Shell-Ter is a microarchitecture project inspired by the shape of seashells. The idea stems from the current housing crisis in Europe. What if we all became homeless? Dystopian thinking here is a space of refuge for human psychology, finding in dystopia a libertarian alternative by thinking in terms of nomadism.
Zoe Panagiota (aka Betty) Nigianni
Happening, 2016. Participant's research, including improvised full recorded interview with first generation Albanian immigrants to Greece, images, and thematic text. The research was conducted for the workshop, "Logics of Worlds", inspired by Alain Badiou's work and organised by architect Filippos Oraiopoulos, at Athens School of Fine Art (ASFA), Master of Visual Arts (Marios Spiliopoulos, Giorgios Xiropaides), December 2016.
Adopting the political approach of Badiou's "L' Organisation Politique", applying direct intervention for societal problems, including immigration and labour, I used play as a method to facilitate improvised discussions. People share and respond more freely when participating in structured, but playful interactions, such as those a game involves. Albanians speak three languages, Albanian, Greek and Italian, so I wasn't able to translate parts of the conversation. Avlona is an English now obsolete name for Vlore, an Albanian seaport and former ancient Greek colony Aulon. Albanians came as refugees in Greece initially in the 1990s, after the fall of communism in their home country.
Notably, the workshop was slightly interrupted by a performance art student, who brought a live hen to slaughter in the studio. This can be taken as a metaphor for scapegoating (and re-assigning the gender of male) refugees.
For this exposition, I include an essay by Pantelis Boukalas, in Kyriakos Katzourakis, O "Dromos Pros Ti Dysi" (The Way to the West), 2001, as well as Kyriakos Katzourakis' introduction in English.
The exposition also aims to juxtapose the experimental and the conceptual in the fine arts; and to make the 'invisible' visible.
I don't have any personal or other connections with Albania; I have never visited. This was a project to research and document in an artistic manner the refugee and immigration crisis in my native Greece, but also to voice my opinions on this topic from the perspective of the native.
Albania is a non-EU country; Greece, my native (and my parents' and grandparents' native), has been in the EU since 1981. I have also been a UK national, by naturalisation, since 2011.
Paradoxically, the outcome of this project was that "I" (or a a fictitious son/daughter of mine) have been since 2018 on UK police databases as a disabled 19 to 21 year-old transgender Italian/Albanian - maybe married to a Swedish neo-Nazi. My serious concerns about international organised criminal activity, were reported and confirmed by the Greek and Swedish authorities.
The Greek Golden Dawn was convicted as a criminal organisation in October 2020. They invented the 'concept' of the 'Real Greek', dependent on any Greek's political orientation. Now they're losing their sixty seven (67) appeals.
The Agenda Group
The Agenda Group is a research group based at KMD, connecting artistic practices "with an agenda". The group enables crossover methods rather than media specificity, allowing space for different participants. "An agenda" is here understood as an aspect of socially engaged art practices. This relates to people, narratives and history alike and is about our shared values and contribution to society as artists. The engagement relates to issues outside of the artistic context and investigates how these issues might be mediated and moderated with
The Agenda Group is open for all kinds of artistic practices, but the focus of the discussions will be on artistic practice "as crucial to both individual and societal change and development" (KMD
Strategic Plan). The relationality between art and society is never as simple as it seems and these reflections involves the thinking of intensity in addition to formats, translation and displacement.
In this sense the agenda of an artistic project is crucial to the understanding of its implications.
The Agenda Group is a pragmatic platform to connect various members of staff at KMD (artistic-researchers, post-docs, PhD’s and maybe even MA-students). The main purpose is to meet
regularly, presenting and discussing the artistic research of each of the group members. An internal critical agenda.
Research group initiator: Professor Frans Jacobi