CULTURE

Art project focuses on rundown Broadway Arcade

The Broadway Arcade is located on the corner of Patission and Aghiou Meletiou streets in the capital?s run-down Patissia district.

A temple of modern Greek architecture, it left its own mark on the history of Athens in the 1960s and 70s. In its heyday, it was home to a cinema, a theater and a number of shops, including a boutique that dressed the well-heeled ladies of this once moderately affluent part of the city.

But the Broadway Arcade went to seed in the wake of the gradual decline of the entire length of Patission and the mass departure of the middle classes from the surrounding neighborhoods.

Down at heel and boasting no more than a handful of dusty shops and two theaters, the melancholy setting of the Broadway Arcade was chosen last June by the Goethe Institute in Athens, in collaboration with the Bauhaus University of Weimar, for the ?Exchange? project, which is aimed at breathing new life into the arcade, as well as the old cinema.

Greek and foreign artists who focus on the concept of public space were invited to create in situ works based on the idea of bartering, a practice that has gained some popularity in Greece with the economic crisis.

The works created by the artists have been photographed and videoed and are on display at the Goethe Institute through November 10.

Speaking at the October 8 opening of the show, Danica Dakic, director of the Bauhaus University?s postgraduate course of public art, hailed the ?unusual? setting of the Broadway Arcade and said that the ?Exchange? project has a political character.

?The backdrop of the project is the euro crisis we are experiencing today, which is pushing mainly the Southern European states, and Greece especially, to the margins,? said Dakic. ?This gave rise to the need for a different approach to the subject and the desire to hold an in situ exchange whose effects would continue to be felt.?

Sofia Dona is an architect who studied at the Bauhaus University and is also the curator of the ?Exchange? project. Kathimerini asked her what she believes has remained from the nine-day event whose results are now on display.

?Things that remind us of the events that unfolded there, the memory of the passers-by and the people who participated in the events, their documentation by photography or video, the reactions to the project and the debates held on it, and, finally the tangible elements that remain in place as mementos of those nine days,? she said.

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Goethe Institute, 14-16 Omirou, Kolonaki, tel 210.366.1000