The memorandum of Citius, Altius, Fortius.
Illusion and Disillusionment
(re- searching for the imaginary)
ATHENS 2004 – 2014
..but such desire is in him
merely to see the heartsmoke leaping upward
from his own island, that he longs to die.
Homer, Odyssey, Ρhapsody ¢, 75-77
The Urbn Theatr project “The Volunteers” attempts to juxtapose the extravaganza of the Olympic symbols with the power that stems from their “decline” by means of documenting a world where the “volunteer” is or may have been every one of us.
The year 2004 was a critical point in the contemporary socio-political reality and marked the beginning of a very distinctive decade (2004-2014). In the echo of the anniversary of the Olympics, this project looks into their meaning and effect on people’s memories.
The Olympics, however, are no longer Greece’s crowning achievement. Instead, they have pointed to a series of economic deviations and scandals that foreshadowed the current crisis period and have had an ambiguous and troubling impact ever since.
This project can be seen as a study of the mechanisms that encourage faith in the Olympic symbols. These symbols are the bonding force of an institution which is basically consisted of seemingly unresolved contradictions between the universal principles embodied in the Olympics: cosmopolitanism and ethnocentricism, the existing political and economic interests, the feeling of international cooperation and the sense of national pride. The volunteer’s existence is also a contradiction in its own right: loneliness-togetherness, faith-frustration, and introversion-extroversion.
The “volunteer” brings these symbols back to the “anti-heroic” and “anti-festive” atmosphere of the city that looks back at the Olympics ten years later. By making use of theatrical devices and presenting the gas mask as the new symbol, this flash-theatre narration project captures the spontaneous reaction, presence or absence of spectators and passers-by within the Greek crisis and highlights the Olympics function as an extravaganza.
The project took place in Athens in August 2014, 10 years after Athens' Olympic Games.
Concept, Organization and Synthesis: Ilias Panagiotakopoulos
Visual Creation: Lampadarios Pappas
Volunteer’s Movement: Zoe Kollatou
Costumer: Fotini Lazou
Photography: Anna Tsimpidi, Maria Angeli, Ilias Panagiotakopoulos
“Volunteer”: Vagelis Telonis
Special thanks to: Anna Maria Kanta and Alexandros Katsis