TheOdysseyNew technology, new media, new forms: for the fifth consecutive year, the Fast Forward Festival (FFF) presents us with the theatre of the future via polymorphic and hybrid performances by internationally celebrated artists. The Onassis Cultural Centre (OCC) also breaks out of the auditorium with site-specific performances in unexpected venues and in public spaces of Athens. Theatre is viewed as a hybrid form of art, a collage of techniques and media, closely bound to the technological advances and fast-paced socio-economic developments of our times, this time drawing inspiration from the study of the past: for two weeks, on May 2-16, the 5th Fast Forward Festival invites you to revisit your vies on theatre, art and archaeology.

The concept

The 5th Onassis Fast Forward Festival Athens focuses on archaeology as a discipline which engages not with continuation and immobility but with rifts, discontinuities and transformations on the boundary between scientific method and fiction. Bringing together art and science, it sets out to propose a non-linear approach to history through the multiple temporalities of the material. Artists working in Greece and internationally will explore the defining role Archaeology plays in forming national narratives and collective memory along with its dialectical relationship with cultural heritage.

shrineAccording to the curatorial note by Katia Arfara, Concept and Artistic Director of the Festival: “Through commissions, co-productions and site-specific interventions in public institutions and urban open spaces in Athens city centre, the 5th Onassis Fast Forward Festival explores the field of an expanded archaeology questioning scientific certainties and historical linearities. Involving fieldwork, forensic methodology, archival research, re-appropriations and re-enactments, the artists of the festival articulate a critical reflection on monuments, artifacts and relics […]. Commissioned artists from Tokyo, Singapore, St Petersburg, Stockholm, Athens, Berlin, Paris and Beirut excavate Athens’ ancient and recent past to reveal the temporal and spatial dimensions of material evidence and its multiple ‘truths’.”

The events of FFF

The festival features a large number of events, encompassing various art forms of visual and performing arts and establishing a dialogue between art and science. In “Park Fables”, taking place at the Pedion tou Areos public park on May 2-16, world-renowned Russian collective Chto Delat and the visual artist and musician Anton Kats create a create a fictional field between the real and the imaginary through a theatrical performance, a radio station, brief visual interventions and other parallel actions. The “Unconformities” visual arts project, hosted at the Acropolis Museum on May 2-16, distinguished French-Lebanese artists Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige delve into the stories and secrets of three historic cities -Athens, Beirut and Paris- using a mixed media installation, using natural geological materials, soil and ruins from the substratum of these cities.

UnconformitiesSacrifice”, taking place in multiple venues on May 5-6, brings five performance artists from Iceland for a multidimensional performance focusing on dance but using many different means and techniques examining the human condition and our need for rituals. The historic Athenian movie theatre “Irida” holds three screenings (May 11-13) of Kader Attia’s "The Body’s Legacies Pt 1", presented in in a European premiere, with a debate in English scheduled to follow the first show; the film forms part of trilogy by the prominent French-Algerian visual artist and filmmaker, addressing the issue of colonialism and the seizure of national treasures.

Walid Raad, one of the most influential artists of the contemporary scene, presents a hybrid spectacle, a fusion of an exhibition, a peripatetic performance and a lecture on art and culture as eternal victims of violent practices, in his performance “Les Louvres and/or Kicking the Dead” held on May 11-15 at the OCC Exhibition Hall. The acclaimed Brazilian collective Leonardo Moreira and Companhia Hiato draw inspiration from the Homeric epics in “The Odyssey”, a theatrical performance that challenges the fact-fiction dichotomy and the audience-actor polarity, hosted at the OCC main stage on May 15-16.These are but a few examples of the 5th Onassis Fast Forward Festival’s rich and diverse programme.

N.M.

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