Medie Megas, update

Posted on September 26, 2016

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medie1

What has changed since the last interview 2 years ago?

last interview here

In 2013 I started working on an international educational and artistic program (Unlimited Access) for dance and disability at the Onassis Cultural Foundation. I worked with a mixed group of people with and without physical and learning disabilities. This workshop opened up new horizons in my work as a teacher and choreographer, and lead to a performance with the title ‘Sweet Abyss’. In her seminal text ʽMoving Across differenceʼ Ann Cooper Albright puts into question the movements that we consider as dance and the bodies that can constitute a dancer, that is in my own words.  Paraphrasing Ann Cooper Albright I  put into question the  minds that can constitute dancersʼ minds, maintaining that it is not so much our perception of disability that we need to shift, as our perception of dance itself.  During the process of this project, many interesting fields of artistic research emerged for me. One of these had to do with my fascination with the participants’ use of language. Unusual ways of forming sentences, free association and expressions of great poetic quality. I saw a revealing play with meaning and with the construction of language.

Also since the last interview, I participated in a very interesting project, in which I was a faculty member of the Temporary Academy of Arts (TAA) in Peristeri, Athens. This was an artistic project and at the same time a proposition for an alternative professional arts education, curated by Elpida Karamba. It was a relational (or participatory) artistic project and an experiment in education. I taught performance, through classes ironically framed as, for example, ‘choreography from a sitting position’.  The academy ran for two weeks, with a schedule of compulsory and elective courses. The project was addressed to residents of Peristeri, (a large, yet underdeveloped municipality of Athens) and was funded by NEON organisation. Students graduated formally and got their diplomas upon completion of their studies. But for us the focus was on what this project created within the community, what people it brought together, what shifts it created in their everyday life and their perception of art.

Through this project, I came into contact with a group of visual artists, art theorists and anthropologists, with whom I have continued to collaborate. We run exciting workshops, as, for example the one ‘on Love’ (or EROS) as a culturally specific and socially constructed phenomenon  and I have worked with them on some of their individual works or projects too. Some of these workshops took place at Twixtlab-‘a space for art, anthropology and the everyday’, ran by two visual artists and an anthropologist. Their aim is to connect art with everyday life, so we investigate different ways and forms to structure our projects and interventions with the public.

In my personal work, as a choreographer, during the last years I have developed an improvisational dance form called ‘transformation’. This emerged during the rehearsals for a performance I created in 2012, referring to recent Greek history, since the end of the military coup in 1974.  The ‘transformation’ method was further developed with Dr. Kate Adams (dramaturge and theatre maker and theorist) during the creation of “Transforming me, a bilingual solo”. This is a solo I myself perform, which premiered at MIR festival and since then has been presented at the  Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, Kalamata International Dance festival and Danae Festival, Milan. My wish is for this piece to continue to be performed both in Greece and abroad for some years, because I am fascinated by the way it changes and matures with me.

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Do you consider your work Greek?

Yes, I do. In the sense that it springs from the experience of living and being an artist in Greece at this specific moment in time, since 2008 when I started choreographing that is. ʽPoetic Asylumʼ was basically a performance tautology, it was about the process of creating one’s first ‘work of art’, a contemplation on the process I was engaging in at the time.’The Guard Dogʼ dealt with the world of the media in an allegorical way,  ‘Metapolitefsi’ and ‘Transforming me’ explored the embodied experience of social transformation in Greeceʼs recent history, the ʽGreekʼ perception of time and the mechanisms of personal change.

Having said all this, a crucial element of my identity is that I am half Greek and half English- I have a double nationality and am bilingual. This offers me a dual perspective and specials grounds on which I receive and perform my experience. It offers a certain distance to my gaze. I am both as an insider and outsider.

For example, during the 80s especially, when  my generation were children, we felt the political conflicts in our skin through endless family and friendly rows and heated debates. My family experience was quite different, and so I entered into the role of the observer, rather than engage passionately in the situation like others. It has always been like that for me; I exist in an ‘in-between’ state which can sometimes be a bridge or a void. This ‘in-between’ state is the core of the solo work I described earlier, ‘Transforming me’,  which deals with transitions, processes of bridging, belonging and not, living an existence of an ongoing in-between.

 

Is there a Greek dance scene, do you recognise specific characteristics?

At the present moment, I feel that there is a great diversity in Greek dance- mirroring the diverse influences and experiences we have from abroad and our personal incentives and stimuli. The fact is that there is a lot of interesting work happening and being created here, by a number of exciting artists and choreographers.

But in my opinion this is not sufficient to create a Greek dance scene, if at the same time we are not creating discourse through self reflection. The volume of choreographic works is not systematically recorded, not discussed, not reflected upon fully within a frame of critical thinking. Hence, the works remain unconnected, discrete events. If we engaged in discourse, first of all there would be more connection between the artists, even simply through discussions. It is clear that the work itself will also benefit in value from artistic and critical discourse. There is abundant material in the Greek dance landscape: choreographers, dancers, ideas, movement languages but somehow all this doesn’t seem to find a way to articulate itself in order to establish its presence. There is chaotic state, which can be productive, creating interesting circumstances, but it is also problematic. For me, the diversity of Greek dance is both negative and positive: there is a lot of different material but we are missing something that we link all of it together.

Thank you.

http://mediemegas.gr/

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