“Genero City Park”
The dividing or bordering lines, the demilitarized zones and the permeable boundaries comprise again this year the theme of the artists-in-residency of the Action Field Kodra.
In a place with specific geographic coordinates, where historians and archaelogists place the existence of ancient Therme, long before the foundation of the city of Thessaloniki*, three young visual artists, Zeren Goktan (Turkey), Mark Raidpere (Estonia), and Nikos Varitimiadis (Greece), of different origin and aesthetic identity, encounter one another, each focusing on the production of one work, examining their relationship with the landscape, experimenting in media or ways of personal narrative.
The old camp – a historically, socially and politically charged area – now a demilitarized zone, an intermixture of ruins and depository of memory, is offered to them as pretext, a departure point of a personal course, in which the work is not but a “chance” milestone, indicative however of the moment, of their encounter with the aura and the vibrations of the wider environment in which this is created.
What is desired is nothing more than the enhancement of this moment, possibly also the description of an explosion. The art that will be produced might have an ephemeral or monumental character, to be literal or to converse with the viewer in an allegorical/poetic idiolect, to exist as an action or as a document recorded in texts, photographs or video, to be ephemerally alive through happenings or performances.
In the case of the Residency of the former camp, the artists end up functioning also like guardians. Only that, while the place is burdened, almost buried under consecutive layers of historical-social-political stages, a sound box, I would say of muzzled sounds, might (due primarily to their creative nature) act also as excavator of their truth.
On the hill where the landscape of the city is climatically elevated, on the ridge but also in its deepest core, the space of memory seems to be scattered and it is the inspiration of their art that will bring to light the fruits of this memory.
Action Field Kodra, like a challenge, comes to function with the poetic dynamics of an environment that produces meaning or more precisely derives the meaning (and the sense) of its past in order to disperse it in the present and from here to the future is fertilizer for new conundra. It is about taking a risk of stimulating the imagination, discovering the elements of codes, the secret combination of an alarm that awakens the landscape like the setting of an inner condition.
The geography – the “borderline” – does not constitute but a grid that the artist is asked (it is the nature of art that asks him) to rupture, a membrane into which he continuously collides in order to return to his starting point and to be ejected with a new impulse towards the future. From this perspective – and for the sake of this view, the view of the future – the artist and the surroundings dance the steps of the same choreography: flowing, distancing from the security of the local or other determinations, vibrating and performing acrobatics, they are led to the opposite side: to the amorphous city that stretches across an open sea, framed by a mountain once inhabited by gods.
Ancient Therme with question mark, Thessaloniki with suspension points, Balkan peninsula with no period, Mediterranean with exclamation mark!!!, Europe with colon. Punctuation that changes depending on the light. Shortly before nightfall and until midnight and for 15 days your works Zeren, Mark and Nikos, will be revealed like bright beams, vivid signs to some horizon.
Art critic, Curator
* It is believed that the area was inhabited before the foundation of Thessaloniki, from the Bronze Age, the Mycenaean era and first years of history. This area began to be known through the excavations of French archaelogists during the First World War, where the mechanisms of cultural change emerged, from the level, large neolithic settlements in the shrunken tombs of the Bronze Age and in the birth of “cities” in the beginning of the Archaic period.