Highlights

26 June 2020

UrbanDig and Ohi Pezoumi Arts Collective from Greece…

ICAF’s Eugene van Erven introduces UrbanDig and Ohi Pezoumi Arts Collective from Greece… 

I know for a fact that François introduced me to Giorgos Sachinis. I met him at an UrbanDig event in a popular neighbourhood in Athens on Sunday November 4, 2018. It was held in a sidewalk café with residents from the area engaging in an animated discussion about regeneration, prompted by a solo performance of Giorgos. Upon my return from Greece, Jasmina and Anamaria were easily convinced that we should include UrbanDig - which is really a project of the Ohi Pezoumi Arts Collective - in the programme of ICAF-8. We also managed to enthuse Pleun Peters of Theater Rotterdam, a mainstream cultural institution. She was very keen to act as the local facilitator for an UrbanDig in the Rotterdam area of ‘Cool Zuid’, smack in the middle of the city. And then Covid-19 happened…

In the weeks after, Giorgos was one of the first to respond positively to our invitation to create audiovisual material for our website. He first sent us a 9-minute film about ‘Persephone’, a site-specific dance project the collective created in Dourgouti, an immigrant housing neighborhood.

And then, at the end of April, Giorgos surprised us once more with a 30-minute video he, Eirini, Pleun, Katerina and Rea had made with their smartphones and laptops during lockdown. In it, they documented their attempt to play together, from their respective homes, the DEMOS game they were supposed to have introduced to residents in Rotterdam. 

PERSEPHONE
During 100 days of community and artistic activities spread over two years, OHI PEZOUMI worked on an UrbanDig with the Dourgouti community to co-explore and articulate the stories of the past, the present and their aspirations and challenges for the future. These stories were the basis of various cultural outputs co-created by various groups formed during the project: a digital app, a festival, research papers and essays, a website, conferences, maps, articles, musical libretti, documentary, etc. The project concluded with a promenade performance in the streets and buildings of the neighborhood. At one of the stops they performed ‘Persephone’. (Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and the goddess of the underworld and the annual rebirth of nature during spring.) The theme of the dance piece is inspired by the existence of a parking lot of the Red Cross (in the period right after WWII) on the exact same spot where the promenade version of ‘Persephone’ took place. It was also inspired by the oral history from residents relating to the big concentration of garages repairing vehicles from 1940 (Nazi vehicles) until today, although most of those disappeared during the crisis, as did so many other small businesses in Athens. Finally, the piece is inspired by the way the immigrants of Armenia and Smyrna back in 1922 were creating improvised huts in Dourgouti, using all sorts of scrap they could find (including metal scrap). Their stories were collected through interviews with their descendants by the "Dourgouti Oral History Group" that was formed parallel to the UrbanDig project: https://www.urbandigproject.org/single-post/2017/04/25/Video-Dance-Persephone

 

 

We are very pleased to announce that on June 3rd we will organize a live streaming session with our colleagues from Roadside …

Nada Sabet is an Egyptian theatre director. She co-founded Noon Creative Enterprise in 2010-2011. …

We first discovered that community theatre existed in China while participating in the Performance Studies International conference …

We met Amparo through the Residencies in Utrecht (RiU) programme, an initiative to connect inspiring international artists …

It is with deep sadness that we learned that our good friend, colleague, photographer and community arts organizer Kevin Ryan passed away on 22 April 2020. …

The IMPACT group, which was also going to be present at ICAF-8 with several activities, invites you to participate in an online virtual Learning Exchange …