FFF5 | Robert Zhao Renhui

The Nature Museum

Onassis Fast Forward Festival 5–Athens

2-16 MAY 2018

Mon-Fri: 16:00-21:00
Sat-Sun: 10:00-11:00 & 14:00-18:00

Guided Tours: 5, 6, 12, 13 & 16 May
(See below the programme of the tours)
15, Derigny St
Age guidance: 14+
Nature invades Victoria Square. The rooms of an old Athenian residence host a peculiar "Nature Museum". There, at 15 Derigny Street, an award winning Singaporean artist, in collaboration with Greek experts, mounts an adventurous installation showcasing the unknown flora and fauna of Athens – from the rivers that disappeared to the wildlife that was quashed by uncontrollable urbanisation.
OCC's Friends & General Presale: from 19 APR 2018, 12:00
Full price: 3 €
Unemployed, People with disabilities: 2 €

Group ticket reservations at groupsales@sgt.gr

* Maximum of  10 people per guided tour
The online tickets purchase for the guided tours ends the previous day at 23:59.
On the day of the guided tour, tickets will be available only at 15 Derigny St (only 3€ tickets).
Tickets at the door: Cash only

**The venue does not have wheelchair access.
The Nature Museum is a fascinating exploration of the Athenian natural history. Α bewildering universe of photographs, natural specimens, taxidermy, and documents in an old house in the centre of the city. Stories of Athens's missing rivers, the invasive Tree of Heaven, the nesting habits of monk parrots, and animals living on the edge of survival, are woven together to expose a surprising layer of reality that exists, ignored, but in plain sight in the heart of the city. The Nature Museum takes you on a journey through photographs, artworks and historical documents, narrating myriad stories of Athens's little-known biodiversity and aggressive urbanization.
The installation, curated by the visual artist Katerina Zavakou (Athens) in collaboration with Robert Zhao Renhui and the Institute of Critical Zoologists (Singapore)  is derived from the personal collection of Athenian collector and amateur natural historian, Giorgos Charonidis, who spent almost 50 years chronicling the natural world in Athens. The collection reveals a hidden world of natural riches within the city, bringing to light the dramatic violence and loss lingering within the urban environment. The installation is fleshed out by a guided tour and lecture performance, created in collaboration with playwright Joel Tan.
At the heart of Athens' encounters with nature lies a deep story of violence and survival: rivers disappear while urbanized roads emerge, and wildlife bears the brunt of social and spiritual crises. Employing the Institute’s full range of investigative methodologies, the artefacts on display include archival images and historical texts, research papers, documentary photography and installation, all focused on the ways communities have interacted with nature in different time periods and geographical regions. In tracking these encounters and their histories, using methods drawn from historical knowledge-production to contemporary urban ecology, this show unites multiple strands of knowledge into a single museological encounter.


Concept: Robert Zhao Renhui 
Writing & Dramaturgy: Joel Tan
Research & Dramaturgical Editing: Theodora Kapralou
Research Advisor: Dr. Aleka Meliadou, expert in natural environment management
Performer: Amalia Kavali

With the kind support of Zoological Museum of the University of Athens.

Special thanks to: National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (UOA); Efstratios D. Valakos, Professor of Comparative Animal Physiology and Ecophysiology, Faculty of Biology, UOA, and Director of Museum of Zoology; Panayiotis Pafilis, Associate Professor of Animal Diversity, Faculty of Biology, UOA, and President of Societas Hellenica Herpetologica; Anastasios Legakis, Professor of Animal Diversity, Faculty of Biology, UOA; Theophanis Constantinidis, Associate Professor of Systematic Botany, Faculty of Biology, UOA; as well as Chloe Adamopoulou (PhD), Ioannis Anastasiou (PhD), Pavlos Andriopoulos (PhD), Anna Chapman (PhD), Christos Georgiadis (PhD), Vangelis Koutsoukos, Kanella Radea (PhD), George Stavrakakis.
Thanks to: ANIMA, The Association for the Protection and Rehabitation of Wildlife, and its President, Maria Ganoti; the Hellenic Ornithological Society, and its President,
Panagiotis Latsoudis· the Goulandris Natural History Museum, and Maria Dimaki; Panagiotis Sabatakakis, Director of Water Resources at the Institute of Geology & Mineral Exploration, and Vice-President of the Association of Greek Geologists; Katerina Agorastou, Head of the Athens National Garden Department; Stamatis Zogaris (PhD), Senior Researcher at the Hellenic Centre for Maritime Research, Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters; George Papageorgiou, Kosta Papageorgiou, Christo Rousso and Dimitra Papageorgiou.

Curated by: Katia Arfara
Commissioned and Produced by: Onassis Culture/FFF

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Guided tours will take place on the following days and hours:
Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 May:
11:30 and 18:30 (in English)
12:45 and 19:45 (in Greek)

Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 May:
11:30 and 18:30 (in English)
12:45 and 19:45 (in Greek)

Wednesday 16 May:
20:00 (in Greek)

Guided tours in English with Robert Zhao Renhui and writer & dramaturg Joel Tan
Guided tours in Greek with visual artist Katerina Zavakou
Duration: 45 minutes 

Robert Zhao Renhui (Singapore) is a multidisciplinary artist with an artistic practice that addresses the relationship between humans and nature. In his work, he challenges accepted parameters of objectivity and scientific modes of classifications. Over the years, Zhao has appropriated codes and conventions of documentary photography and museum display to compose narratives. His work has been exhibited in numerous exhibitions including: Singapore International Festival of The Arts (2018); Jakarta Biennale (2017); 7th Moscow Biennale (2017); and 20th Sydney Biennale (2016). He received the National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award in 2010 and was a finalist for the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award for Emerging Asian Artists 2017.

Joel Tan is a Singapore playwright and performer based in London, where he is pursuing the Masters in Dramatic Writing at Drama Centre London, Central St. Martins. Recent productions of his plays include Tango (Pangdemonium, 2017), Cafe (The Twenty-Something Theatre Festival, 2016), Mosaic (The M1 Fringe Festival, 2015), and The Way We Go (Checkpoint Theatre, 2014). His plays have received acclaim for their range and complex insight on contemporary Singapore, and several are collected in Joel Tan: Plays Volume 1, published by Checkpoint Theatre, where he is an Associate Artist. 
He also creates performances with artists working in contemporary art, poetry, and dance. This most notably includes The Nature Museum (Singapore International Festival of the Arts, 2017), a museological performance tour created with visual artist Robert Zhao; and spoken word memoir You Are Here (2016), created with poet Pooja Nansi. In the UK, Joel also devised and performed in Hooking Up, a series of ethnographic performance lectures at the University of Nottingham. His non-fiction and critical essays have been published by Art Review Asia, POSKOD Singapore, Esquire Singapore, and The Substation Singapore.

sponsoring / partnerships

With the kind support of

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