October 6 – 9 | Open-air space of the City of Athens Arts Centre | Performance: Friday, October 7 at 20:00
An artistic video project, where the trees will be the lead actors during an evening walk at the City of Athens Arts Center at Parko Elefterias, is presented by the City of Athens through the City of Athens Culture, Sports and Youth Organization within the framework of its Culture is Athens project curated by the Office of Culture of the Mayor of Athens. The project will be presented daily, from October 6 to 9, between 19.00 and 21.00. In addition, on Friday, October 7, at 20:00, there will be a performance byFilippos Tsitsopoulos, the creator of People on trees.
Visual artist and performer Filippos Tsitsopouloshas created twenty texts and monologues to be interpreted that will be presented in forests and parks in the United Kingdom and the EU through video installations and live performances. His Athens performance will be in collaboration with art historian Katerina Koskina.
Filippos Tsitsopoulos explaining the rationale behind the video installation People on trees, pointed out:
“The projected faces, heads and bodies emerge to tell us a story. Modern culture is a garden culture. It defines itself as a perfect arrangement for human conditions. It constructs its own identity out of distrust of nature. In fact, it defines itself and nature through its endemic distrust of spontaneity and its longing for a better and necessarily artificial order.
Evidently, a good deal of social comment is tied up within the apparent simplicity of the gardening metaphor; however, the concept of a societal-scale gardener works on many levels, including the most literal — such as the human attempt to tame and transform wild nature into a resource that serves anthropocentric ends. ‘Weeds’ or ‘pests’ in a real garden may, according to the vagaries of definition, be any unwanted plants, animals, or insects. In each case, such threats of disorder pose a challenge to horticultural order; hence they must be managed or eliminated according to the policy of the gardeners in question.
Modern genocide, like modern culture in general, is a gardener’s job … All visions of society-as-garden define parts of the social habitat as human weeds. Like all other weeds, they must be segregated, contained, prevented from spreading … Stalin and Hitler’s victims … were killed in a dull, mechanical fashion with no human emotions — hatred included — to enliven it. They were killed because they did not fit, for one reason or another, the scheme of a perfect society … They were eliminated so that an objectively better human world — more efficient, more moral, more beautiful — could be established. A Communist world. Or a racially pure, Aryan world. In both cases, a harmonious world, conflict-free … orderly, and controlled (Bauman 1989:92).
This collaboration with Damien Rayne, and Serena Morton, helps us redefine what we lost for most of Western history.
The intense feelings of joy and sorrow, desire or hatred, hope and despair that were considered passions of the soul and that should be separated from affection and emotion will be presented through the characters projected on the trees. “
The footage from the projections on all trees that will be filmed in the parks and forests with 360 4K cameras, including the Parko Elefterias ones, will be edited and screened on four screens, a video representation of the Birnamwood Forest, as well as his live performance on the only tree currently preserved from the Shakespeare Forest, where the performer will perform live the last dramatic act of the play, and his opposition to the forest of prophecy that will kill him.
A dialogue on stage, screenings and performances that adapt and reconnect the text of the Shakespearean drama with the ecological catastrophe and the collapse of thought.
Tsitsopoulos creates works with masks made of perishable materials, attached to his face and body, made of food, fish, fruits, shrimps, and lobsters, bringing to mind a “shamanic” exorcism of the history of Western theatre, faces-landscapes, stuck and trapped, projection of feelings through trees, forests and gardens like the ones in Kensington and Battersea Park in London, from where the project began.