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500 young artists speak of coexistence

16 October 2011 / 15:10:42  GRReporter
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25 years after the Biennale of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean, Thessaloniki is "revisiting" culture. In 1986 the "Vasiliko" theatre was completely renovated and resumed its activities, though improvised. Warehouses at the port opened, the city expanded to the sea, and music filled the squares.

Today, the 15th Biennale of Young people from Europe and the Mediterranean is an event that is attracting young people to Thessaloniki - artists and audiences – turning every night known and lesser-known places into a cradle of creative activity. Revival of the Biennale was not an easy task, but it holds significant symbolism.

"The message is that the change in municipal government after 25 years brings a new flair to culture as well. The Biennale is precisely what was needed to mark this change. Our task was, with little funds ,to bring an audience and money to the city, to make the event important and to focus on artists," said the Deputy Mayor for Cultural issues, Spiros Pengas. The organization was taken on by the General Secretariat of New Generation and the International Association for the Biennale of young artists from Europe and the Mediterranean, in collaboration with the Municipality of Thessaloniki, the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, the "Aristotle" University of Thessaloniki and the port of Thessaloniki.

"We found that with little money and hard work we can achieve, through the Biennale, a significant result for the cultural profile of the city, with an equally significant financial gain," said the secretary general of New Generation, Yiannos Livanos.

500 young artists aged between 18 and 30 from 26 different countries are invited to respond by the 6th of November to the question "Coexistence? / Symbiosis", - which was set as the theme of the Biennale by the Head of the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Thessaloniki, Giorgos Papakostas, architect of the Biennale of 1986.

At the same time they will have the opportunity to discuss once again the concept of coexistence and to reject the isolation of social groups such as immigrants, disabled people and others. "The return of the Biennale was a challenge both for the organizers and for the citizens who feel satisfied because their city has decided to invest in youth work and to present a cultural event, scattered in different locations rather than concentrated in one place. It also sends the message that in this city there are not only people who create, but also people who enjoy these creations," says the Artistic Director of thr 15th Biennale Christos Savidis.

The main and the parallel programme includes over 20 events that will be held in various places, occupying 10,000 square metres of exhibition area, and thus avoiding the typical, static exhibition presentation, and will offer a new, different interpretation of the works of young creators.

Youth work is presented through visual arts, applied arts, architecture, design, fashion, activities in public places and gastronomy. Some of the events will be held at the port, others on "Aristotelous" Square near Valaoritou and also in the triangle between the White Tower – the City Hall – the Museums.

A cultural complex in a former hotel of ill repute

One of the most interesting projects of the 15th Biennale of young artists is one that will be presented at the hotel "Ariston" which has not been opened for 6 years and which was one of the hotels with a bad reputation in the region of Vardaris.

Tulsa Misirloglou, an expert in the history of art, "took" the hotel from its owner and turned it into a cultural complex.

Many artists come into the hotel not as customers but as artists and place their works and installations in the rooms. Furthermore, on the 4th floor every night at 9 p.m. a group of youngsters from Greece, Turkey, Germany and other countries presents an original interactive performance entitled: "Hunt-a mind game?". Spectators are invited to disclose the identity of a female tenant, by the trails that she has left. Throughout the evening, on the ground floor, concerts, dance performances, lectures and presentations are also held.

"It is very important that a former hotel of bad repute, in a slightly shady area is included in the Biennale and the residents enjoy the events and they don’t want them to stop", said Mr. Misirloglou.


Young chefs cook at the port.

The curtain of the 15th Biennale of young artists from Europe and the Mediterranean will be lowered on 6th November, but on this day another major event will be organized by the Municipality of Thessaloniki - the Food Festival.

From 4th to 6th November at the Port, outstanding young chefs from the Mediterranean countries will prepare delicious dishes, they will talk about the cuisine of their home country, they will experiment with ingredients which they will find in Thessaloniki. The event is part of the gastronomic section of the Biennale, and on this occasion the municipality has inaugurated the Festival of gastronomy. The goal is for it to become a tradition for the city. The festival will continue until 6th December.

The main objectives of the event are not only seeking the gastronomic identity of the town, about which so much has been written and spoken, but also the creative participation of professionals and amateurs who work in similar fields, as well as the rise of Thessaloniki as a leading gourmet destination for Greek and foreign visitors.


Tags: 15th Biennale of the young people from Europe and the Mediterranean Thessaloniki FOOD FESTIVAL
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