An unusual festival featuring cinema, performance art, video installations, live music shows and contemporary dance kicked off at downtown Bios yesterday. What brings all the different artistic genres together? A look at the role of the sexes and people’s identity. The series of events comes as an initiative of the Goethe Institutes based in Southeastern Europe – the cultural centers are currently approaching the issue of gender, participating in a contemporary and global discussion on the socially predetermined, fabricated and stereotyped roles of the sexes. Many are already acquainted with so-called gender studies (in the last few decades alone, they have made their presence increasingly felt in university programs around the world). Perhaps those familiar with these developments on the academic front will have a clearer picture of what lies ahead at Bios this week. They may have also heard of Judith Butler, the American writer and professor at California’s Berkeley, author of «Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity.» Published in 1990, the book examined the notion of sex as a role. A feminist, Butler put forward the idea that a person’s sex identity has to do with specific moments and actions – she called it gender performativity. Difficult ideas to deal with back then – and not much has changed. Don’t worry about the academic aspect however when it comes to the Bios events this week. The festival kicked off with a screening of Athanasios Karanikolas’s «S» and continues with short films shot by Jan Kruger between 2000 and 2007, along with a collection of films by Ula Stokl and Edgar Reitz from 1970. Besides cinema, Genderpop, the three-day program starts in the Bios foyer on Friday, featuring art and music videos, performances, concerts and DJ sets. Among the guests is Berliner Joy Gutthardt, an actress whose performances explore the stereotypes of the female gender, Berlin singer Namosh, as well as female trio Rhythm King & Her Friends. All in all an intriguing group of artists taking over the downtown space this week. Bios, 84 Pireos. For more information go to www.goethe/de/athen.