As one of the artists exhibiting at the Greek pavilion at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Angelos Frantzis presents two 12-minute films screening simultaneously along with a sound installation, transporting the urban landscape of the city of Athens to the heart of Venice.
The message of our national participation at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, taking place August 29th to November 25th, is pretty emphatic. And not just because the title, “Made in Athens”, clearly states the origins of the work exhibited at the Greek pavilion, but because it opens the door to one of the most contradictory cities the world: credit crunch Athens.
According to the official press release of the Greek National participation, curated by Panos Dragonas and Anna Skiada, “Conditions are being created in Athens to expand the links between architecture and the city, both during the economic downturn, but also after it has passed; furthermore conditions are being created to bring to the forefront new ways of viewing the role of architecture, removed from the standards of well-being of the previous decade. The Greek participation presents this idiosyncratic Athenian urbanism within two themes: The first theme concerns local urban tradition and, specifically, the evolution of the Athenian apartment building or polykatoikia from 1950 to the present day, examining the relationships between anonymous and eponymous architecture and the process of producing an urban landscape through repetition of a basic unit. The second theme concerns the fragmentation of and disputes over Athenian public space, focusing on counterbalancing and / or complementary urban forces. Urban decay is presented alongside attempts being made to reutilise central areas; while urban renewal programmes are aided by alternative networks and activist initiatives.”
Among the participants, filmmaker Angelos Frantzis (“A Dog’s Dream”, “Into the Woods”) temporarily put the preproduction of his new feature “Virus” on hold to shoot two 12min films under the general title “Got to be Real 1+2”, designed to screen simultaneously in order to highlight the contradictions of the contemporary Athenian landscape, as per the general direction of this year’s Greek National participation.
“Got to Be Real 1+2 is a playful documentation of contradiction with no intentions of drawing any heavy-handed conclusions,” he says. “It’s about discovering a new visual proposition that could contain and combine contradictions in a fluent artistic gesture. It engages the core of the “Made in Athens” theme, by exploring new Athenian urbanity and the relationship between the public and the private domain through a typical apartment building. 15 fixed interior shots, like 15 windows facing an imaginary lightwell, create an internal narrative rhythm depending on the actions they depict. Middle class apartments, medical practices, offices, studios or apartment building entrances are transformed into miniature stages with each inhabitant starring in their own absurdist play, as they recreate the tragedy of everyday life in contemporary Athens. Their actions, some more consequential than others, mirror the contradictions of the public domain, invading their privacy like an uninvited guest. The real and the imaginary coexist on equal terms and everyday life mingles with dreams, thoughts and desires. Nothing seems final and anything is possible.”
Angelos Frantzis will also present a visual installation entitled “A Strange Day” curated with Nikos Triantafyllou, in search of the sounds that define the identity of contemporary Athens. “We started out recording everything we found interesting with a very documentary-like approach, like gathering the basic elements of the city’s urban identity. But as we recorded real-life sounds, our minds were conjuring up sounds of a very different nature. So we started wondering: what would Syntagma Square be like without the traffic? What if there was a giant playground outside the Parliament building? What if Panepistimiou Avenue was a river? What if Omonia Square was suddenly taken over by animals? “A Strange Day” isn’t really your typical downtown Athens soundscape. What it does is transform public space by adding new layers of sound and building new geographies that are constantly changing. It’s the audio narrative of a strange day where everything is transformed into something else.”
Click here to visit the official website of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.