Participatory action, Athens, Greece, 2016
A project by Alexis Fidetzis, Panos Sklavenitis and Kostis Stafylakis.
In the context of Athens Biennale 2016-2017.
Michaelaggelos Vlassis-Ziakas, Bulerinas (Eva Karterou, Christina Karababa, Seda Karayilan, Vicky Skordali), Eva Yiannakopoulou, Anastasis Grivas, Maria Hacka, The Flower Girls (Eleftheria Kotzaki, Christina Spanou, Dimitra Stamatopoulou), Digenis Daskalakis-Giontis, Dimitra Kondylatou, Rafaella Koni, Aggelos Kralis, Apostolos Lambropoulos, Derek Liddington, Rilène Μarkopoulou, Persefoni Myrtsou, Dimitris Papoutsakis, Panayis Panagiotopoulos, Martha Papadogianni, Danae Sklavou
Chupacabra sets: Tassos Papatsoris & Despina Foskolou
DJ: Thano Vessi
Puerto Rico is a project that wishes to explore aspects of the (self)exoticization of Greece through various representations of Greece as a quasi-Latin American country. The project will focus on cultural expressions of greek exceptionalism: stereotypical/ideological depictions of Greece as a “brotherless” and “warmhearted” nation amidst the structures of a “cold” western economic and political order.
A crucial trigger for this project was a chat between the German minister of finance, Wolfgang Schäuble, and his American colleague Jack Lew. During a Bundesbank conference at Frankfurt, Schäuble mentioned that he proposed to Lew an interesting exchange. The USA would host Greece in the dollar area while the EU would welcome Puerto Rico to the Eurozone. This chat follows up Schäuble’s proposal for a temporary exit of Greece from the Eurozone. The Greek-EU relation would in fact resemble the USA-Puerto Rico relation in some ways (Puerto Rico’s special relation to the USA is defined by its status as unincorporated American land).
While Schäuble was openly discussing his vision of a temporary grexit, various voices in Greece painted an image of Greece as a resisting isle amidst the global empire of capitalism. A certain notion of resistance as re-establishing Greece’s “lost sovereignty” or as some sort of anti-colonial struggle for the 21st century emerged as a popular/hegemonic idea amidst disenchanted social strata, diverge political agents and social movements. Various international intellectuals, and a large part of the international art field, are enhancing this image by dealing with Greece as a theme park of “indigenous resistance” and by privileging the fantasy of a revolted “national community”.
Puerto Rico is, thus, a way to address this double bind between a western exoticism and a local exceptionalism.
Parts of the project.
a. The opening of The Nick Boricua Museum. The museum is dedicated to the emblematic figure of Nick Boricua, a Greek diplomat, intellectual, and revolutionary, born in the island of Ithaca. He was one of the primary instigators of the Grito de Lares revolution in Puerto Rico, against the Spanish Empire. His work was deeply inspired by his observations that the People of Puerto Rico bore cultural similarities to Greeks. He proposed an alternative state model of one single country consisting from the combination of two exotic peripheries. The opening of the Nick Boricua Museum will include speeches by prominent political and cultural personalities.
b. Cabaret Chupacabra. The Museum’s opening will be followed by a Cabaret night with dance, food, performances, short speeches, music acts and Greek music with reference to Puerto Rico in particular.
The Nick Boricua Museum website: https://nickboricuamuseum-blog.tumblr.com/