On March 2020, two weeks prior to the first-ever, edition, of the Milano Design Film Festival Greece in Athens, the festival was postponed, due to the severity of the pandemic—announcing its new event dates for: 5-8 November 2020.
Screenings, discussions, workshops, walking tours and architectural bike tours in various places around the city of Athens
In the meantime, new collaborators and supporters have emerged, providing us with the opportunity to enrich the pre-existing programme, and to form the first, MDFF community, in Greece. Today, with the exacerbation of the situation concerning Covid-19, and the austere measures that have been adopted, the international programme of MDFF Greece–Athens, is faced once more—along side many other cultural programmes around the world—with the pressing dilemma: either to opt for a digital festival edition—presenting the entire programme online, or, to transfer it as a physical event, to a later date, once again—only this time in 2021.
The MDFF Greece–Athens team, chose a middle-way: to transfer its main event to the Benaki Museum and the Greek Film Archive for 2021 but in the meantime, it has created a pre-festival programme titled, “Design in Film around the city of Athens”, which will serve as a precursor of the main event: A prelaunch series consisting of mini-event screenings, discussions, workshops, walking tours and architectural bike routes, providing the public with a first “taste” of MDFF, for all which is to follow in 2021 during the key event—whilst showcasing a unique way of viewing and experiencing, the identity of MDFF.
Most of these activities will take place in physical spaces or in outdoor locations in Athens; whilst some will be held online.
As the artistic director of MDFF Greece & Cyprus, Annie Markitanis, noted: “Todays unfavourable conditions, have been the springboard, for an exchange of thoughts and ideas, with organisations/institutions/spaces, and people who support initiatives, of social and cultural interest, and share our passion for the transformative power of the world, contained within the concept and notion of “design”. Our aim is to keep our contact with the city “alive”, and to “marry” the content with the philosophy and identity of each particular institution, and consequentially with the philosophy of MDFF Greece–Athens”.
The prelaunch mini-event series, curated by MDFF Greece, will take place on 2 — 8 November, 2020, in collaboration with public and private organisations in Athens, presenting a rich content of screenings, discussions, workshops, bike routes and walking tours with an underlying architectural theme.
Some of the creative & cultural partners involved in the prelaunch week of mini-events are: The Italian Cultural Institute in Athens, the Municipality of Athens Maker Space, Museum Vorre, InMind Headquarters & Showroom (Future of Work Design Week σε συνεργασία με την Archisearch & Design Ambassador), Shila Hotel, Blue Cycle Lab, French Institute of Greece (Digital Event), Atelier Cycladon 8 / Workshop Dionisis Sotovikis, Architecture Kids Athens (AKA), Typical Organization for Standards & Order, Esperinos, Shedia home, and the European Cultural Center (Digital Event).
Both on and off screen, we will get a first taste of varying stories; ideas, thoughts, ways of life, innovations, and knowledges.
In the logic of “Learning by Watching” films based on principles of social, economic and ecological sustainability, will be screened, hoping to motivate and inspire the younger generations to reconsider the way in which they approach environmental challenges, such as that of plastic waste (Design and Sustainability, Sections).
In the Design Section, the films deal with the creation of innovative materials as well as design in dialogue with the daily life of an astronaut.
In the Architecture Section, important architects discuss what it means to transform an established heritage and change the way, in which we understand cities and architecture. At the same time, 530 residencies, which have literally been transposed, will function as the starting point for us to discover, new ways to inhabit and live in the city.
Other examples, will “marry” two seemingly opposing arts: dance and architecture. Meanwhile, a series of video-interviews with leading representatives of architecture, will present pioneering proposals and utopian dreams, of architectural expression—exploring the fundamental issues of time, space and existence.
A first taster, on one of the Festival’s most fascinating themes, Artificial Intelligence, is the way in which drones will transform the city. The “aerial highways” will decongest roads, as transportation and human commotion, turn to the aether. Architecture itself will change completely, as ground-floor entries, will be replaced by terraces, on which there will be landing zones. A powerful advantage to humanity, or a threat to our privacy and safety?
The human vs. nature dipole, is explored through short-films which investigate how the timber industry, has evolved over time, examining how the timber industry is connected to chronic conditions of exploitation, colonialism and consumerism, whilst at the same time, providing us with an incentive to re-consider humanity, though the prism of trees—contesting our own sense of sovereignty, in the logic of protecting these complex ecosystems— essential to our own survival.
