Have you ever come across the endless gardens of the Agricultural University of Athens? Do the visual arts have a role to play in academic life? Can you imagine Athens as a ‘green’ city? The Onassis Cultural Centre in a project curated by locus athens aims to reintroduce the Agricultural University to Athenians, inviting them to discover one of the country’s first academic institutions as a relevant and necessary oasis within the urban landscape. Soil, food, seeds, eco-systems will be some of the vital bi-products of research into the primary materials on hand. Academic knowledge, technological methodologies, agricultural practices will be understood through the prism of contemporary art.
Geometries will be a dense three-month cycle of sowing and reaping, activating different layers and locations of academic life, and an open invitation for a walk through the University’s gardens. An exhibition, with new productions, contemporary and historical works, will provide the framework for a public programme with seven Sundays dedicated to our environment: a procession honoring urban rivers, a rowing competition and an open-air cinema with a film programme dedicated to the issues raised by climate change. The exhibition unfolds in the Agricultural Museum, in the University’s central building and the extensive gardens of the Agricultural University of Athens.
The public programme is divided into 7 themes – salt, fire, gardens, seeds, water, earth and air – within which numerous events will take place: workshops, cooking sessions, food, talks, recordings, performances, walks and readings amongst other things. Throughout the public programme Athenians will be invited to discover known and lesser known aspects of the University – the vineyard, the orchard, the botanical gardens, whilst becoming living participants in the University’s constantly evolving history, from Ottoman times till now. Visitors will have the chance to learn alternative farming practices, discover hands on the philosophy of building from earth, meditate on the history of stones, discover new ways of communing food, gain insights into the history of man’s own evolution set off by the agricultural revolution, focus on climate change as well as be immersed in many more vital facets of our natural world.
At the exhibition opening, on Tuesday 27 March, the Turkish artist Cevdet Erek will perform Davul, a large drum with many names, common from the Southeastern Europe to the Middle East, known variably as a daouli (Greek), tupan (Bulgarian), dahol (Kurdish), or tabl (Arabic), to cite a few. Erek plays the drum with his own unusual method, utilizing a large soft mallet alongside various smaller implements to beat and distort the skin of the drum. Cevdet Erek was born in Istanbul in 1974, where he would initially study Architecture. Erek has also been the longtime drummer with Turkish experimental music stalwarts, Nekropsi. Erek’s installations and performances have been presented far and wide and he represented Turkey in the 57th Biennale of Venice.
(At 20:30 & 21:30 | Duration: 20 min | Sideri amphitheatre)
Photo: Kiki Papadopoulou