20th century Athens goes on show at the Technopolis arts complex

Greek national television (ERT) and the City of Athens’s Technopolis arts complex have been preparing over the last few months one of the largest exhibitions ever about the city of Athens, based on ERT’s huge, and so far unexploited, audiovisual archive. Titled «Athens in the 20th Century: The Great Changes,» the exhibition will open at Technopolis on Tuesday, November 8, and focuses on the changes the capital has undergone over the past century, in accordance with the major political, social and cultural events that shaped the character of the city. The idea was conceived by ERT President Christos Panagopoulos, who was looking for ways to make use of ERT’s material. A team of experts was formed (which included director Fotos Lambrinos, producer Giorgos Papastefanou, history professor at Panteion University Yiannis Yiannoulopoulos and others) which then went on to lead a wider creative team of 100 persons. The ERT material was enriched by exhibits from the Hellenic Archive of Literature and History, the Benaki Museum, the National History Museum, the National War Museum, the National Theater and the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation. Hence, visitors to the exhibition will also see photographs, manuscripts, publications and objects connected to the capital’s life, ranging from clothes Athenians wore in the interwar years to the piano Manos Hadjidakis used to play on the radio. The exhibits have been arranged in five large historical units. Self-awareness The exhibition hopes to contribute to Athenians’ self-awareness, something that has only developed over the past few years. At the same time, it is hoped that with a rich educational program (guided tours for six schools per day have been scheduled), young Athenians will learn a more attractive version of their city’s history; it seems that the melodramatic obsessions and over-simplifications that have prevailed in the study of contemporary Athenian history have led to what is essentially an anti-Athens attitude. The exhibition’s sole sponsor is Emporiki Bank, which undertook the entire cost of 160,000 euros. Various parallel events, including screenings, day conferences and discussions, will accompany the exhibition, which will run to January 25. Admission is free, while on weekends the exhibition will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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