Under These Words (Solidarity Athens 2016)
HD, color, 4:3, stereo, English & Greek spoken, English subtitled, BE, 2017, 50’
Three actors go on a journey through Athens. They seek to listen to fellow-citizens engaged in different organisations of the grassroots solidarity movement (a hospital, a pharmacy, a kitchen, a school). In the course of many conversations, the social imaginary of the citizens unfolds as a living continuity.
I went to Athens with the idea of staging the story of Oresteia – the part in which furies become the guardians of a newly established justice – with theater actors and citizens involved in the solidarity movement. In the encounter with the Athinians, the idea of superposing an allegorical fiction of the ancient Greek tragedy upon the social present of Athens 2016 crumbled. The actors fell silent and withdrew into the role of listeners to the practical consciousness of the citizens, or what is being lived through organizing a society parallel to the Greek state. Suddenly, a gap opened between the received interpretaton of ‘crisis’ and ‘solidarity’ and the practical experience of these words. While a representative portrait of a social movement seemed inadequate, something else entered into focus, a particular quality of social experience and relationships that couldn’t be described in formal concepts of worldview and ideology. Perhaps the closest term for this is Raymond Williams’ ‘structures of feeling’: a kind of feeling and thinking that is social and material, thoughts as felt and feelings as thought from the known complexities and uncertainties, forms of confusion and unease.
April 5, 2017
Preview at Green Park, Athens (GR)
April 26, 2017
Avant-première at Beursschouwburg, Brussels (BE)