Bloomsday in Athens 2015 - Second time around.*

της Maria Andronikou
History of Art Teacher
BA. MA. MRes

Πρώτη δημοσίευση: 2015
*Penelope in Crisis, Visual Artist Team, Rakutenkobo, ebook

In 2013 Vouvoula Skoura once a graphic designer and always a documentarist/video artist, shot The Red Bank, James Joyce. His Greek Notebooks, a film about Joyce and Greek language.
Its starting point was a text by surrealist poet Mando Aravantinou who writing in the late·’70s. claimed that in Ulysses the language o f the subject is Greek . Skoura tracked a path. essentially a kind of existential travelogue linking Trieste, London, New York and Athens. Her images were then meshed with and intricately connected to Vangelis lntzidis’s non-linear multi-layered text.

A linguist who would also become the film's narrator. lntzidis acquired the role of a flaneur without a project voicing a seemingly aimless wandering through the crisis-ridden urban spaces of late capitalism. A film which could be profitably linked to Michel de Certeau’s notion of walking as a kind of speech act, an appropriation of the urban topography, it could also be thought to relate to Edward Said’s notion of exile as a state of never being fully adjusted. a pattern that sets a course for the intellectual as an outsider - for Said always a truer state. The Red Bank is now keeping com- pany to the largest collection of Joyce materials at the University of Buffalo, whilst it has also begun its itinerary of various festivals. A year ago it became the central feature of the first ever Athenian Bloomsday, which took place at Foumos Centre for Digital Culture .

Fournos. a deserted bakery in central Athens a former urban ruin, which became a cultural centre would again be the host for this year's Bloomsday, another sign on the map plotted by JamesJoyce Centre, Dublin, tracking the celebrations all over the world . Under the title Penelope In Crisis. and focusing on the ultimate chapter of Ulysses. Vouvoula Skoura developed the idea of combining her own photos of Dublin with six video installations, one by herself. the other five by fellow-artists Dimitra Fakarou, Teti Kamoutsi, Andreas Lazanis, Vangelis Magoulas and Maria Zacharogianni - men and women of dif ferent ages and backgrounds. The video installations then enveloped the actress Eugenia Marangou and Vangeli s lntzidis. who read parts of Molly's monologue. Skoura’ s black and white photographs initiall y formed a continuous flow running from wall to wall. and giving the impression of a somewhat timeless Dublin, simultaneously pointing to the past and the present.


For the past three days, I have been thinking that that was a rather significant part of the event. It was. I would say something that links the materiality of Molly's monologue to the tangible concrete and always conflictual aspects of the city, which Henri Lefebvre insisted that we need to maintain in its images. Moreover. this fragmentary aspect produced by the relic of an urban ruin also reminds me of Walter Benjamin' s dialectical image- which he identified in the 19th century arcades - leading me to a way of seeing that brings together antithetical elements. If we follow this route.

Skoura’s event -as well as I believe her work on the whole- could be seen as an attempt at what Fredric Jameson has called cognitive mapping, a way of devising a form of contemporary political culture which would benefit from the value of impurity whilst reaf firming and spacializing memory. Her point of view directs us to the idea of reclaiming urban space itself simultaneously pointing to the need of an artistic / political project firmly belonging to our times.

Εικόνα εξωφύλλου: THE RED BANK. James Joyce: Τα τετράδιά του, των Ελληνικών, Βουβούλα Σκούρα, 2013

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THE RED BANK. James Joyce: Τα Τετράδιά του, των Ελληνικών

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