On October 29th, ARCAthens held an event at the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation as part of our Fall 2019 Residency Program—creating an opportunity for ARCAthens Fellows Tomashi Jackson and Miranda Lash to share and engage with the Athenian community through presentations and a conversation based on questions fielded from the audience.
Above is a full-length video of the event. A full transcript is available here.
Read on for some highlights…
Over 90 people attended the event which took place at the newly-opened Goulandris museum situated in Pangrati, Athens. As they entered the auditorium, each person was given a program along with a blank index card and pencil to write down questions they might have for the Fellows after the presentations.
The evening started with a welcome and an introduction from ARCAthens Executive Director Aristides Logothetis. Regarding the second ARCAthens Residency Program in relation to recent developments in Athens, Aristides remarked:
“Last time I spoke to some of you at the Acropolis Museum, I shared with you a vision that is alive in many people here in Athens—as well as in the Greek diaspora—that Greece and Athens ought to be a global center for creation, scholarship, and academia. And ARCAthens aims to provide a positive contribution to an already energized, pulsing city. I’m thrilled to see that in 2019, this idea of residencies exists with many others. There are several new programs active in Athens, and we have already begun dialogues and collaborations with them. I look forward to more residencies opening up, supporting artists, enriching dialogue, and collaborating in the great city. “
ARCAthens Curatorial Fellow Miranda Lash was first to deliver her presentation where she demonstrated how the focus of much of her work is about enabling engagement between institution and community—often with a vision to effect change and eventually lead to progress:
ARCAthens Visual Art Fellow Tomashi Jackson spoke about her recent projects and research on voting rights, housing, transportation, and education in the United States. In relation to her experience in Athens, she shared:
“Spending time…inside the civic and religious centers of ancient Athens, the Agora, and the Acropolis, I cannot help but be overwhelmed by the grand beauty of it all. The extraordinary ecosystem of assembly and participation within the site of the Athenian direct democracy experiment. I was reminded of the mythic democracy that we’re taught to revere in the United States in rhetoric and the glaring contradictory experiences of perversions of that myth.”
After the two presentations, questions were collected from the audience for the Fellows to answer. ARCAthens Assistant Director & Program Manager Iris Plaitakis joined Miranda and Tomashi on stage to facilitate the Q & A.
The topics of the questions ranged from the Fellows’ thoughts on social and political issues they’d come across in Athens to advice for young artists and curators.
In response to a question about political issues in Athens that may have come to the Fellows’ attention during their time in Athens, Tomashi offered:
“I’ve been relating alot to narratives of relearning; what you all have been telling us about….this distinctly Greek history inside of Europe of enduring all of these invasions and surviving as a people. And then this economic crisis that the people of Greece have been enduring. I’ve been thinking a lot
about the economic crisis—the Great Recession in the United States—and how we haven’t actually recovered. One of our early conversations with Iris—while we were walking around somewhere—she was talking about how this country is still reeling from the effects of what happened: ‘It’s actually not over, unlike the United States’. And I was like well it depends on what neighborhoods you’re from. It depends on who you are in the United States…”
When asked about advice as a curator, Miranda shared:
“My advice to a young curator is when you’re generating the ideas, don’t be afraid to think a bit more expansively about what’s possible, and propose it. All they can say is ‘No’. But it’s a mistake to…take a passive role and say, ‘Okay they want five things, I’m going to find five things. That’s the end.’ Sometimes you’d be surprised—when you bring enough passion to an idea—how much more flexibility there is.”
The event concluded with an invitation for the audience and participants to enter the reception hall and enjoy some wine while taking the opportunity to meet and continue discussions.
Special Thanks to