Event Date: 29 April 2016
Performing Arts Studio 5
The University of Winchester
Winchester SO22 4NR
Philip Hager (Winchester/Kingston) – Athens re-membered: 17 November 1973 and the geographies of memory
In November 2015 the Athenian audience was invited by the Onassis Cultural Foundation in Athens to participate in a performance piece titled Audition for a Demonstration: 17 November 1973-2015, directed by and the Argentinian performance artist Lola Arias in collaboration with Greek director Prodromos Tsinikoris. This piece sought to ‘rework political events from the past live on stage’; to remember, that is, the occupation of the Athens polytechnic in November 1973, which was one of the major incidents in the movement of resistance to the dictatorship of the colonels (1967-1974). Forty-two years after the event, thus, Athenians were invited to participate in a reenactment of this past social and political event and imagine possible responses to the question ‘If you could turn the clock back, which historical events would you like to be at and what role would you play there?’
Starting from this piece of performance and exploring the frictions between the various historical, social and cultural frames with which it engaged, in this paper I address some questions relating to the performances and geographies of memory of the occupation of the polytechnic. I explore practices that seek to destabilise logocentric and monumental operations of memory and, while mapping a repertoire of performances and spaces that allow practices of remembering to transcend the objectifying logic of the archive; practices that at once trace and produce history. In a period when the spectre of history haunts Greece and Europe as memory, prophecy and menace I ask, what concerns, possibilities, fears and hopes are performed by such practices of remembering?