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Invitation to the Opening of


UNIVERSITAS Group exhibition

April 7 at 7pm

At Trii Art Hub, Drakou 9, Athens, Metro Station: Sygrou-Fix

Opening Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00-20:00
The exhibition runs from 7/4/2017 – 7/5/2017.

On April 7 at 7pm, AthenSYN launches an exhibition on the subject of migration and learning in collaboration with the Avtonomi Akadimia and the Athens Biennale at Trii Art Hub, Drakou 9 (metro station Syggrou Fix). The exhibition presents works by Sebastian Bayse Schäfer (D),Vilelmini Vilma Andrioti (GR), Gudrun Barenbrock (DE), Manaf Halbouni (SY), Thomas Kilpper (DE), Georgia Kotretsos (GR), Joulia Strauss (DE), DimitrisTzamouranis (GR),Dionisis Christofilogiannis (GR) and LiwaaYazji (SY), based on a series of artist workshops curated by Katja Ehrhardt. The formats of the UNIVERSITAS exhibition range from film,video, text, photography, to painting, installation and object. The exhibition is curated by Sotirios Bahtsetzis and marks an attempt to conduct a discussion about common learning in today’s Europe with an eye to our common future.

In the face of over 60 million people migrating today and given the current political situation in Europe with the rising of xenophobia and populist political movements, it becomes imperative to invent new means of bringing people together in a society, without however homogenising them or subjecting them to class hierarchies, social stereotypes and identity politics of all kind. In her essay "We Refugees," (1943) philosopher Hannah Arendt argues for the right of migrants to be politically active and to participate in social practices, while acknowledging in them “the vanguard of their peoples.” When we see the migrant as “the political subject of the 21st century” we necessarily call into question established political principles while challenging notions such as global citizenship, democratic way of living and collective self-mastery. How are we all in Europe to learn and develop from this novel situation?

We believe that culture and education through shared knowledge are the best means to achieve this goal. With the present artistic research project, we want to create a practice- based model of a “community of teachers and learners" (universitas magistrorum et scolarium), to develop a new form of shared knowledge, which remembers its origin as a "community," the literal meaning of the word “Universitas". We want to set a new paradigm by developing a place of study and horizontal transmission of knowledge for the less privileged that demonstrates the cancellation of existing biopolitical exclusion of migrants. “Learning by doing" is what we aim for in the experiment, the means of which will be a collective writing of history of the current situation.

“Migrants” are carriers of culture. We aim at facilitating knowledge-transfer and create a space for developing their specific cultural and artistic skills. They are subjected to a violent migration-process which only they themselves can accurately narrate and which provides Europeans with a chance to learn. In the process of knowledge horizontalization, we want to allow a writing of history in real time, based on the reports of the actual participants (oral history). At the same time, we want to create a framework in which new citizens of Europe can think and act freely exercising their democratic rights. As we know from experience in other projects, it is helpful for migrants fleeing from war zones to have an opportunity to spend time with meaningful activities, rather than being subjected to the hopeless waiting and worrying about their lack of perspective.

The UNIVERSITAS exhibition follows a series of workshops offered by artists from Syrian, Greece and Germany. Sebastian Bayse Schäfer (D), Vilelmini Andrioti (GR), Gudrun Barenbrock (DE), Manaf Halbouni (SY), Georgia Kotretsos (GR), Susanne Winterling (DE) and Liwaa Yazji (SY) from February 6 – 28, 2017 in the Eleusis camp, the Skaramangas camp, the Chora community centre in Exarxia and at the premises of Athens Biennale at Varvakeios and at Bageion. Kalliopi Vagiannaki will present a photographic documentation of the workshops.

At stake are the specific visions and lived realities of those fleeing, at borders, and in the camps. The artists came to work and live together with refugees sharing our stories from the past and our hopes and fears for the future. For the exhibition participants of the workshops and other artists who work in close proximity with the project have been invited to present their works in close dialogue with each other.

AthenSYN is a group of curators, cultural workers and artists, promoting the international cultural exchange with Greece. Founded by curator and art historian Sotirios Bahtsetzis and cultural scientist Katja Ehrhardt, the AthenSYN initiative is aiming to enhance international cultural relations with Greece as a counterweight to the tense political and economic communication with its international partners. Our goals are long-term cooperations between Greek and international cultural and educational institutions through partnerships, exchange, and the initiation, implementation and support of joint projects, with a focus on the German-Greek exchange. By establishing contact networks and an infrastructure, AthenSYN wants to function as a central coordination point and an information platform to reach a wider audience and deepen mutual understanding among cultures. We create forum for dialogue, which provides room for a critical discussion of European cultural development.


Avtonomi Akadimia is an interdisciplinary Academy for students/ professors with different backgrounds and interests. Founded in November 2015 by the visual artist Joulia Strauss, Avtonomi Akadimia provides an opportunity for artists, philosophers, scientists, political activists from Berlin, Athens and many other places to give seminars in the Public Garden of Akadimia Platonos. The program is compiled by learners / teachers themselves, depending on their curiosity and preference. Art and science practice together a profound transformation of the educational landscape while providing a model for an non-disciplinary, intercultural and freely accessible university. It constitutes a radical educational paradigm shift in the context of the identity crisis of contemporary Europe. At the site where Plato taught and where the word Academy originated as a name of an educational institution, the European civilization is being re-thought. Avtonomi Akadimia questions the Empire in which we still live: the concept of militarized nation-states, the division of society into disciplines and disciplinary mechanisms and the exclusion of art from the polis.

“Trii Art Hub” was created by a group of people who work in the fields of Arts, Culture and Education. Its basic aim is to support new creators and artists through the establishment of a specialized network of expertise and the constant promotion of their career in Greece and abroad. A historic building located in the popular area of Koukaki on Drakou Street 9, across the National Museum of Contemporary Art, serves as the company’s base of operations for various cultural activities. The Neoclassical House constitutes an avant-garde meeting point for the members of Trii Art Hub. It also greets professional artists or individuals who just love the Arts and want to participate in the activities of the company. In addition, it can also provide working space for every kind of artistic activity since Trii Art Hub supports innovative proposals for further cultural collaborations. The Company advocates artistic diversity and organizes events in various forms of contemporary art. Its main focus area is the social part of the arts and the significance of the social and cultural exchange of its members. Hence, one of the major aspirations of Trii Art Hub is to promote a more dynamic presence and function of the Arts in daily and social life. Besides exhibitions, seminars and professional development workshops of Trii Art Hub, another noticeable activity is its educational programmes. These plans involve research and practice in different fields of knowledge through artistic work and cultural theory. In this way, the aesthetic and artistic education can be developed in the most creative and enjoyable way.Trii Art Hub was founded by the visual artist Penelope Papaioannou, the visual artist and actor Antonis Maros, the choreographer Yannis Antoniou, the architect Marie Aivaliotis and the educational instructor Ioanna Maria Giakoumaki. However, its establishment and development would not have been possible without the support of a notable team of volunteers such as artists, researchers, scientists and special associates.

At 2pm on April 7 at Varvakeios Agora Square, in connection with the opening of UNIVERSITAS in the evening, Perpetuum Mobile is launching "Artists at Risk (AR) - A Mondial Institution for Art Practitioners under Threat", including the AR Pavilion (an exhibition) and the AR-Safe Havens Athens Residency. This is part of the EU Creative Europe project "Re-Build Refuge Europe" along with AthenSYN, and European Alternatives, which is organising "Talk Real", a political talk show providing a space for discussion on the topic (at 2.30pm).

The exhibition UNIVERSITAS is supported by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Athens.










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