Down to Earth [a selection of Greek video art]
Gioula Papadopoulou was born in Athens, Greece, in 1974. She studied Painting at Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA) and also holds an MA in Digital Arts (ASFA).
Her artistic practice focuses on video art. As an artist, she has presented her work in several group exhibitions, site-specific projects and video art festivals in Greece and abroad.
Also, she is a founding member, co-director & curator of Video Art Miden (Miden means “zero” in Greek), an independent organization for the exploration and promotion of video art, founded in 2005. Video Art Miden started as an international video art festival in Kalamata, Greece, and gradually became a platform for international videoart, creating a broad network of collaborations and exchanges with major international festivals and organizations all over the world (www.festivalmiden.gr).
As a curator of Video Art Miden, she has curated numerous screenings, exhibitions & events in Greece and has collaborated with various other festivals, artspaces & organizations around the world as a guest curator.
“Down to Earth” is a selection of Greek video art, featuring 7 contemporary artists: Anna Vasof, Alexandros Kaklamanos, Panos Mazarakis, Yiannis Kranidiotis, Alex Karantanas, Katerina Athanasopoulou and Vasilis Karvounis.
The title is borrowed from Anna Vasof’s video “Down to Earth”, which opens the program. The video creates several personal stories, using ordinary objects fixed on different pairs of shoes, in unusual and practically useless mechanisms, which serve as strong metaphors for our way of living. Alexandros Kaklamanos also creates a metaphor using a stage setting of everyday life in his city, an urban trade-mark site in Thessaloniki: the well-known statue of Alexander the Great as a rider is vanished in his video, and has been substituted by a living horse, perhaps as a reminder to step out of myth or history and, for once, praise the livings –every living creature on Earth. The next 3 works, by artists Panos Mazarakis, Yiannis Kranidiotis and Alex Karantanas, focus on digital features to criticize vanity, classical and modern aesthetics and the limits between the natural and the virtual world in a dystopian way, setting questions about our actual & virtual entity. Katerina Athanasopoulou and Vasilsis Karvounis also use digital tools, to talk about life and death: Katerina Athanasopoulou in a lyrical music video, where a patient turns into a deep-sea diver sinking in their own body, and Vasilis Karvounis in a humorous, surrealistic, post-modern animation synthesis, inspired by S. Freud and S.Beckett.
All videos “talk” about “life on earth” as we experience it daily -each one of us in their own personal way- balancing between existence & nothingness, beauty & vainness, rhythm & chaos, movement & stillness, life & death.
List of videos:
Anna Vasof (Greece/Austria) – Down to Earth, Greece-Austria 2014, 4.01
Alexandros Kaklamanos (Greece) – A Minor, Greece 2014, 2.11
Panos Mazarakism (Greece) – Virtual Vanity, Greece 2016, 1.21
Yiannis Kranidiotis (Greece) – Ichographs MdelP, Greece 2015,4.13
Alex Karantanas (Greece) – Untitled, Greece 2015-16, 6.38
Katerina Athanasopoulou (Greece) – Branches of Life, UK 2016, 4.14
Vasilis Karvounis (Greece) – Dancing with Thanatos, Greece 2015, 3.45
Anna Vasof is an architect and media artist. Born in 1985, she studied architecture at the University of Thessaly (2010) in Greece and Transmedia Art (2014) at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Since 2004 her videos and short movies have been presented in several festivals, some of them winning distinctions. She’s currently writing a Ph.D. thesis about an animation technique that she develops and at the same time working on designing and building innovative mechanisms for producing critical and narrative videos, actions and installations.
Title: Down to Earth, Greece-Austria 2014, 4.01
“Down to Earth” is a video installation, which consists of 28 pair of shoes, a video monitor and a 4 minute film. The film shows the movement of feet while wearing these shoes. On the shoes are mounted everyday objects such as mousetraps, umbrellas and drillers which transform them in performative objects and change their function. In this way many different stories and rythms are created.
