to the future public


Written and first published by Minbusplato



Today is the last day of documenta 14 and rather than retracing my steps over what happened between Athens and Kassel since April, instead I want to look to the future, specifically to an ongoing project that I first encountered in the Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA) and then again in an exhibition organized in collaboration with the Kunsthochschule Kassel (KMMN).

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Back in June while visiting ASFA I noticed several posters for a talk by artist and activist Gregory Scholette and regretted not arriving a few days earlier. On each of these posters there appeared an image of the Trojan Horse which seemed to provocatively challenge the documenta 14 symbol of the owl as an alternative and more subversive model for art and activism in Greece.


When I returned for a second visit to Kassel earlier this month, the Athenian friends I was staying with took me to an exhibition that one of them (Eleni Zervou) was participating in.


When I walked in I immediately recognized the same Trojan Horse image from Athens.

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I was then introduced to James Simbouras who was the organizer of the Scholette talk back in Athens as part of a project called To the Future Public under the aegis of the artist cooperative Contemporary Art Showcase Athens (C.A.S.A).


The exhibition in Kassel, organized in association with KMMN, not only reactivated Scholette’ talk from June (with copies of his book as part of the installation), but also, amongst others, a project that took place in Omonoia Square as part of last year’s Athens Biennale called Acts of Engagement.



Included in this project and documented in Kassel was Eleni Zervou’s Free Araf in which the artist collected wishes in the form of drawings in Omonoia Square made by a variety of people, young and old. Many children used drawing to illustrate their wishes on flying lanterns which were released from the square.


Finding Athens in Kassel in this way, as a hub for the reactivation of past projects and looking forward to a future public, was a timely reminder that so much of what happened at documenta 14 is unfinished. There is at least one artist still residing in Athens – Rick Lowe – as his project Victoria Square Project continues until April and perhaps beyond. As documenta 14 ends, one way for us to move forward is to continue to look to Athens and projects that are continuing, such as the Victoria Square Project and C.A.S.A’s To the Future Public. When Lucy R. Lippard in her article ‘Trojan Horses: Activist Art and Power’, described a form of art ‘based in subversion on the one hand and empowerment on the other’, part of that empowerment must come in the form of our own attention. If we only look to Athens within the temporal and institutional frameworks of documenta 14, then what we can learn is seriously restricted and limited. For my own part, I am determined to continue learning from and with Athens over the coming years, both as a Classicist and in writing Minus Plato, within the legacies of documenta 14 and beyond.


Written and first published by Minbusplato



To The Future Public Exhibition at KMMN Kassel

To The Future Public exhibition in Kassel, organized in association with KMMN, reactivates the projects that took place in the context of To The Future Public program and introduces them to a broader public. The curatorial format developed for the exhibition comprises of audiovisual screenings and interactive maps of Athens, on which material is presented embedded in the city, together with information about the social framework surrounding the works, information behind the spaces and locations in which the program took place, and collaborating groups.

A vehicle for multiple narratives - the material presented ranges from recorded interviews, documentation of public performances, documentation of workshops, talks, and text from To The Future Public program. With the principle of art based in subversion on the one hand and empowerment on the other, the exhibition is developed as a collective artwork and an activistic tool of engagement. 

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Η έκθεση TO THE FUTURE PUBLIC εγκαινιάζεται στο Kassel στις 5 Σεπτεμβρίου 2017, στο πλαίσιο του KMMN platform,  στο Πανεπιστήμιο Kunsthochschule Kassel. 

Το KMMN είναι μια αυτόνομη πλατφόρμα και εκθεσιακός χώρος για ανεξάρτητες δράσεις, διεθνείς συναντήσεις και ανταλλαγές. Ένα σημείο συνάντησης ανάμεσα σε φοιτητές, λέκτορες και επισκέπτες στο Kassel, που τρέχει παράλληλα με τις 100 μέρες της documenta 14.

Η μετα-εκθεσιακή παρουσίαση του προγράμματος TO THE FUTURE PUBLIC αποτελείται από έναν διαδραστικό χάρτη, στο οποίο παρουσιάζεται υλικό από τα projects συμμετοχής. Ένα όχημα πολλαπλών αφηγήσεων, με εστίαση στον δημόσιο χώρο και στις δυναμικές σχέσεις έργου - κοινού και τοπικών πλαισίων, με συνεντεύξεις, καταγραφές δράσεων, εργαστηρίων ομιλιών και κείμενα.

Από την σκοπιά της Αθήνας, το πρόγραμμα TO THE FUTURE PUBLIC που ξεκίνησε τον Απρίλιο του 2017, επιχειρεί, έξω από ιδρυματικές οριοθετήσεις, να συμβάλει στην ενίσχυση της συνεργασίας, του διαλόγου και στην ανταλλαγής εμπειριών ανάμεσα σε εικαστικούς, ακτιβιστές και πρωτοβουλίες με τοπικές κοινότητες της Αθήνας, και ομάδες που δραστηριοποιούνται στα πεδία του δημόσιου χώρου και της αλληλέγγυας οικονομίας, σε ένα ανοιχτό εργαστήριο που συνδέει θεωρία και πράξη.  Ένα συμμετοχικό έργο τέχνης, και ένα ακτιβιστικό εργαλείο εμπλοκής, που επιχειρεί να στρέψει την προσοχή με άμεσο τρόπο προς τα περιβάλλοντα, τους προβληματισμούς και τις σχέσεις που καθορίζουν και ενημερώνουν τις τοπικές εικαστικές πρακτικές.

Μέσα από παρεμβάσεις, performance, εφήμερες εγκαταστάσεις, ερευνητικά projects, και εργαστήρια, η περιοχή του κέντρου της Αθήνας αντιμετωπίζεται ως ένα πεδίο που βιώνεται και επιτελείται - ένα πλέγμα συγκρούσεων, αμφισβητήσεων και καινοτομικών συνθέσεων.

Η εκθεσιακή παρουσίαση οργανώνεται αυτόνομα και χωρίς budget.



The research project ACTIONS AGAINST BORDERS #1 BREAKING POINT is a combination of research periods and performative actions with the goal to investigate the present meaning of "borders".

Establishing a base at the municipal project space at Varvakeios market in the city center, the artist conducted a week-long research in the public sphere across several locations that included occupied and self-organised spaces that provide hospitality to refugees and other services, down-town areas and toutistic locations. The athenean leg of the project concluded with a public performance at Varvakeios, on August 17th.

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The Performative Fest of the Commons on Avdi Square

The Performative Fest of the Commons on Avdi Square

For one evening, through the organization of a collective festival, with participatory performances and other group actions, the public space of Avdi Square is transformed into a place of coexistance, co-creation and celebration, through the participation of the neigborhood residents.

Confronting the divisions that characterise the central neigborhood of Metaksourgeio, an area swinging rapidly between the forces of gentrification and de-investment, inertia and tolerance, we take an active role as artists in relation to the character of the space, so as to support the right of collective use and formulation by the neigborhood residents themselves, with open acess beyond segregations based on sex, place of origin and income. 

Through symbolic and tactical acts, we attempt to support the creation of new temporary points of coverlap between artistic and social action - spaces where the lines of division between creators and public are blurred, with an understanding of art in the public sphere as a subvertive call for participation under the economic, institutional and political radar.

The Performative Fest of the Commons took place as an intervention on the public installation for Documenta 14 - Sanka Ivecovic's Monument to Revolution, a work that "reimagines Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Monument to Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht".

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