Anafi turns in­cu­ba­tor for art and ideas

Phe­nom­e­non project sees is­land used as a vis­ual terra incog­nita to be re­dis­cov­ered by artists, thinkers, sci­en­tists

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY MAR­GARITA POURNARA

A lit­tle over a decade ago, a Greek and an Ital­ian, two suc­cess­ful sci­en­tists in their fields who shared a pas­sion for con­tem­po­rary art, set­tled per­ma­nently in Paris. Even­tu­ally, the pair came up with the idea of us­ing a Greek is­land as a vis­ual terra incog­nita that could be re­dis­cov­ered by artists. The project, ti­tled Phe­nom­e­non, which in­cludes a res­i­dency with per­for­mances, lec­tures, video screen­ings and other events, as well as an ex­hi­bi­tion on the is­land and a pub­li­ca­tion, launched in 2015, dur­ing what was for Greece a crit­i­cal ref­er­en­dum pe­riod, on Anafi, an is­land at the edge of the Cy­clades group, and its co-founders de­cided to hold it ev­ery two years there­after.

Jor­dan Kereni­dis is head re­searcher for quan­tum com­put­ers at the Cen­tre Na­tional de la Recherche Sci­en­tifique. Pier­gior­gio Pepe is di­rec­tor of ethics and com­pli­ance at Ab­bVie, a global bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany, and a lec­turer at Sciences Po and INSEAD. They spoke re­cently to Kathimerini about Phe­nom­e­non, the lat­est edi­tion of which gets un­der way on Anafi at the be­gin­ning of July.

From Paris

“Be­fore 2006, our ex­pe­ri­ence with con­tem­po­rary art was lim­ited to see­ing ex­hi­bi­tions at big mu­se­ums or gal­leries in New York and Lon­don,” say the col­lec­tors. “How­ever, when we re­lo­cated to Paris, we de­cided to get more deeply in­volved. After a year of re­search and ob­serv­ing the work of artists at Parisian gal­leries, we thought of tak­ing it fur­ther and bought the first piece of our col­lec­tion, ‘The World, Jus­ti­fied,’ by De­tan­ico Lain. We trav­eled fre­quently to ex­hi­bi­tions and bi­en­ni­als, and to­day the col­lec­tion has grown to in­clude fa­cil­i­ties and videos of artists’ per­for­mances from around the world.

“We’re con­tin­u­ously try­ing to rein­vent the role of the art col­lec­tor, not just as buy­ers but as an ac­tive and pro­duc­tive part of the art com­mu­nity. Our aim is to pro­vide the con­di­tions nec­es­sary for artists to be able to con­tinue pro­duc­ing their craft, be­cause in the end that is what mat­ters. It’s nec­es­sary to cul­ti­vate a re­la­tion­ship of mu­tual ap­pre­ci­a­tion and trust with the artist as well as mak­ing the ef­fort to cre­ate cre­ative con­tact and sup­port.

“On a more per­sonal level, after 10 years of in­volve­ment with con­tem­po­rary art, we have yet to cease be­ing amazed at how much a work can af­fect the way we look at the world and what we de­cide to pay at­ten­tion to. From mun­dane ev­ery­day acts, such as look­ing for the moon dur­ing the day or at­tempt­ing to an­a­lyze a story start­ing from a mere foot­note, art can give us a means of es­cape from nor­malcy and a dom­i­nant nar­ra­tive. Ap­pre­ci­at­ing art can and must be a pro­duc­tive ex­pe­ri­ence in free­dom.”

Why did they choose Anafi though? “The Phe­nom­e­non pro­gram is our ef­fort to cre­ate a dif­fer­ent sort of ex­pe­ri­ence which could also cre­ate a di­a­logue be­tween se­lect artists and res- idents of the is­land and all who par­tic­i­pate in the pro­gram. The fact that it’s hap­pen­ing in Greece, and par­tic­u­larly on this Cy­cladic is­land, plays a key role in how this ex­change of opin­ions takes place and how new, and un­ex­pected ideas can be hatched.”

Ac­cord­ing to the project’s web­site (www.phe­nom­e­non.fr), “Phe­nom­e­non 2 will look at how his­to­ries, col­lec­tive and per­sonal, are so­cially con­structed and con­stantly rene­go­ti­ated,” adding that the small is­land “is a prime ex­am­ple of cul­tural strat­i­fi­ca­tion, where the Apollo tem­ple qui­etly serves as the foun­da­tion of an ortho­dox monastery, while the his­tory of the ex­iles that were held in Anafi has pro­gram is our ef­fort to cre­ate a dif­fer­ent sort of ex­pe­ri­ence which could also cre­ate a di­a­logue be­tween se­lect artists and res­i­dents of the is­land and all who par­tic­i­pate in the pro­gram. The fact that it’s hap­pen­ing in Greece, and par­tic­u­larly on this Cy­cladic is­land, plays a key role in how this ex­change of opin­ions takes place and how new, and un­ex­pected ideas can be hatched.’ silently co­hab­ited with the is­land’s lo­cal his­tory.” It also raises the ques­tions “What are the forces at play that ac­tu­al­ize the vis­i­ble and the dis­cur­sive and con­struct his­tor­i­cal for­ma­tions? How can his­tory be rein­vented and the master nar­ra­tive de­nat­u­ral­ized?”

In­vited par­tic­i­pants

The in­vited par­tic­i­pants for Phe­nom­e­non 2 are artists Ig­nasi Aballi, Dora Gar­cia, Mario Gar­cia Tor­res, Chrysan­thi Koumi­anaki, Julien Ned­elec and Christodou­los Panayiotou, cu­ra­tor Gre­gory Castera, me­dia the­o­rist Paul Feigelfeld, chore­og­ra­pher/dancer Le­nio Kak­lea and an­thro­pol­o­gist Mar­garet Kenna.

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