Alexandros Kaklamanos was born in Athens in 1982. He graduated from the German School of Athens in 1999, from the Economic De¬partment of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 2005 and from Athens School of Fine Arts with distinction in 2011. In 2010 he received the scholarship of State Scholarships Foundation to study at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. In September 2012 he represented Greece in England at the “World Event of Young Artists” in the context of the Cultural Olympiad in Nottingham. He was then selected for the MOTOR OIL HELLAS scholarship, with which he studied at the MFA department of Sint Joost Academy in Den Bosch, the Netherlands. He lives and works in Greece and has presented his work in solo and group exhibitions in Greece and abroad.
Title: A Minor, Greece 2014, 2.11
“A Minor” is part of a trilogy targeting the most important monuments of Thessaloniki city (Greece). The heroes and the symbols are being removed with the intention to set questions for the present and transfer the notion of the hero to the common citizen. “A Minor” is targeting the statue of Great Alexander. The proud rider is gone and the living horse is left alone. A father and his daughter are cleaning themselves on the fountain. When they are finished with their ‘katharsis’ they leave the image and the fountain closes. The visitors are going away and the horse stays there waiting.
Panos Mazarakis was born in Athens in 1989 He studied sociology. He attended photocourses at the Athens School of Fine Arts about theory of photography and he studied video and photography in Focus school of art. Panos Mazarakis has participated in a series of Workshops by artists and photographers from Greece and abroad, including Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin and Depression Era collective. His work has been presented in various venues and publications in Europe and Asia.
Title: Virtual Vanity, Greece 2016, 1.21
The work ” Virtual vanity” focuses on the void in communication. The tone, the outdated dial up tone, with the call (invocation) at the beginning and the digital noise immediately afterwards, transports us speedily to the direct effortless acceptance (the ‘like”) and then to the “logging of” of the communication with the distinct strident tone of the end of the programme or the end of the function of the heart. The immediate reporting of the tone is completed by the sense of the void, the desertation of the image. The narcissism of the hand, or rather the image of the hand, continues to have one sole receiver: Narcissus.
Yiannis Kranidiotis is new media artist and musician whose work focuses on creating spaces and experiences by combining sound and light. By isolating minimal concepts, like the movement of a pendulum, new perspectives are created which reveal an inseparable relationship between science and art. This requires a cross-disciplinary work with music, sound art, visual arts, electronics, physics and coding. His work has been presented in many festivals and exhibitions like Made in NY Media Center (New York), Lumen Prize Online Gallery, ISEA 2015 (Vancouver), MADATAC 06 (Madrid), LUNDA Gallery (St. Petersburg, Russia), kuS Gallery (Heerlen, The Netherlands), Athens Digital Arts Festival 2015, Onassis Cultural Center (Athens). He has also composed music for short films and theatre.
He holds a BS in Physics from University of Patras and M.Sc. in Optics from Essex University. He lives and works in Athens.
Title: Ichographs MdelP, Greece 2015,4.13
Ichographs MdelP (Madonna del Prato) is a sound and picture artwork that explores the relationships between colors and frequencies. The famous painting of Raffaello “Madonna del Prato” (Madonna of the Meadow) is decomposed into 10,0000 cubic particles each carrying a frequency relevant to its color (HSV hue value). As we move around, we hear the sound of all these colors/frequency generator particles fly in the space towards the canvas to compose the painting. Warm colors (like red) are higher frequencies and cold colors (like blue) are lower frequencies.
Ichographs is a method of creating soundscapes using visual stimulus and the color-frequency transformation. The painting is transformed into the audio domain and back to visual producing a contemporary amalgamation. As we pass through the various color/frequency layers, we investigate the connections between classical aesthetics and the digital practice, revealing a latent version of the old masterpiece. The final artwork is a contemporary amalgamation of the old painting and the modern abstraction methods, a harmonious dialog between the old and the new, the analog and the digital.
