of wind and percussion instruments. It is inspired by the New Orleans groups and encompasses a broad spectrum of musical selections.
2-16 May | 10:00-21:00 | Pavilion
is an interactive, narrowcast radio station on air in the range of the park; it is an open listening space that weaves a network of transmissions and receptions. As a sonic sculpture and a learning site, Radio Pedio
amplifies the infrastructure of sound and voice in the public space, encompassing debates and workshops, presentations and projections, a library, and unexpected encounters.
Radio Pedio: Public Discussions at the 'Pedio tou Areos' park
Pafsanias Karathanasis, Anton Kats, Dmitry Vilensky
Operator/Moderator: Pafsanias Karathanasis
The park and the city: Reflections of the past and present life in & around the park
4 May | 17:00-19:00
A discussion among researchers and writers, who contributed to the Park Fables
' publication, on topics concerning history, architecture/urbanism and the lived experiences of the park.
Kostas Moraitis (Architect, Professor at the School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens), Thanasis Gallos (Dr. of European History, Researcher, Contemporary Social History Archives - ASKI), Athina Stamatopoulou (Architect, PhD candidate, School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens), Maria Sampatakaki (Historian, Public History Group "hιστορισταί"), Michalis Festas (Historian, Guide)
Radio Pedio: Voice and Radio transmissions in public spaces
5 May | 17:00-18:30
A discussion between artists and academics on the issues of the transmission of voice(s) in public space through radio. Radio as a question of agency and a strategic tool for production of (national) memory and identity. Who transmits what for whom? What is the transmission? To what end is it transmitted?
Anton Kats (Artist, Musician), Panos Panopoulos (Assistant Professor of Social Anthropology, University of the Aegean), Alexandra Koumantaki (Sound Artist), Angelos Krallis (Artist, Musician – CHICKN), Anna Papaeti (Dr. of Musicology, Postdoctoral Researcher, Panteion University)
“I don’t leave the park until the sun sets”: Homelessness and marginalization in urban spaces
6 May | 17:00-18:30
A discussion on the multiple aspects of the urban issue of homelessness. Practitioners in the support of homeless people in Athens exchange experiences and views.
Ioanna Psimouli (Psychologist, Coordinator of the program "Care on the move", Street Work, PRAKSIS), Emilia Douka (Communication & Social Programs Coordinator, Street Magazine “Shedia”)
“We come here to be free, both of us”: Discussion on the human-animal relations in the open-air spaces of the cities
11 May | 17:00-19:00
Discussing on the relation between animals and people in the urban environment. Both animals with owners and strays are living with the people in the contemporary cities. How are we actually dealing with the other living creatures with which we share our cities?
Menelaos Karamaghiolis (Film Director), Nikos Tsiamis (Professional Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant), Eirini Molfesi (President of the Panhellenic Animals Welfare)
To hide or not to hide: A discussion on the politics of “hiding” the stigmatized practices in urban spaces
12 May | 17:00 - 18:30
A discussion on drug use in public spaces of the cities among practitioners from organizations who deal with the issue of drug use in the center of Athens, and writers/social scientists who have published on the issues of marginalized groups in urban settings.
Ageliki Kitsiou (Dr. of Sociology, Research Department of the Greek Organization Against Drugs - ΟΚΑΝΑ), Tasos Smetopoulos (Founder and Coordinator of the NGO Standing for People – STEPS)
“I play my favorite game in the park”: Discussion on board games, playing, competition and sociality in open spaces of the city
13 May | 17:00 - 18:30
Chess, backgammon and domino are being played every day in the park. How these games facilitate social relations among people? On sociality, competition and fun in urban open spaces.
Representatives of the Chess Department of Panellinios G.S.
Representative of the Pétanque
team of “Shedia” Street Magazine
* The Pétanque team of “Shedia” magazine will be playing at the park
What is to be done? The public art project as tool for transformations
15 May | 17:00 - 19:00
A discussion between artists and curators on the role of public art projects and their possibilities to create an egalitarian and inclusive public sphere. How can public art projects participate in knowledge production and be socially useful or sustainable, but at the same time aesthetically or artistically meaningful?
The discussion will be moderated by Despina Zefkili
, Art Critic, Editorial Director of Athinorama
magazine and member of the Temporary Academy of Arts
Katia Arfara (Artistic Director of the Theatre and Dance Department, Onassis Cultural Centre), Dmitry Vilensky (Artist, Curator - Chto Delat), Syrago Tsiara
(Art Historian, Contemporary Art Center of Thessaloniki), Elpida Karaba (Curator, Art Theorist)
Avenue of Heroes
Avenue of Heroes is an iconic part of Pedion tou Areos, of great historical, memorial and symbolic value. The Park Fables
circulate among the busts of the Heroes of the 1821 Revolution, activating their force field with historic quotes written on banners.
