CULTURE

A photography exhibit right in the middle of the capital

Former streets turned into pedestrian zones in the middle of the city may present major problems both for traffic and the residents of an area, but the conversion of Dionysiou Areopagitou into a pedestrian walkway has admittedly upgraded the architectural beauty of the surroundings while providing one of the most pleasing strolls in town. To make this stroll more interesting, the Unification of Ancient Sites of Athens SA has established a series of cultural activities that will take place in the course of the construction of Athens’s historical center, the most recent project of which is the Omonia Square transformation. A photography exhibit on view for a few more days at the Dionysiou Aeropagitou pedestrian street, just off the new entrance of the ancient theater of Dionysos, marks the beginning of these cultural events. Curated by Nadia Argyropoulou, the exhibit addresses the tension between public and private space – a frequent theme in contemporary art – and comprises photographs taken by students of the Athens School of Fine Arts, therefore giving young artists the chance to have their work shown to a broad public. For a public exhibit, it is appropriate that the medium chosen is photography. But it is quite surprising to know that despite photography’s long tradition, it is a medium that students at the Athens School of Fine Arts did not have a chance to work with until two years ago, when a photography workshop conducted under artist Manolis Baboussis began to operate and was integrated in the school’s curriculum. The Athens School of Fine Arts is known in the artistic community for a rather conservative, academic leaning. But thanks to some members of staff, things are beginning to change. A two-year postgraduate program on digital art that artist and professor at the school Giorgos Harvalias began roughly three years ago, is a bright exception that will hopefully spur further changes. The program offers students an excellent opportunity to study the theory and aesthetics of audiovisual and media art, but also to practice video art, experimental film and more recent art forms such as computer art and art on the Web. It gets too involved in subplots such as the crisis between the man and his wife, the problems with their child, the lover, the inspectors’ involvement in small-town life, the abrupt changes brought upon the Greek periphery by the arrival of economic refugees, and more, all of which makes the film a bit tiring.