What I Learned at the SNF Conference at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens [Day #1]
by on June 25, 2019 in articles Education SNF Conference
Olivia Hadjiioannou, Ολίβια Χατζηιωάννου, Oh., Press photos, Official Photos, Music, News, Greece, metal, Rock

Don’t forget to read: What I Learned at the SNF Conference at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center “Playing with Complexity” [Day #2]

Today I attended the first day of the SNF Conference at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens.

What an incredible center! The SNF conference is part of the annual Summer Nostos Festival, an imaginatively curated, eclectic mix of music, dance, sports, original performances, discussions, games, and contemporary art. This year the theme of the 2019 SNF Conference is [Untitled].

The SNF brought a host of high caliber speakers from various backgrounds, and diverse disciplines and spaces, “forcing” them to engage into conversations and debates about subject matters outside their areas of expertise.

Henry Timms

The day opened with a keynote speech by Henry Timms, the 11th president and CEO of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York.

He posed a very interesting question: Why do the arts matter in the world?

He reflected on the words of a predecessor of his, American composer William Schuman. Schuman succeeded John D. Rockefeller III as president of Lincoln Center in 1961.

Timms quoted an essay Schuman wrote in 1962, which made a proposal of what is the true value of the arts.

He quoted:

“My first principle is that the arts are an antidote. They are an antidote to the push button emptiness of a mechanised age, they are an armor against disillusionment and they are an armour against the self-destructive nature of man.”

He said something very relevant to the Greek culture I was brought up in.

“We think about the power of the arts in our world. We remind ourselves particularly as we are here in Greece. We remind ourselves that in all the arguments about how if only your kids will learn to play the cello, one day they will get good at maths. Those are the kinds of arguments we often make about the arts. They will make you good at something else. We remind ourselves that the arts are at the heart of who we are as human beings.

We live in a world now where we are so connected by technology but we have become disconnected from each other. And in that world the arts do two things we should be proud of and never apologize for.

The arts help us understand ourselves and the arts help us understand one other. We all need to rally and be very proud of the role of the arts for creating meaning in a world that has lost its moorings.”

There is this pervasive idea that music or the arts will make you better at something else in this countryas if art isn’t enough in itself.

Olivia Hadjiioannou, Ολίβια Χατζηιωάννου, Oh., SNF Conference at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens.

Pio Barone Lumaga

(41:34) In the talk, “Between Humanity and Nature,” Pio Barone Lumaga – Founder and Director, Innovation Design Lab said:

“Nature is a tough teacher, if you make a mistake you die, but if you don’t, you will survive in a better world. I believe if we establish a link of life instead a link of exploitation with nature, we can go a long way. Right now we aren’t doing that.”

In answer to a question from the audience: Are you optimistic that humans will be able to reverse the catastrophic effects of climate change in the next 11 years?

“No, I am not optimistic, we are too slow and we are not taking care of a fundamental equation that was written by Newton. The law of inertia. The mechanism that were put in place. Their known inertia, their known vested interest will go forward for a while. And I think we will face deeper crisis. Because we are stupid human beings, we react to crisis and then we forget.”

Olivia Hadjiioannou, Ολίβια Χατζηιωάννου, Oh., SNF Conference at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens.
Bill T. Jones – Artistic Director, New York Live Arts, Multi-instrumentalist and Composer Olivia Hadjiioannou

One of the most interesting talks at SNF was “Society of Spectacle: Representation as Reality.

The panel of speakers included Oskar Eustis – Artistic Director, the Public Theater, NYC as the moderator, Yoeri Albrecht, Director of De Balie, Noam M. Elcott – Associate Professor and Chair of Art Humanities, Columbia University, Bill T. Jones – Artistic Director, New York Live Arts and William Kentridge – Artist.

Bill T. Jones

At one point Bill T. Jones gave much food for thought:

“Many performers and makers are self-involved. It seems to be part of the job description. We aren’t saints and most of us are not scientists. And we are battling demons. Some of them are self-generated, some of them are historical. We have to find a way to get out there. Like literally. My body changes when I’m on this stage with you all out there. There is a chemical change. Now, how does that save this fucking world? And that is the rub. And I hope to find out something here today. Because I have almost given up the idea that what I do can, can do anything more then create these little eddies of meaning, little eddies of authenticity.”

