International Summit Synapse 1 at New Rex of the National Theatre of Greece. 'Session II: Rethinking Institutions': (from left to right) Leo Panitch, Maria Hlavajova, Adam Szymczyk, Amalia Zepou (moderator), Hilary Wainwright, Emily Pethick, Latitudes (Max Andrews & Mariana Cánepa Luna) © Eva Galatsanou.
The above picture by Eva Galatsanou was taken during 'Session II: Rethinking Institutions' one of the Summit
panels that launched OMONOIA, the Athens Biennale 2015–2017. Latitudes participated in this panel on November 18, as one of the speakers. Our current Cover Story on Latitudes' home page features this event at the National Theatre of Greece, New Rex.
Below some more photos of that day and the working group meetings that took place at the former Bageion Hotel (18 Omonoia Square) on November 19, 2015.
Omonoia Square. On the left the Bageion Hotel (with the orange banner), HQ of the Athens Biennial 2015–2017.
Omonoia Square from the first floor of the Bageion Hotel.
Artistic Director Massimiliano Mollona, and Athens Biennale directors Xenia Kalpaktsoglou (left) and Poka-Yio (right) welcome guests to the second day of the Summit "Synapse 1: Introducing a laboratory for production post".
After the welcoming words, guests joined closed-door working groups sessions around the building on 'Cooperativism', 'Commons & Urban Welfare', 'Alternative Currencies' and 'Solidarity Networks'.
10am–1pm: Latitudes joined the 'Commons & Urban Welfare' working group which had representatives of Avtonomi Akadimia (GR), Omada Metavasis / Transition (GR), Omikron Project (GR), Sarantaporo (GR), Votanikos Kipos Squat (GR), Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network (TBC) (GR), Green Park (TBC) (GR), Luigi Coppola (Parco Commune dei Frutti Minori, IT), Sylvia de Fanti (Teatro Valle, IT) and Federica Giardini.
2–5pm: During the Open Assembly, artist, activist and Berlin-based curator Margarita Tsomou feeds back to the audience what was discussed during the 'Solidarity Networks' working group which had representatives from Refugees Welcome (GR), Solidarity4all (GR), HYLE[Ύλη]matter (GR), Notara Squat (TBC) (GR), The Other Human (TBC) (GR), Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko (GR), European Village (GR), Ivor Stodolsky (Perpetuum Mobile) (NO).
Potent voices like that of Tsomou raised questions about a proposed 'open' biennale format and the possible (in)adequacy of visual arts to host activism. "I do my activism in the street" – she exclaimed. (Tsomou has recently interviewed Adam Szymczyk (artistic director of documenta 14) for DIE ZEIT – download here.)
Other speakers were more direct in their pragmatism and asked the forum "What do we have? Do we have a hammer? Do we have chairs?" to which Mollona and Poka-Yio responded the biennial has the Bageion Hotel building and in-kind sponsorship for production, everything else has to be decided and invented collectively for the next two years.
End of the Open Assembly at the Bageion Hotel.
Stairs of the Bageion Hotel.