Square May 1st
Flags with the “most famous birds of Pedion tou Areos”, inspired by the rich theatre life of the park, are placed around the amphitheatre of Mayday Square. Quotes by 20th
century revolutionary theatre figures like Bertolt Brecht, Augusto Boal and some emblematic personalities of the Greek theatre are written on banners to remind us of the emancipatory dynamics of theatre practices.
What music can plants produce? Alexandra Koumantaki and Periklis Lazarou’s sound installation is created through the sonification of plants – the translation of their data into music.
Cycling lessons for adults
5 May | 10:30 - 14:30
6 May | 12:00 - 14:00 & 17:00 - 19:00 | Pavilion
Bike rides and cycling lessons for adults expand the possibilities of exploring the park, offering a different experience, beyond strolling. The actions are organized in conjunction with MBike, which collaborates with the Melissa initiative/group, to teach women participating in this network to cycle.
11-13 May | 12:00 | Pavilion
Chess, domino and backgammon are typical games of the park aficionados. This amateur chess tournament is open to all and is jointly organized with the Panhellenic Gymnastics Club (Panellinios Gymnastikos Syllogos). It is a first for the park and may potentially be established as a standard event.
A New Lease on Life with Schedia street paper
8 May |17:00 - 19:00 | Pavilion
How old issues of the street paper Schedia can be remoulded into useful objects of high aesthetic value and quality, granting a new chance, new form, new life to something ostensibly “useless”, a piece of “trash”. In the “A New Lease on Life” workshop, there will be a hands-on presentation of the Schedia art upcycling project, a social programme of the Schedia street paper, run by the homeless and people who live below the poverty line/threshold.
25 April, 2 & 8 May
Inspired by Pedion tou Areos, elementary school pupils are transformed into Park Elves
with the help of puppets and,
that they will make from natural materials and recyclable trash during the workshop. They will also create their own happening to be presented at Mayday Square at the end of the workshop together with the puppeteer and puppet maker Stathis Markopoulos.
The park and the city
Experiential workshop inviting high-school students from nearby neighbourhoods to explore the park from different vantage points, in collaboration with their teachers, as well as to answer the open question “How is the city connected to the city?”.
Concept & Artistic Direction: Chto Delat (realized by: Tsaplya Olga Egorova, Nina Gasteva, Nikolay Oleynikov, Dmitry Vilensky) in collaboration with Anton Kats
Curated by: Katia Arfara
Fieldwork & Bibliographic research: Athina Stamatopoulou, Pafsanias Karathanasis
Historical & Archival research: Maria Sampatakaki, Michael Festas
Production management: Maria-Mando Giannikou
Line production: George Tsitsas
Assistant Line Production: Michalis Vrachliotis
Puppet design & construction: Stathis Markopoulos - Ayusaya Puppet Company
Graphic Design of the map and the newspaper: busy building
Narrator: Spyros Andreopoulos
Greek translation: Irina Smyshlyaeva, Eri Kyrgia
Guided Tours: Maria Petinaki, Georgios Papadopoulos, Pafsanias Karathanasis
Dancers: Yannis Adoniou, Xenia Vlachou-Koghilaki, Katerina Gevetzi, Christine Zacharia, Konstantina Barkouli, Margarita Trikka, Dimitra Charalampidou, Antonis Primikyris, Adrian Kolaritz
Marionettist: Stathis Markopoulos - Ayusaya Puppet Company
Radio Operator: Pafsanias Karathanasis
Commissioned and Produced by: Onassis Culture/FFF
In collaboration with Hellenic Republic Region of Attica
Special thanks to ERT Archives, the Greek Literature and Historical Archive (ΕΛΙΑ-MIET), NGO PRAKSIS, the 28th Primary School of Athens, Panellinios Gymnastics Club,"Shedia" magazine and MBike.
Many thanks to: Tasoula Vervenioti, Panayotis Tournikiotis, Tasos Sakellaropoulos, Stelios Kimionis, Ioanna Psimouli, Xrisanthos Xanthis, Katerina Koffina, Dimitra Tsiourva, Leandros Slavis, Ihab Sabana, Ilias Paraskevopoulos.
We would also like to thank the persons who shared with us their thoughts, stories and experiences during the fieldwork research and, especially: Christina, Emilios, Maria, Konstantina, Suzana, Aris, Ali, Panos, Kalliopi, Filippos, Vassilis, Antigoni, Giannis, Apostolis, Lena, Smaro and Myrto.