In the logic of Learning through Dialogue, many are the topics to be discussed:
How do we schedule the emotional and practical aspects of life in space? How important is the multi-disciplinary approach and the creative contact between dissimilar scientific fields, in the cultural reformation of a rapidly changing era? What could possibly be, an expected future scenario—taking into consideration, that through continuous digital and cultural changes, the way in which we work, is influenced? Will tomorrow’s offices be “smarter”, more humane, or both? In what ways, is the concept of modern, home life, enriched through empirical experience of a contemporary hospitality? What is the role of design in bridging these two conditions? What is the role of Living Rituals, as an experiential catalyst of hospitality? How can design be the driving force behind a personalised mental and spiritual experience? How do we approach the concept of subversive architecture that crosses the boundaries, between scientific disciplines—as a form of social art? How do we get acquainted with the heritage of the modern, by adapting to the needs of today? How can this constitute, as part of an architectural programme, for children and the young, as a possible means of change, on the way we view, understand and judge, our surroundings? From a psychological standpoint, what is the role of architecture, in the construction of our identity—with regards to the concepts of permanence and change?
WORKSHOPS / WALKING TOURS / BIKE ROUTES
At the same time, outdoor activities will take place, with departure points, central locations of Athens—such as walking tours in the city, titled “Hotel Village” in collaboration with Desired Landscape magazine, in a series of modern, post-war and neo-classical 19th century buildings—which where quickly, renovated and converted into hotels, during the past three years. Through the architecture and typography, of collective stories, urban myths and oral tradition, this walkabout will explore the concepts of community, tourism, housing and the neighbourhood, attempting to outline, the multifaceted portrait of contemporary Athens.
Cycling routes of an architectural interest, under the title “Riding Athens: Architectural e-Bike Tour” in collaboration with Solebike and the Hellenic Institute of Architecture, whose main aim is to act as compass—providing the coordinates of a route, from which new perspectives emerge—re-discovering the personality and transformation of the city. Historical and modern Athenian buildings, roads and neighbourhoods, narrate a journey of socio-political changes.
Additionally, MDFF Greece–Athens, in collaboration with Big Olive Athens, presents an urban workshop, starring the residents and visitors of each neighbourhood, under the title “Artful Walking. The Athenian Flaneurs”. An experiential, contemplative and visually-artistic workshop, which evokes questions, such as: What does it mean for one to be present, in the here and now?
How does the experience, of such a well-known and “familiar place,” change, when we move our thoughts away, from everything which is noisy—which distracts our attention from everyday life—whilst at the same time, new sensory receptors are opened, which allow for the reception of new information—a new stimulus? How do we associate to the environment around us? How do we observe, and what, should we focus our observation on? How aware are we, of the places and roads we already know?
The workshop will explore the are of Pangrati—especially, the particular bond between the bourgeoise neighbourhood of the Old Royal Palace (Hellenic Parliament & National Garden) and the hip-neighbourhood, located east of the Panathenaic Stadium (Kallimarmaro).
- Each mini-event will not exceed the number provided by law, and the COVID-19 protection measures will be strictly applied, as per all the specifications set by the General Secretariat for Civil Protection and the National Public Health Organization (ΕΟΔΥ). Due to limited attendance allowance, a priority order of participation will be followed.
- The program for the “Design around the city of Athens” prelaunch week of mini-events will be announced over the next days.
The first event of MDFF Greece–Athens, which is to be held in 2021 (Dates to be announced soon) titled “Lights On—Projecting our Contemporary Future”, held under the auspices of the Municipality of Athens, the Italian Embassy, Italian Cultural Institute of Athens, Hellenic-Italian Chamber of Athens, Ministry of Culture and Sports, Greek National Tourism Organisation, and the General Secretariat for Research and Technology, and whose purpose is, to investigate our current reality and the contemporary living—in all of their manifestations.
The event will include, over 20 screenings of short and feature films, documentaries and biopics, as well as various lectures, workshops, discussions and parallel activities.
In its main programme, it deals with issues and thematic sections such as Architecture, Design, Sustainability, Artificial Intelligence, Urban Life, Biopics of protagonists/masters in the design and architecture scene, the dipole of Man & Nature, Art, the Art of Thinking.
An additional important thematic section of the event, will be the “Arecibo Message”, from the world-renowned designer and guest curator of MDFF Greece–Athens, Michael Anastassiades.
During the main event, we will become witnesses—on and off screen—of alternative ways of life, philosophies, ambitions, dreams, landscapes, cities and biographies, which “legitimate” diversity—communicating alternatives and proposing solutions.
• Each mini-event will not exceed the number provided by law, and the COVID-19 protection measures will be strictly applied, as per all the specifications set by the General Secretariat for Civil Protection and the National Public Health Organization (ΕΟΔΥ).
• Due to limited attendance allowance, a priority order of participation will be followed
• Participants must arrive 30 minutes earlier than the start time of each mini-event
• Face masks must be worn by all participants at all times, both outdoors and indoors
• The seating placement follows all necessary safety distances
• The mini-events have no commercial character
• Participation to the mini-events is possible only upon registration via Eventbrite.
• Α separate registration is necessary for each on the mini-events you wish to participate/attend
Download the full program of the prelaunch mini-events (2-8 November) here: https://mdffgreece.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/MDFF-PREFESTIVAL-PROGRAM-ENG_TO-RESEND_OK.pdf
Please find the registration links for each mini-event here: https://linktr.ee/MDFFGreeceAthens