Daily report

Report by Carlos Carlos Manuel De Matos Moura da Costa (Visões Uteis)


And we are back in Athens where PACE began, in a preparatory meeting, in 2012. One year after still a very strong presence of the police in the streets of the city, still a strike (in the metro) affecting daily life, still a Golden Dawn murder (another immigrant), still demonstrations in Syntagma Square

Saturday, 19th January

Our host is Iangos Andreadis, who explains that 70% of the theatre professionals are out of the social security, and many of the artists working do it without a professional frame, in spite of  their rich CVs and long hours of daily artistic work.

And the first guest is an economist from the Pantheon University, N. Leandros, who previously worked in the Greek National Bank. First he makes us a very clear summary of the financial crisis since 2008, but also relating it with other issues such as global warming and the local circumstances in Greece (corruption, tax evasion etc). He states that Greece is still escaping of chaos just thanks to traditional networks (family and diaspora) and believes in the need for a third way out of this situation (this meaning the banks would have to accept some degree of losses) by changing the present power relations (more democracy and less markets) and by a better distribution of the resources.

In the afternoon our guest is Dimitris Vergetis, who brings an insight on the emotional side of the crisis (pain, horror, memory). He calls our attention to the “sub-humans” (as they were considered by some 20th century ideologies), a way of setting the future of man upon the definition of a kind of human being rejected by the system. And he also tries to establish a strong relation between the closing of humanities departments in universities and the necessary changes in the democratic system. And our first guest is then joined by a second one, the journalist XXXXX, who makes strong accusations against the “5 pimps” controlling the Greek media, by daily intimidating the readers, specially the elderly who can not escape. Our guests then find relations between the cuts in health care and arts, but underlining the several cases of dailly resistance to this terrible situation, that can be found all over Greece.

In the evening we all go to see a theatre performance called “With their back in the garbage” also dealing with the subject of the crisis. In the last scene its said:  To remain human we must insurrect. To insurrect we must realize we are human.

Sunday, 20th January

In the morning, our host lead us to a fascinating visit to the Acropole, always indicating in a very precise way how the architecture reflets the same social structure of the drama (theatre, religion and politics).

In the afternoon the Greek partners propose an exercise and discussion around a local pedagogical and artistic project, connecting Greek mythology with bulimia. After the exercises, performed by Greek actors, we all search for links between the myth of the cyclops, the bulimia disease and the behaviour of the financial system. Finally we also seek to understand what distinguishes the Greeks from the other European partners, when considering a particular relation to classical culture. And this ends to provoke a discussion, between the Italian participants, regarding their own relation to Italian performance heritage.

In the evening we have the luck to be at a performance by the singer Nena Venetsanou, an important name for the Greek popular culture in the last decades.

Monday, 21st January

In the morning we have a brainstorm about new ways to develop  topics connected with European identity – such us human rights, ecology, prejudice, memory  or urbanism - in an eventual new network built around the result of the European interaction caused by the first PACE meeting in Paris.

In the afternoon we visit the poet Nanos Valaoritis in a fascinating closure of our PACE meeting. Valaoratis – a key name in the Greek poetry – takes us in a voyage across the 20th century, finding amazing connections between subjects like the national debt, globalization, self trust, language and corruption. And we all leave Athens - already thinking of the next meeting in Dublin -  with the sound of his words:

We built this house ourselves but others will inhabit it.
Others will climb the stairs to make the beds.
Others will light the candles in the northern rooms

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