Eran's Blog

Green Park Athens – Institutions, Politics, Performance


I had the honor to give a presentation/performance in Athens, Greece, at the Green Park conference titled “Institutions, Politics, Performance“.

Green Park is an impressive theatre/cafe building located in Athens central park Pedion tou Areos. On June 19th, 2015, during the instability in Greece due to the economical crisis, artists have occupied this venue. It was deserted for some time, because of the situation, and they decided to turn it into a place of gathering. The aim was to rebuild modes of collectivity and solidarity and reclaim friendship for its political importance.

green park - eran hadas

It is worth mentioning that in the Greek contemporary culture, the occupation has a significant context. In 2011, following the rise of the international anti-capitalist Occupy movement, many Greek artists and activists occupied the Empros theatre, and some of those participants are also involved in the Green Park initiative.

green park - eran hadas

The aim of this conference was to explore the relationship between performance and institutions, building on the premise that institutional structures are formed through repeated sets of practices, patterns and relations. I spoke about political aspect in digital cultures, and how hierarchies and structures are formed using data, especially with regards to less spoken languages, such as Greek or Hebrew.

green park - eran hadas

In my talk, titled “Alert: Translate”, I presented a few projects, dealing with language, technology and politics. One of them, Word2Dream, a collaboration with Eyal Gruss, is based on Google’s Word2Vec algorithm, used (also) for machine translation. The user feeds it with an input text, and Word2Dream starts “dreaming” a stream of consciousness that gets built in an algorithmic process. One such input was Greek PM Tsipras speech following his approval to the austerity policy imposed by Germany. Another input was Green Park’s own manifesto.

green park - eran hadas

Apart from the Green Park scene and the Greek and international guests that attended the conference, it was interesting to find in the audience refugees from Syria and Afghanistan, who are staying in encampments in the neighboring Victoria neighborhood. Athens is in turmoil, but it is obvious that the activists there are going to influence the rest of Europe, because it seems it is only a matter of time until the same situation hits parts of Portugal, Italy, Spain among others.
I wish to express my thanks to the Green Park staff, and especially to Ilan Manouach who gave a great performance.

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