The Department of Civil Imagination (DCI) Agency in Athens
Within the scope of the European network that was fostered by the RESHAPE program, 3 137, with the support and in collaboration with Onassis AiR, sets the ground for a dialogue in the contemporary art sector in Greece.
RESHAPE is an experimental, bottom-up research process that proposes instruments for transition towards a fairer arts ecosystem across Europe and the Southern Mediterranean. Forty art workers engaged in collaborative work relating to five major challenges of today’s arts sector: Art and Citizenship, Fair Governance Models, Value of Art in Social Fabric, Solidarity Economies and Transnational/Postnational Artistic Practices. Together they have created a series of Prototypes that reflect and incite the transformation of the art sector towards practices that are more in line with the civil role of the arts.
Paky Vlassopoulou, one of the founding members of 3 137, was a participant of the RESHAPE trajectory Art and Citizenship that created The Department of Civil Imagination (DCI), a fictional department that utilises the ‘civil imagination’ as a radical act to reshape realities in poetic, practical, and political ways following the provocation by adrienne maree brown and Walidah Imarisha that ‘all organizing is science fiction.’
In parallel, over the past few years, 3 137 has been developing a similar methodological tool, through the invention of the immaterial art institution GABRIELA. GABRIELA is a self-reflexive process that functions as a tool, a service, and a manual for questioning the role of―and the labor involved in―artists’ initiatives. The organizational structure of GABRIELA appropriates corporate strategies such as directorship, administration, branding, and communication campaigns to occupy public space and the web, seeking to redistribute itself among its peers.
On the occasion of this meeting between these two fictional entities (DCI & GABRIELA) we present a conversation, in the format of short recorded one-to-one interviews, with the aim to rethink and reimagine on a local level a different arts ecosystem.
The participants were invited to share ideas about the relationship between the private and public sector in cultural production, about the values that can be used to build a code of conduct for workers in the cultural sector and about the value of art in the social fabric.
The collection of recorded interviews is a study that enables us to understand the particular conditions within which the sector operates in Greece, to hear different perspectives in order to map the common ground that might exist for the improvement of the working conditions and the cultural production overall as well as for the development of critical discourse in Greece. The opinions that are presented here are strictly personal. The questions that were posed were the outcome of the conversations between 3 137 and Onassis AiR. The recorded interviews were conducted by Kosmas Nikolaou.
Participants: Christos Carras, Marily Konstantinopoulou & Dimitra Nikolou, Dimitris Passas, Artemis Stamatiadi, Katerina Tselou, Evita Tsokanta, and Venia Vergou.
Venia Vergou, director of the Hellenic Film Commission of the Greek Film Centre (GFC), presents a brief overview of the operation of the Hellenic Film Commission and its key position between the public and private sector, as well as different examples from her daily life and experience in the organization. She describes the essential role that trade unions play in political decision-making and she concludes with a description of the international experience in issues of gender equality, the great distance that needs to be bridged in the domestic market, as well as the practices followed by the Hellenic Film Commission on this matter.
You can download the transcripts of Venia’s recording in English here.
You can find the podcasts of all participants and download their transcripts in English here.
You can listen to Venia’s podcast below.