• Pamphilos | 2019
    Fast Forward Festival 6, Onassis Foundation, Athens

    ‘What is it that is common between us?’

    “Athens has been on our minds. We know it from childhood as a place where questions and visions have long lives, lasting thousands of years. In the last decade, the down turn in the global economy made Athens take on a sharp new visibility.

    Over 2018 and 2019 we visited Athens intensively, beginning with wanting to find out more about an ancient shipwreck off the sland of Antikythera. A drinking cup salvaged from the shipwreck had the word ‘Pamphilos’ etched on to it. We wondered if the cup named a person, or a way of living, as “a friend of all”, or both.

    In between our visits to archaeologists and deep-sea divers, we also met scholars, poets, teachers, migrants, doctors, nurses, researchers, dramaturges, lawyers, and pharmacists. We met the people who tend to the shipwreck of the everyday, who dive down to the depths of each new day, and then come up for air. We visited clinics, schools, self-organised cafés, and parks, and spent time in hospitals.

    On these walks, in these conversations, Athens presented itself to us as if bathed in a new light. We felt the strong tug of innumerable ways of making things anew, and making do, and undoing things when necessary, that challenged the rigid consensus of a life governed by the metronomic rhythm of the wage system. It was a lesson in diving into an ongoing massive ‘experiment with living’ that occupied the time of an entire city.

    What kind of special skills and knowledges are required to negotiate a time of turbulence? Can the old figure of ‘Metis’ — the guardian of that special combination of wisdom, cunning and craft that helps people navigate through the storms and undercurrents of the sea, and of daily life — be invoked to create new meanings that are especially suitable for our times?

    These are the kind of questions that have impelled us into making this work. We have scanned a submarine horizon, read a sign next to a shipwreck, made “the friend of all” live again in a multiplying drinking cup, seen a lighthouse as if in a dream, and found a cluster of conversations that dive into philosophy, and everyday life”.