Yeah, so, surprise surprise I haven’t blogged every day from Athens. Hey ho… I have better things to do, such as visiting the Acropolis
snapping more Athenian graffiti (oooh they do love their graffiti….)
and hanging out with the artists participating in the festival.
A few notes.
I climbed the Acropolis with Netalie Braun, a filmmaker and writer from Tel Aviv. Tomorrow night she is presenting an excerpt from her documentary Metamorphosis, which you can read about here. I’m really looking forward to that. She’s a very inspiring artist and thinker.
I’ve also been spending a lot of time with Theodoros Chiotis, who coincidentally – or not – writes for Hand + Star. He has translated loads of my work into Greek and will be presenting that with me on Saturday night. Lots of weird connections actually. We were both at Oxford University at the same time (I was an undergraduate; he was doing a doctorate) and for about a year were actually neighbours. We also have similar tastes in poetry (esp. Sinclair), music (Bat for Lashes, the XX!) and clothes. I had a lovely dinner of rabbit with him and his lovely partner on Saturday, followed by an ice cream in Syntagma Square. Fantastic. Theo is also a very interesting poet. I will point you towards Codeswitching which you can download as a PDF.
Hmmm. What else? The protests continue, sporadically. On Sunday the Greek government announced a programme of huge cuts in public spending, a prerequisite of the EU/IMF bailout. There is a General Strike tomorrow, and I intend to go along – I’ve been invited to join the protests by the filmmaker Yiannis Isidorou.
Factoid: Yiannis lived in Brixton for 3 months. South London la la la!
Tonight I attended the presentation of two films by into the pill, an artists’ collective of which Yiannis is a member – along with Lina Theodorou (another of the festival participants). The first piece was a short film that sensitively captured the sounds of a city. Lots of still camera shots, very beautifully textured, and thoughtful. The second film was simply brilliant: a kind of spoof documentary about three office buildings in Athens, which drew on politics, numerology, genetics and downright craziness to construct fictional conspiracy theories. It was both very funny and, in the current climate, thought-provoking; faintly reminiscent of the films of Adam Curtis as well as the psychogeography-inflected work of Mythogeography and Align (which I’ve mentioned before). Also, the tone was similar in parts to Found in Translation. Below, Curtis then FIT.
Both films were followed by short but passionate debates in Greek. It was held in Dasein, the festival venue. Friendly and hippish bar with dark wood everywhere, Heineken on tap and a dartboard. Tonight was also the launch of an brilliant exhibition of photography by Efthymis Kosemund Sanidis. I bumped into him later, when I was sneaking in a post-midnight espresso and chocolate crepe in Exarchia Square.
In other news, I have started a new piece of poetry (that’s what I’m here for, I guess…).
At the current time of writing, it’s called: