Avant-garde artists travel to London

It was about time the London-based audience became acquainted with a different segment of the modern Greek audiovisual scene other than the familiar Mikis Theodorakis, George Dalaras and, of course, Sarbel. The Hellenic Sonic Airlines Festival has given the opportunity to Greece’s avant-garde to present its work in London, at venues such as the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) and other well-known galleries, until April 26. However, nothing would have happened without young Chloe Vaitsou, a Greek living permanently in London who works as an independent curator of artistic events. Having specialized in new media and digital art, she organizes concerts as well as festivals small and large. The musicians, groups, artists and collectives she works with all come from a somewhat undefined background which blends experimental sounds with a multimedia array of computers and performance. In 2006, Vaitsou came to Athens to set up the Contemporary Tradition mini-festival at Bios, which brought her into contact with Athenian reality for the first time. «I discovered a creative and dynamic scene which deserved to be promoted abroad,» she said in a break between her exhausting meetings with sponsors. It should be noted that the festival has not received any funding from the Greek state and Vaitsou has often experienced despair. «In the beginning everybody makes promises and then, when the time comes to make the arrangements, they all vanish. Those who were polite enough to pick up the phone hinted that the style of the events was far too alternative.» Eventually, things worked out as they usually do abroad, namely without dependence on state charity. The festival is mostly funded by British institutions, the more prominent of which are the British Council of Arts and the easyJet airline, which is owned by a Greek Cypriot. The performances are fronted by Greek electronica veteran Constantinos Beta, who will present his «Transformations,» adaptations of Hadjidakis songs, accompanied by a striking visual part by Giorgos Theonas. Well-known musician Coti K has traveled to London with two separate projects. In the first he will appear as «Texturizer» with Nikos Veliotis, while the other is the sound installation he presented last year at Cheap Art with Dimitris Haritos. Eight more musicians and groups are taking part in the festival: they are Biomass, The Callas, Electroware, The Erasers, Mary & The Boy, My Wet Calvin, Peekay Tayloh, TeamStrut and Spyweirdos. All of the above belong to the new MySpace generation and as such have a more hands-on approach with strong visual references.

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