CULTURE

Greek cultural organization OPEP makes overture to the East, in Japan

The Organization for the Promotion of Greek Culture (OPEP) has made a dynamic start, building a bridge of cooperation and communication between Europe and Japan. Using Greek culture and European Commission funding, OPEP has set up a project, «On the Modern and the Contemporary in European and Japanese Culture,» a series of events that were part of the EU-Japan Year’s People to People Exchanges in 2005, and of the EU Culture program. The aim is for both societies to get acquainted and to see a new universal cultural synthesis, bringing East and West closer together. The venue is the Umberto Agnelli Room at the Italian Cultural Institute in Tokyo, where the opening is to take place on November 21. There will be welcoming speeches and music. Fotini Darra will sing songs from Japan, Greece and other European countries. A reception will follow with traditional Greek delicacies on offer. Admission is free. The cultural events include a conference on December 12, exhibitions of architecture and photography, and video screenings from December 18-22. «The meeting of two cultures in Tokyo will help strengthen relations between Europe and Japan. And it will enhance cultural dialogue between Greece and Japan, which OPEP supports,» said OPEP President Michalis Siopsis. The events, which all explore the modern and the contemporary, will give Japanese visitors an opportunity to encounter European expressions of those concepts. OPEP has joined forces with the Greek Architecture Institute, the German Architekturbild and the Italian Change Performing Arts. All the artists represented in the program will participate in the conference. Kiyoshi Sey Takeyama, a professor of architecture at Kyoto University, whose work links Japan and Greece, is the keynote speaker. From Greece, the speakers are architecture professors Ilias Constantopoulos and Anastassios Kotsiopoulos, and art and technology professor Alexandros Psychoulis. The European Architecture Photography Award exhibition, organized by Architekturbild, presents fine photographs of exceptional buildings in Europe. There will be screenings of videos by Psychoulis and Andreas Platis, and «Infusion,» an experimental art-fashion video by Marcus Tomlinson and Vassilis Zidianakis. OPEP comes under the Greek Culture Ministry, and Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis will address the opening event: «These multilateral events cover a wide range of contemporary art and have rekindled discussion about the meaning of modernism. Greek and other European artists who meet the Japanese public will have an opportunity to transmit and receive new stimuli.»