Alex Karantanas is a video artist and an architecture student. His videos explore the relation between physical and digital, the power of informational technologies and the social construction of reality. His work has been featured mostly in self-organised exhibitions and events, as well as in the Athens Digital Arts Festival. He currently lives and works in Athens.
Title: Untitled, Greece 2015-16, 6.38
The video sequence is characterised by a paradigm shift. It is about a new entity, born in the data territory, which observes the limits between the natural and the virtual world, the relation between mortality and timeless states of being, the repetition of spectacles and the practice of digital surveillance.
Katerina Athanasopoulou is a Greek artist living in London, who creates animated films for the cinema screen and the gallery space. She is particularly interested in the place where Animation and Architecture meet: through the use of 3D animation, she builds digital spaces, which the viewer traverses as imagined documentaries. Combining live action and digital media, she creates richly layered worlds within short films and animated installations.
Title: Branches of Life, UK 2016, 4.14
A woman under sedation for a lung operation sinks inside her own unconscious. Made for Body Of Songs and Andreya Triana’s Branches Of Life (bodyofsongs.co.uk). Body of Songs brings together major musicians and clinicians to create a remarkable collection of songs, inspired by the body’s organs. Andrea Triana chose the Lungs and was inspired by observing a patient undergoing a bronchoscopy, hoping to breathe in a wide open space again following her impending operation.
Once we started collaborating, I observed a lung operation which took my breath away; I was profoundly moved and fascinated by the team of doctors, anaesthetists and nurses in the process of saving that patient’s life. Inspired by this, and listening closely to Andreya’s lyrics and notes, I decided to turn the patient into a deep-sea diver, sinking in her own body and swimming through the lungs. The hospital comes to life and we discover the Branches of Life, the bronchi.
I used CGI to create the world of the film, aiming to journey through the clinical and the bodily, floating between life and death. The starting point is at that dreamy beginning of anaesthesia, where the mind drifts helplessly into the darkness and hopes to see the light once again.
Vasilis Karvounis was born in 1982. Studies: 2011-12 Fine Arts Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 2012-17 BA School of Fine Arts of Athens. He is working with visual arts using mostly video art through various practices. Apart from filming his work, one of his usual practices is composing or meddling with already prepared material with which he has been familiarized online, in order to create new narrative suggestions. He deals with the concepts of ecstasy, illusion and internal disunity. He has an interest for divisive situations of the mind as well as the relations and the contrasts between the conscious and the unconscious, playing with the limits between the rational and the irrational. He also works with the concepts of suggestion and auto-suggestion; he is interested in the imposition of ideas or emotions through external and internal factors as situations of shaping and changing consciences. In his work there are influences from and references to the fields of psychology, philosophy and, more widely, art. Pieces of his work have been displayed in exhibitions and international festivals in Argentina, Chile, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, the Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom and USA.
Title: Dancing with Thanatos, Greece 2015, 3.45
The work “Dancing with Thanatos” has main references on Freud and his theory on urges towards life and death, as well as Beckett’s “The endgame”.
S. Freud has defined two theories for human instincts which accept that the human psych is basically vibrating by the “Urge towards life”, which is what we call self-preservation instinct and by Libido, which has a tendency towards coherence and unity. Later on, in his work “Beyond the Pleasure Principle’’ in 1920, he combined the sense of love by adding as a balance the “Urge towards death” or self-destruction urge, the so-called death instinct, which operates to the opposite direction and overturns connections and destroys things. The work “Dancing with Thanatos” has main references on Freud and his theory on urges towards life and death, as well as Beckett’s “The endgame”. The purpose of his work is to highlight the paradox which governs the mental life through the instinct urges, by creating dualities between life and death with a sarcastic mood. The video consists of material which was gathered online, the image by realistic figures and by cartoons where they play music and dance while the text is an extract from the work “The endgame” by Beckett, combining it with music and transforming it into a song.