Athens-Beijing | Harris Kondosphyris
The interactive installation Athens-Beijing by Harris Kondosphyris was exhibited for the first time in 2004 at CHEAPART in Athens. During the same year, the two-piece installation is presented at the 26th Sao Paulo Biennale as Greece's national participation with National Commissioner, historian and art critic Irini Savvani and in 2005, at the 2nd International Beijing Biennale.
Haris Kondosphyris, in collaboration with Greek-German musician Vassilis Kokkas, Greek-American poet Panagiotis Bosnakis and Greek-Austrian biologist Orestis Davias, creates common meeting points for all of us strangers- different and similar- who remain foreigners and emigrants carrying the baggage of our cultural identities, superstitions and viewpoints.
Athens-Beijing consists of two complementing but visually contrasting installations:
The Migrant’s Ark
“The Migrant’s Ark” is the facade of a Chinese pagoda, an architectural landscape which stands at the height of the spectator's eye. Enhancing the sensory perception of the work are smells released into the surrounding space, and the sound of electromagnetic music.
The Heart of Darkness
In “The Heart of Darkness”, the outline of a standing crowd of immigrants is illustrated as life-sized figures which shadow their reflection. The mirror-like surface reflects the image of the viewer as a part of the crowd, “forcing” his/her participation and interaction with the multiethnic global community.
Athens of the early 21st century is a but a temporary passage in the lives of its immigrant heroes. This is the result of the new distribution, the new reality, whereby illegal migration is spread across the world, exile trips, adventures of freedom misinterpreted in which entire worlds are abandoned, left to collapse. The face of dispersion is everywhere.
Athens is a place of transformation, where people of all backgrounds and origins gather to build new cultural harmony from chaos. It is impressive how migrates work with minimal means achieving the maximum: maximum travel, maximum inflow, maximum development.
The distance Athens - Beijing is routed through in two instances within the CHEAPART Gallery space at 25 A.Metaxa street in Exarchia. The first is an emblematic concrete installation that draws from the infinate life experiences of a Chinese emigrant, releasing scents of the memorable past. The Migrant's Ark resembles a traditional Chinese house, the beauty of which we enjoy through a faint, mirrored reflection that splashes on our feet like the burst of a rushing wave, the wave of Migration.
We move in parallel with the Ark. Embroidered words emerge against the padded walls. Distinctive scents combine with electromagnetic sounds. The second route leads us to the Heart of Darkness. The music becomes clear as we enter through the small passage. Opposite of the narrow-shaped corridor, we face a crowd of standing immigrants positioned in a familiar and unfamiliar context, on a central Athenian sidewalk.
Clipped, stainless steel sheets form contour figures, profiles of migrants that exhume of diversity, wandering within the urban landscape of Athens.
This voyage takes place with Panayiotis Bosnakis, Orestis Davias and Vassilis Kokkas: a poet, a botanist and a musician, who engage on the interaction of senses.
Zorbas & Zorbas, laser design
Elixir, Spices & Herbs
Opening: Monday, March 1, 20:30
Duration: 1 - 31.3.2004
Hours: 14:00 – 21:00 daily
106 81 Athens, Greece