September 13, 2020 - Onassis Culture - Onassis Stegi x Ars Electronica Festival’s International “Online Gardens”
September 13, 2020

Onassis Culture

Kyriaki Goni, A hidden, dense network of roots from the multimedia installation Data Garden, 2020. Drawing, graphite on paper, 120 x 160 cm.

Onassis Stegi x Ars Electronica Festival’s International “Online Gardens”
Presenting its own “Stories of Athens”
September 9–20, 2020

Onassis Stegi
107 Syngrou Avenue
117 45 Athens
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This September Ars Electronica is starting on a journey through “Kepler’s Gardens”. The name of this year’s festival is a metaphor for the organizational principle of the festival in times of global lockdown: a festival that will not dive into the Internet and disappear there, but will emerge from the Internet and manifest itself in many places around the world.
Departing from Linz, Austria, “real” and digital events will take place in different locations, organized by numerous partners from Ars Electronica’s large international network that has grown over 40 years.

Onassis Stegi is working once more with the most important digital media festival in Europe, creating its own online garden, under the overarching title "Stories of Athens" in two parts : Data Garden, a multimedia installation by Kyriaki Goni, and the results of "HackAthens: What Comes After?" 2020, a series of five works in the form of film, digital games, sound drama and mobile apps. While having a very different point of departure, both projects explore the local vs. the global, the endemic vs. the permanent, algorithms and rituals, data, ecologies and bodies.

Data Garden by artist Kyriaki Goni raises the issue of connecting personal data with the protection of the natural and cultural environment, linking digital rights with climate justice. What are the data ecologies of tomorrow? Can we develop models of symbiosis between humans-plants and data? What are the data-secrets hidden in the DNA of a plant that grows hidden on the slopes of the Acropolis? What is the future of our connected bodies in post-pandemic Athens? Can we reinvent our human relationships, bodily contacts, emotions, jobs, sex-life, and dreams in a world heavily mediated by technologies and constantly regulated by psycho-political constellations? In contrast with the conception of romantic gardens, Data Garden becomes a symbiotic locus of humans, data and non-humans, memory and resistance. Cities are reconceived as assemblages of actors equally seeking the right to our memories.

"HackAthens" is an annual arts marathon on issues concerning the city of Athens organized by the Onassis Foundation, which in 2020 dealt with the city of Athens in the wake of the pandemic. HackAthens 2020 sought to explore post-Covid-19 pandemic Athens: how are bodies reconfigured in an era where digital communications mediate all forms of activity, where we struggle to connect with our touch, and where the boundaries between personal and professional spaces are blurred? What kind of cities will we experience when our realities are both expanded and reduced through technology? Are our daily micro-routines a form of resistance, or the ultimate moment of compliance? Five new digital works are to be presented, by the artists Christina Chrysanthopoulou and Olga Chatzifoti, Vasileia Dereli and Marialena Vyzaki, Lotus Eaters, Paris Selinas, and Evita Skourleti, all of whom took part in the “HackAthens 2020: What Comes After?” project. Videos, digital apps, binaural recording techniques, 3D stereo sound, VR games, and poetry awaken the imagination, stimulate the senses, and invite us to reflect upon our lives in a city, i.e. ATHENS, that changes perhaps faster and more unexpectedly than ever.

In parallel with the “Stories of Athens” exhibition, and to coincide with the official start of the international arts residency program of the European STUDIOTOPIA project, Onassis Stegi is also contributing to the Ars Electronica Festival with two discussions involving the artists and scientists supported by this project. The first discussion, titled “STUDIOTOPIA – Creative Question Challenge 1”, is being led by arts company “Hypecomf” and marine biologist Markos Digenis, while the second, titled “STUDIOTOPIA – Creative Question Challenge 2”, is being headed by artist-run space “3 137” alongside physicist and chemist Dr. Audrey-Flore Ngomsik.

Program Curation: Christos Carras, Prodromos Tsiavos
Production Coordination: Heracles Papatheodorou
STUDIOTOPIA activities initiative: Dora Vougiouka
Production: Ioanna Margariti, Katerina Varda
Participating Artists: Vasileia Dereli and Marialena Vyzaki, Kyriaki Goni, Lotus Eaters, Paris Selinas, Evita Skourleti, Christina Chrysanthopoulou, Olga Chatzifoti
Produced by: Onassis Stegi

Onassis Culture
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