CULTURE

A teaching experience

How do you feel about it all 10 months later? Papaioannou: I am very happy and grateful for the entire experience. Other than that, I can now watch it as if it had been done by someone else. There is only one small thing that still nags at me, mainly about the manner in which it was designed and the moral principles that went into it. It looks like I haven’t completed my therapy for it. I guess I still need to share. That’s why I decided to do a series of lectures – at the Goulandris-Horn Institute a few weeks and at the Kalamata International Dance festival in July. Were the exhibitions you had said the Culture Ministry were going to organize, but which were canceled after all, part of the same thought process? Papaioannou: Yes, and that is something that we could have gotten quite upset over. All we really wanted was to give the public the opportunity to see up close the costumes designed by Angelos Mendis for the «Clepsydra» procession. Up close they are to die for! We wanted to show three-dimensional designs, the mock-ups, to share the work that we did in the studio with the public. We also wanted to highlight the fact that the whole thing was designed in a very particular way and presented in a very particular way. The ministry obviously thought differently. Any news of a possible Olympic Games Museum? Papaioannou: All I know is that it is in [Alternate Culture Minister] Fanni Palli-Petralias’s plans. That’s all. What did you gain from the whole experience? Papaioannou: What we gained from it is what has made those three years absolutely worthwhile. They had a lot to teach us on their own and not just when things got tough. What I cherish most of all is that I learned something I had already known on a theoretical level, but I saw it happening in practice: That when a few people with talent and faith come together, they can get through the grinding mill of modern society unsullied and create something exactly they way they wanted to. That is the most precious lesson. Koumendakis: I’ve been tidying up my files these past few weeks and I was very touched to see that the original designs we had made – Dimitris, Tina Nikolaou, Giorgos Matskaris and I – are one and the same with the final result. The result was what he had wanted from the outset. This also explains why we approached the particular artists we did. They were part of the original plan. They could never have been artists from a different generation or who had a different viewpoint. What are your future plans? Koumendakis: I am working on things I had put aside for the past three years, and especially on my trilogy about the war, something like an opera I am writing. The middle part has already been performed. I just finished the first part and the third part is what’s left and I hope to be finished by the end of the year. Mr Papaioannou, you mentioned a project. Papaioannou: It’s still under discussion. It’s for 2006. Will it be dance theater? Papaioannou: I have no idea. It’s just a thing; nothing but a plan so far. I can’t know until the contracts and other details are cleared up. I am trying, along with the core of the people I have been working with over the years, to put together a creative environment; then we’ll see where it will lead us. It’s still very impromptu. Ideas for a specific performance and for the way we will operate are being formed day by day. We will know more by the end of summer.