Photo credit: Erato Tzavara

“Inventory” is a work of performing arts and multimedia by Jenny Argyriou and Vasilis Gerodimos which draws on the labour movements and the course of labour claims. It is a journey through the industrial action in Eleusis -since the beginning of the 20th century up to this year, which marks 100 years since the founding of the General Confederation of Greek Workers (Γ.Σ.Ε.Ε.). The work begins with participatory archival research and will lead to a public, digital performance/procession on November 11th, 2018. The procession will also be the main event for the celebration for the 2 years since the designation of Eleusis as the European Capital of Culture for 2021.

The artists invite all residents of Eleusis to participate in the project in the following ways: a) Be part of the main group of performers leading the procession on November 11th b) Bring their own records/documents and/or share their memories c) Participate in the procession of November 11th For this purpose, a social area/workshop made out of shipping containers has been created at the waterfront of Eleusis (goo.gl/gLmHsC), which is open to anyone interested in participating.

By October 30th, anyone who wants to bring photographs or any other historical document about the labour movement (newspaper clippings, texts, videos, audio files, etc.), to share a story they have experienced or heard of, or to declare availability to take part in the main group of the procession of November 11th, is welcome.

More information about the project and the creative process

Eleusis is synonymous with the working class, and the working person as an agent of growth and culture. The workers union claims of the beginning of the last century pass on the active citizenship’s consciousness, which is still expressed in the form of various collectives and is a characteristic element of the city’s identity.

This theme was chosen for the 11/11 anniversary with a view to highlighting a key component of the contemporary identity of Eleusis; the element of labour (the labour movement, the life of factory workers and working conditions, the city’s workforce), which is one of the three Main Themes of the “Transition to EUphoria”. In addition, this project constitutes the proposal/contribution of Eleusis 2021 to the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, as the development of the industrial city and the labour movement, the new living conditions that they shape, the concerns they raise and how we deal with them are shared by many European cities since the 19th century to the present day. In other words, they are components of the European dimension which characterises the modern day city of Eleusis.

The project’s artists create a temporary social area/workshop at the waterfront of Eleusis where they carry out on-the-spot archival research, they collect material and testimonies from the residents of Eleusis and they experiment with participatory workshops, by gathering information and preparing the final presentation of 11/11.

Τhe testimonies and the documents found during the research guide Argyriou and Gerodimos to study and point out the places where the most prominent street protests took place within the labour movement in Eleusis. Based on this information, the path to be followed during the performance/procession of the 11/11 is set out on the city’s map, while the audiovisual material collected in collaboration with the people of Eleusis, will be used to shape the performance’s visual and audio dimension.

The November 11th’s performance/procession itself has a “ritual character” while using the bodies of the residents, the digital audiovisual media, and the streets or buildings of Eleusis which have some historical reference to the labour movement as key elements. The digital media enable artists to awaken old stories, images and sounds when people were coming to Eleusis for work, as well as all the key moments, claims and struggles up to now. The same space/workshop, apart from its research purposes, is also a “live installation” where all the material is presented to the public.

That, moreover, is a practice often followed by Jenny Argyriou and Vasilis Gerodimos whose works bring the area’s history to the present time, by creating a living body of collective memory through everyday narratives and archives that the citizens keep as part of their personal history.

How to participate in detail

You may participate in the process of work’s creation, and become part of the performance/procession itself in the following ways:
A.  Be part of the main group of performers who will lead the procession on November 11th. How? Through a series of brief-workshop meetings, participants will get acquainted with the procession’s pace, moving on their own and in groups, with the pauses, the importance of sounds, live video projections and the use of objects (banners, placards, flags).
B. You may also connect with the project by participating in the collection of historical and archival material that the artists will use for the procession’s path, and will probably be part of the accompanying audiovisual material.

To this end, in September, a social area/workshop is being created at the waterfront of Eleusis (goo.gl/gLmHsC), open to anyone who is interested in sharing his/her memories, learning from the memories of others and participating in the performance/procession. By October 30th, everyone (resident, collector, an organisation or factory representative) is welcome to bring photographs in print or digital form or any other historical document (newspaper clippings, texts, videos, audio files, etc.), as well as whatever anyone would like to share with the artists and the collective memory of Eleusis. You may also want to share a personal testimony, a story, or relevant knowledge.

Any unique or interesting information is valuable and can trigger the project’s next stages. All the documents and material create a vibrant web of memories; providing a living bridge with the past.

C. Finally, all residents of Eleusis, regardless of their age or experience, are welcome to participate in the procession of November 11th.

Practical information The venue is open to the public: Monday-Thursday, 10:00-13:00 and Friday 18:00-20:00 The workshops are open to people aged 12 and over. The workshops are held every Tuesday at 11:00-13:00 and Friday, at 18:00-20:00 (until 30/10) and they are 2-hour long. If they so desire, all participants can be mentioned both in the print programme accompanying the project and to any digital file presenting it.

For more information and appointments:
Olga Maroudi 6939492168
Danae Giannakopoulou 6938559009
Email: [email protected]gmail.com

Creative Team: Jenny Argyriou, Vasilis Gerodimos, Danae Giannakopoulou, Olga Maroudi, Lampros Pigounis, Erato Tzavara, Makis Faros, Nancy Stamatopoulou

photo credit: Memorandum Lab – Lila Sotiriou & Miltos Athanasiou