Remembering Athens: 17 November 2015-1973-2015

Orchard Learning Resource Centre (OLRC)
Wednesday 9 March 2016 (17:00-18:30)

Eleftheria Ioannidou:

  • Critical and creative encounters

Speaker: Philip Hager

On 17 November 2015, the 42nd anniversary of the occupation of the Athens polytechnic (polytechneio), the Onassis Cultural Centre (OCC), a major institution in the Athenian scene that hosts and commissions work from both national and international artists, staged a piece curated by the Argentinian artist Lola Arias and entitled Audition for a Demonstration. This was part of a series of events staged in OCC called Transitions 3. Central Europe, a ‘geopolitical festival’, which was the third instalment in a wider cycle of festivals called Transitions. All these events explored the ways in which collective traumas are performed in specific parts of the world: first the Balkans, then Latin America and, finally so far, central Europe. Performances, seminars, workshops, talks, installations, exhibitions and film showings were invited in the OCC to rethink memory, history and the archive. Responding to this framework, Audition for a Demonstration was an invitation to think collectively and to imagine possible responses to the question: ‘If you could turn the clock back, which historical events would you like to be at and what role would you play there?’ Starting from the Audition for a Demonstration and examining the tensions between the various contexts with which the performance event engaged, I am interested in unpacking some methodological questions related to the cultural politics of and temporal and spatial frictions between events, narratives and acts of remembrance. In the current moment of crisis, where slogans from the 1973 occupation have been re-inscribed in the streets of Athens marking contemporary performances of dissent, and the spectre of history is haunting Greece and Europe as memory, prophecy and unfinished business, I want to ask: what concerns, possibilities, fears and hopes does a practice of remembering perform?

Philip Hager is visiting lecturer at the University of Winchester, Kingston University and Canterbury Christ Church University. His work revolves around the politics of performance and the production of space as well as the history of political performances in Greece and the UK and more generally in European contexts. He has published on the cultural politics of modern Greek theatre, radical performances (such as the movement of the squares and the Occupy movement) and performances of Europeanness. He is co-editor of Performances of Capitalism Crises and Resistance: Inside/Outside Europe (Palgrave, 2015) and co-convenor of the ‘Inside/Outside Europe’ research network and the Performance, Identity, Community working group at TaPRA. He has also co-curated the online lexicon ‘Acts of Voting’ commissioned by the Contemporary Theatre Review website.

Venue: SR1, Orchard Learning Resource Centre, Selly Oak

All welcome, no booking required.