The Office of Hydrocommons
Curation: Eleni Riga
72 Salaminos, Metaxourgeio, 104 35 Athens
March 22 – July 1, 2023
World Water Day
Wednesday, March 22, 18:00
ATOPOS cvc invites you to the opening of The Office of Hydrocommons, an interdisciplinary and interartistic program focusing on climate and social change in relation to water and the body, to be held at its premises (72 Salaminos) on World Water Day, Wednesday, March 22, 2023, at 18:00. The program is actualized following an invitation by the ATOPOS cvc artistic director Vassilis Zidianakis to the independent curator Eleni Riga in the context of #ΟccupyAtopos.
In an era of environmental and social crisis, the “modern water” has become an abstract notion; an easily recognizable chemical formula (H₂O); a commodity. In this crucial moment when water is in the frontline of climate change and at risk of being privatized, we are called to re-define what water is. It is worth thinking that it is not only a necessary natural substance, a common good, or a human right, but also a powerful metaphor that allows us to envision a different future – more fluid, inclusive, and resilient. Taking different forms and manifestations, the Office of Hydrocommons is the fruit of the guest curator’s ongoing research into ecofeminism: a theoretical and political movement, an amalgam of feminism and ecology. Departing from the “wet heart,” the well in the center of the ATOPOS cvc premises, the program attempts to explore different aspects of climate change in relation to water, and the impact that affects bodies of women, queer, trans, and indigenous people. Informed by the properties of water’s liquidity, the program unfolds in different manifestations: an exhibition, an international artist residency, a series of weekly public events, and the Research Office. “Hydroresearchers” from different fields, such as the arts, marine biology, agronomy, urbanism, sports, and activism, are invited to participate in the program.
Wet Heart Exhibition
From the positionality of the Mediterranean South, the artists participating in the exhibition Wet Heart investigate problems such as water scarcity, the deterioration of the natural environment due to industrial, touristic, and military activities, and the pollution of waters due to plastics and microplastics; at the same time, they reflect on their impact onto vulnerable human and non-human lives. Ileana Arnaoutou and Ismene King create the site-specific sculpture A Conservation of Water-Writings fueled by encounters around the well, and they attempt to restructure the story of the Metaxourgeio’s hidden waters. The audiovisual work To Fall With Grace by Despina Charitonidi, developed in collaboration with the synchronized swimming team Naiads, tackles the unseen processes of human interventions in water-related environments, as well as their consequences on human and non-human lives. In the performance for the camera SeaMonster II, Eleni Mylonas stages her own body among the plastic waste she has collected from the shores of Aegina. She negotiates the future of the planet, the humans’ relationship with nature, and the interdependence of “bodies of water.” Maria Nikiforaki presents the audiovisual works Hydrodance: Devil’s Well and Hydrodance: Elephant Cave, two original underwater choreographies with free divers at the Devil’s Well in Attica and the Elephant Cave in Crete, and researches the loss of sea biodiversity due to anthropogenic activities.
The Office of Hydrocommons is actualized following an invitation by the ATOPOS cvc artistic director Vassilis Zidianakis to the independent curator Eleni Riga in the context of #ΟccupyAtopos. Riga is an independent curator and cultural producer. Her practice focuses on the intersection of ecology and feminism, and politics of care. She has collaborated as an assistant curator at the art center Friart in Switzerland, and worked as a curatorial assistant at documenta 14 in Athens and in Kassel. She has directed the Contemporary Art Department of Eleusis 2023 – European Capital of Culture. Also, she has worked in the Education Department of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Palais de Tokyo in Paris. As an independent curator, she has collaborated with many art organizations in Europe. She has participated in the Research Residency Program 2022 of the G.& A. Mamidakis Foundation in Aghios Nikolaos, Crete, the Tailor-Made Fellowships of Onassis AiR in Athens, the art residency GENERATOR of the art center 40mcube in Rennes, and ARCAthens, in Bronx, New York. Riga studied Communication, Media and Culture at Panteion University in Αthens, and holds master degrees in curatorial studies from Paris 1 Panthéon–Sorbonne, and Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm.
#OccupyAtopos is the residency program of ATOPOS cvc. Its main focus is interartistic and interdisciplinary research, as well as the study of contemporary visual culture of the human body. The program emphasizes the embodied experience and the narrated character of the gendered and racialized body, personal and collective trauma, memory, systems of embodied cognition, as
well as the relationship between the body, social justice, and ecology.
Its mission is to observe and support the creative process of emerging artists, designers, curators, and thinkers.
ATOPOS Contemporary Visual Culture was founded in 2003 by the architect Stamos Fafalios and the fashion and art researcher Vassilis Zidianakis, artistic director of the organization. It is an interdisciplinary organization interested in the research and study of contemporary visual culture of the human body. In the past, ATOPOS cvc research has focused on the human body and costume with an emphasis on cutting-edge fashion, hosting a unique paper dress collection for which it has become internationally known. In recent years, its research interests have centered around the experiential and narrative character of the racial and gendered body, personal and collective trauma, memory, embodied knowledge systems, as well as its relationship with ecology and social justice.