CULTURE

The battle against cynicism

Barbara Papadopoulou?s madness has a nice touch to it. Having lived in Berlin for the past few years, the artist visited Athens, her hometown, in December last year and scattered some of her ?art seeds? in six areas around the city. Her tool of creativity? Nothing more than grass seeds.

?Six words have grown so far: ?aplohera? (open-handed), ?des? (look) and ?boro? (I can) in Kerameikos, ?anasaino? (I?m breathing) and ?fos? (light) in Ilion, and ?hairomai? (I?m glad) in Kypseli. I?m still waiting for ?tora? (now) in Avdi Square in Kerameikos, ?ormi? (impulse), ?rogmi? (crack) and ?thavma? (miracle) in Exarchia, ?afova? (without fear) in Aghios Panteleimonas Square, ?mazi? (together) at Aghia Irini on Aiolou Street, and ?edo? (here) in Victoria Square,? Papadopoulou told Kathimerini.

Written in seeds and growing out of the soil, the above are part of ?Buried Words,? a project which began in Berlin. ?The momentum which developed out of the daily experience in Berlin convinced me that it would be interesting to see the project grow elsewhere as well. In the next two years I?m planning to travel around the globe, spreading words in different languages. My route, which I call the ?rain road,? will take me from Ireland to Brazil, with in-between stops in monsoon lands. The sky will rain and the earth will bear words. My vision is that of a super-text which will emerge from the soil,? said the artist.

According to the artist, grass seeds have become a means of discovery and activity in urban space, ?a simple vehicle which is moving at the time of seeding just as it is when you discover the words coming out of the earth. It?s a sort of long-term visual arts performance, where instead of the artist taking the lead role, he or she becomes the catalyst for the realization of a series of small miracles.?

Coming back to Greece for the holiday season, Papadopoulou was afraid of the general depression that people described.

?Nevertheless, I got in touch with people who are not feeling sorry for themselves, who are out there and coming up with simple ways of changing their lives as well as city life, by discovering different ways of achieving collective action. Despite the bleak mood and the sadness which stems from the fact that the city has been abandoned, there is a sort of momentum which may give rise to things we haven?t even thought of. I believe in simplicity and innocence, and I also believe in the prospect of catharsis. I believe in the kind of prospect which will spring out of the current crisis,? she said. ?The biggest bet will be the battle against cynicism.?