ITYS

An Attempt: Contribution from Athens, Greece

Athens, 12 January 2008: An Attempt, selected image for the poster project ‘Land of Human Rights’

‘Land of Human Rights’ ARTISTIC ANALYSES AND VISIONS OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN EUROPE co-organized by art institutions from six countries: < rotor > association for contemporary art, Galerija ŠKUC, Ljubljana, g-mk | galerija miroslav kraljević, Zagreb, Trafó House of Contemporary Arts, Budapest, Faculty of Art and Design – JEPU, Ústí nad Labem, riesa efau / Motorenhalle, Dresden.

A group of people of varying nationalities attempt an evening of exchange. It is difficult to begin, given there has been no history of this in Athens. Given there is no climate for exchange. We gather at the Africana Pub in Athens to dance and drink together. Greeks, other Europeans, and Africans living in Athens from Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria meet awkwardly. We don’t know how to begin. Some speak English, others French, and some Greek. Naturally none of the Europeans know an African tongue. We gather in pockets- little groups of white or little groups of black. And only with the music, and good will, we slowly, shyly find moments to dance together. We don’t know the social codes. We’re not sure what one signal means to the other. All the issues of courtship, sexuality, and friendship- are they the same? We don’t want to give the wrong signals. But somehow the evening progresses. We all smile. We all try. And somehow, anyway, despite the artifical nature of the evening, we have fun. We are glad we came. And in one tiny step, a tenuous step- forged with effort and love- we have a beginning. We have set a precedent. This was our first attempt.

Text: Jennifer Nelson

Poster project by Alexandros Georgiou and Jennifer Nelson, Athens, Greece
in collaboration with ITYS, Institute for Contemporary Art and Thought, Athens

Photo: Paul Zografakis

The artists and ITYS would like to thank Kevin from the Africana pub for his kind hospitality and all the visitors to Africana Night for their participation.

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