Anterior – τώρα – Futures

Lesvos, Greece. Through its history and its current situation, Lesvos exemplifies the destructive character of centuries of colonization and contemporary European border policies. The situation on the island has been urgent since 2015. The border crisis continues, the border regime strengthens. 

The Age Of Technology: The once utopic promise of the democratic internet has spiralled to be controlled by monolithic algorithms and monopolies of affective spurts of reactionary ideology. Colonial and anti-migration discourses dominate contemporary politics, media and public opinion.

We can challenge the reactionary reality of today by breaking the mundane character of the everyday overload of information and ideology. We need to go backwards and forwards at the same time. Back to print and forward to collaborative participatory creation processes, self-representation and experimental artistic expressions.

Anterior – τώρα – Futures is a collective initiative that facilitates cultural exchange, post-colonial storytelling and critical art and media production. The project aims to build futures related to migration and upgration and to facilitate sustainable ally-building between descendants of the Greek refugees that arrived in 1922 and currently displaced people on Lesvos, focusing on the existence of shared experiences of marginalization and resilience in the past, present and future. We work with futures as raw material for the creative process and resist against harmful reactionary ‘othering’ through imagining and building radical futures that build on resilience, solidarity and creativity.

The initiative came to life after a group of people from diverse fields related to arts and activism came together on Lesvos and realized their shared passion for artistic expression as resistance. With a focus on the past, the present and the future we will work on a collective portfolio of post-colonial artistic expressions that challenge colonial discourses as well as anti-migration narratives and policies. 

anterior: living memories of 1922

Rebetiko 2022

After the Greco-Turkish war of 1919-1922, around 1 million Greek orthodox refugees fled from Turkey to Greece. Many of them passed through Lesvos, and while most travelled onwards  to the mainland, many people settled on the island. Today, a lot of Lesvians are descendants of the refugees of 1922.

With the refugees came Rebetiko – briefly describe as the urban popular rebel music of the Greeks, especially the poor. As a result of the resettlement of 1.5 million people, shanty towns grew up around Athens, Piraeus and other cities. The refugees brought their music with them, historically shaping the the urban music of Greece. Rebetiko is known for the combination between traditional musical forms of the East and for its topics of hardship and the urban underworld.

Today, rebetiko is very popular in Lesvos and a lot of musicians and music lovers are dedicated to keeping the tradition alive. There are regular rebetiko events and performances, where musicians sing songs from the 20s until the 70s. While they sing of issues related to migration, poverty and oppression, they remain disconnected from the refugees in Moria and their issues. As a response to this, writers and poets from different backgrounds collaborated to write New Rebetiko songs. The result is a publication to be used by Greek musicians to build a bridge between the past and the now, i.e. the anterior and the τώρα.

Here  you can find an online preview of the latest publication “Τα ρεμπέτικα της Μόριας” (Rebetiko from Moria), with new rebetiko songs and reworked images from the past.

Talking to the walls

These and other posters were created during a Risograph Printing Lab over the summer of 2020 in Lesvos. Migrants, activists and local Greeks participated, trying to continue to create dialogues during covid times. You can find all posters here
The posters will also be bundled in a publication, serving at the same time as a book as well as a poster collection that can be used and stuck by readers.

EUtopia

Radical artistic expressions and narratives on the border crisis today.

This piece is the result of a project called ‘a collective imaginary of elsewhere‘: a research-based digital conversation between artists and migrants who were living in Moria Camp, about longing and European dreams. A collective imaginary of the future, distorted, and somewhere between reality and absurdity.

Further informations on the picture can be found here.