Noam M. Elcott

Professor Noam M. Elcott brought up some very interesting and thought-provoking points. Noam mentions the book “Society of the Spectacle” by Debord. On the cover of the book is an audience wearing 3D glasses. He goes on to explain:

“That “Spectacle” and VR.. virtual reality will coincide is very much built into Deboud’s theory. Debord’s theory is oftentimes described in terms of our relationship to images. But he insists, that it is not our relationship to images, rather “Spectacle” is the relationship between people mediated by images. So it is person to person mediated by images. The distinction between reality and representation then is one that is no longer quite tenuous. All of us with this giant screen behind us, with camera in the rooms, with iPhones and various devices. The distinction between reality and representation is no longer an operative point. If you lived a day without looking at any representation, it would be a strange day, almost inhuman day.”

On technology being the antithesis of human. The point that technology and humans beings are at odds. About technology encroaching on our reality and taking over.

He says, “What distinguishes us as human beings compared to most other beings on this planet is precisely technology. And this audience hardly needs reminding that “techne” is the root for technology but it is also for the arts. (1:00:00)

One of the key technologies of the human being is writing. Writing is a technology, is a technique that makes us human. In 1935, French sociologist, Marcel Mauss in an incredible essay “Techniques of the Body” says that every culture institutes its own body techniques. It’s not only dance…It’s also how we defecate, how we fornicate, how we walk. These are also techniques oftentimes shaped by our technologies. So I would say to be human is not to find a space outside of technology but rather to negotiate our relationship to techne, with technology and art.

Olivia Hadjiioannou, Ολίβια Χατζηιωάννου, Oh., SNF Conference at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens.
Noam M. Elcott – Associate Professor and Chair of Art Humanities, Columbia University, Multi-instrumentalist Olivia Hadjiioannou, Nicolas Haralambopoulos, Swiss Philantropy

I went outside and had a cup of coffee and browsed the library, visited the Brian Eno exhibit and rode a scooter. I quickly googled Deboud to see the outline of the book. As a starter for future reading I found this

Debord’s aim and proposal is “to wake up the spectator who has been drugged by spectacular images…through radical action in the form of the construction of situations…situations that bring a revolutionary reordering of life, politics, and art”. Situations are actively created moments characterized by “a sense of self-consciousness of existence within a particular environment or ambience”.

Let”s see what we will discover tomorrow

Olivia Hadjiioannou, Ολίβια Χατζηιωάννου, Oh., SNF Conference at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens.
Olivia Hadjiioannou, Ολίβια Χατζηιωάννου, Oh., SNF Conference at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens.
Olivia Hadjiioannou, Ολίβια Χατζηιωάννου, Oh., SNF Conference at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens.
Olivia Hadjiioannou, Ολίβια Χατζηιωάννου, Oh., SNF Conference at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens.

Don't Forget to Watch Red Lion

Olivia Hadjiioannou, Ολίβια Χατζηιωάννου, Oh., Press photos, Official Photos, Music, News, Greece, metal, RockMulti-instrumentalist and director Olivia Hadjiioannou as the artist Oh. has been honored for her ingenuity, innovation and creativity in music and video with multiple international awards. She made her debut as Oh. on the international music scene with the award-winning music video, "Trials" in 2013 – cited as one of the 50 top events to mark Greece during the economic crisis. With the advances of immersive video, she released her single "Love of Avalanches", mentioned in Huffington Post as one of first 360-degree immersive VR videos released by a Greek artist on YouTube in 2016.

The music video "Red Lion" is presently a winner and official selection in 12 film festivals worldwide. Winner of Best Music Video award in the inaugural French Riviera Film Festival (FRFF) in Cannes, France. Winner Best Music Video at the Cosmocinema Film Festival in London. Winner of the Best Music Video Short in The Psychedelic and Transpersonal Film and Music Festival that took place on May 25, 2019 at The Producer’s Club in New York City. Winner Best Experimental Mixed Media Short Film at the Paleochora Lost World Short Film Festival in Southwestern Crete in Greece. Read more in her Bio and EPK

The EP “Metallia” has received over 32 reviews from 13 countries worldwide, is in top 10 progressive rock and metal charts and listed as one of the best albums of the year for 2018 on Metal Nation Radio.

CD Metallia - Oh. aka Olivia Hadjiioannou

“Metallia” by Oh. is an epical prog-metal composition in six parts. A multi-layered sonic piece of ravishing solo electric guitars, time-bending tempo shifts, grooving bass lines and deranged drums.

This instrumental progressive metal album will reveal its intricacies and hidden depths over time. It will extract from your mind pure visions, to mend your mental pictures, preen presumptions and to elicit an element of the unexpected…. because that is what will transmute your subliminal mind map into a remarkable blueprint which will lead you from wherever you are now, to wherever you want to be.

Available on Bandcamp

Weird and Wonderful World of Oh.

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