Oedipus in Search of Colonus
Various types of territories and who governs them is the focus of Accelerator’s spring exhibitions. Physical, geographic, juridical, mental and spiritual areas will be explored. It may be national borders and the right to live where one wants, but also territories beyond the domains of humans, life and death.
About the exhibition
The drama Oedipus in Search of Colonus, written shortly before the tragedian Sophocles’ death in 406 BC concerns old age and the act of dying. The play describes the end of Oedipus tragic life when he is an outcast who has blinded himself. He comes to Colonus with his daughter, wandering, trying to find his final resting place.
Loukia Alavanou’s work Oedipus in Search of Colonus uses VR technology to transport the viewer to a Greek shanty town making it the scene for a modern version of Sophocles’ ancient drama. The town, Nea Zoi, situated close to the original Colonus, is populated by Romani who in the film take on the different roles in the play.
Alavanou’s work points at questions concerning a person’s power over where to live and where to die. Contemporary parallels to Oedipus’ story are for instance migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea. In the artist’s words: “Oedipus is used for political mileage by Creon, the ruler of Thebes, not unlike refugees today arriving in Europe from the Middle East or Africa. They are treated more like a ‘trading’ pawn between European countries than humans worth aid and support.” The artist also saw parallels with Oedipus entering Colonus to her own experience and her encounter with the Romani community. The journey of temporary integration of the artist into the local group was also one of gradual acceptance. The Romani are themselves usually outcasts in the country they live in – many of them not registered citizens of Greece.
As a visitor at Accelerator you enter through a dark tunnel into a sound absorbing dome, inspired by the work of the Greek visionary futuristic architect Takis Zenetos (1926-1977). For his utopic project “Electronic Urbanism” Zenetos envisioned a city in the clouds where solitary humans lived in hemispherical capsules. A central part of these capsules was Zenetos’ “posture chair for digital projections and immaterial environments”, which has itself inspired a VR seat especially designed for this exhibition. A directional sound design made out of fragments from recordings in the Romani community of Nea Zoi becomes the first trigger for the visitors in the space, before they are guided to their seats and eventually immersed into the film.
Various types of territories and who governs them is the overall focus of Accelerator’s spring exhibitions. Physical, geographic, juridical, mental and spiritual areas are explored in the exhibitions and events program.
Richard Julin, curator of the exhibition
About Loukia Alavanou
Loukia Alavanou (1979, Athens) is a moving image artist and filmmaker,
and holds an MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art, UK.
Alavanou represented Greece at the 59th Venice Art Biennale. Alavanou’s work has been presented by institutions including Centre Pompidou, Palais de Tokyo, Gucci Garden, Palais de BOZAR, Fiorucci Art Trust, The Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens Biennale,Trust Kino Der Kunst, Palais de BOZAR, Fiorucci Art Trust, The Museum of Cycladic Art , Athens Biennale, Benaki Museum. Her films are part of numerous collections including the Onassis Collection, the Dakis Joannou Collection, The Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe/ ZKM, PCAI/ Polyeco Contemporary Art Initiative.
Book your seat
The film can be viewed during Accelerator’s opening hours and is 17 minutes long. Drop-in or pre-book no later than 1 day before the visit. Maximum number of seats per booking is two. To pre-book a seat, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exhibition team Accelerator
Richard Julin, Curator for the exhibition and Artistic Director
Therese Kellner, Curator
Curator of ´Oedipus in Search of Colonus´at the Greek Pavilion of the 59th Venice biennale
Heinz Peter Schwerfel
Architecturaland Installation Design
Head of Construction
Commissioner at 59th Venice Biennal
National Galleryof Greece– Alexandros Soutsos Museum
VRS [Virtual Raw Synergy]
Writer / Director
Music / Lyrics
Natalia Papadopoulou, Loukia Alavanou
Haris Laloussis Em Kei
Oedipus: Panagiotis Tsiriklos
Antigone: Mary Louloudaki
Creon: Evangelos Tsiriklos
Narrator’s Voice: Alexandros Mylonas
Antigone’s Voice: Rena Kyprioti
Voices of Oedipus & Creon: Gregory Patrick Karr
The installation was funded by the Greek Ministry of Cultureand Sports.
The film was Powered by Onassis Culture. With the support of PCAI/ Polygreen Culture and art Initiative.