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The Parliament of Bodies

Andreas Angelidakis, Polemos, installation, 2017, dimensions variable

photo: Nils Klinger

Public Programs

The Parliament of Bodies

The Parliament of Bodies, the Public Programs of documenta 14, emerged from the experience of the so-called long summer of migration in Europe, which revealed the simultaneous failure not only of modern representative democratic institutions but also of ethical practices of hospitality. The Parliament was in ruins. The real Parliament was on the streets, constituted by unrepresented and undocumented bodies resisting austerity measures and xenophobic policies.

The Parliament of Bodies acts against the individualization of bodies but also against the transformation of bodies into a mass, against the transformation of the public into a marketing target. Against essential origins, reified borders, and identity politics, the Parliament of Bodies proposes to act as a space for cultural activism, inventing new affects and creating synthetic alliances between different world struggles for sovereignty, recognition, and survival. Inspired by micropolitical self-organization, collaborative practices, radical pedagogy, and artistic experiments, the Parliament of Bodies is a critical device to queer both the ruins of democratic intuitions as well as the traditional formats of the exhibition and public programs. It brings together artists, activists, theorists, performers, workers, migrants, et cetera to experiment collectively on a radical transformation of the public sphere and the proliferation of new forms of subjectivity. The Parliament of Bodies is neither a bank nor a collection of data, neither “folk” nor a corporation.… More

The Parliament of Bodies began construction in Athens seven months before the opening of the documenta 14 exhibition, launching in September 2016 with 34 Exercises of Freedom at the Municipality Arts Center at Parko Eleftherias. Since then, it has been assembled through six Open Form Societies: the Noospheric Society, dedicated to alternative technologies of consciousness (coordinated with Angelo Plessas); the Apatride Society for the Political Others (coordinated with Nelli Kambouri, Margarita Tsomou, and Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz), exploring anticolonial discourses and practices, global migration, and the current transformation of the nation-state; the Society of Friends of Sotiria Bellou (developed with AMOQA, Athens Museum of Queer Arts), dedicated to the proliferation of queer and transfeminist politics; the Society for the End of Necropolitics (coordinated with Georgia Sagri), which looks for ways to counter the technologies of death of capitalist colonial history; the Society of Friends of Ulises Carrión (coordinated with Arnisa Zeqo), which takes the tactics of the eponymous Mexican artist as a starting point to examine cultural strategies and practices of noninstitutionalized art; and the Cooperativist Society (coordinated with Emanuele Braga and Enric Duran), working on circular economy and “communing.”

The Open Form Societies have been modeled on La Société des amis des noirs, created in France in 1788 to abolish the slave trade, promoting the creation of social and friendly bonds between those who were considered citizens and those who were considered legally and politically unequal. They pursued these aims vigorously by writing and publishing antislavery books, prints, posters, and pamphlets and by organizing public lecture tours and theatrical displays in the towns and cities of Europe. At the heart of colonial empires, antislavery societies functioned as a countercultural public program to develop epistemological, discursive, political, and poetic-imagination alternatives to the colonial regime. Likewise, the Open Form Societies of the Parliament of Bodies aim to act at the heart of the exhibition device, within the complexity of a global neoliberal economy, in a context of growing neocolonial and neofascist discourses. The treatment imposed on Greece since the beginning of the new century has announced the current transformation of global Western politics.

Beginning in January 2017, the singular societies began to cross-pollinate, creating friction and bringing different languages and practices into dialogue. Three weeks after the April opening of the exhibition in Athens, the Parliament of Bodies gathered for the first time in Kassel, calling for an antifascist, transfeminist, and antiracist coalition. The Parliament of Bodies took W. E. B. Du Bois’s question “How does it feel to be a problem?” as a possible interpellation directed today at the “99 percent” of the planet, taking into consideration the process that African philosopher Achille Mbembe has called “becoming black of the world.” That event gathered all the Athenian societies of the Parliament together with the Society of Friends of Halit, the first society of the Parliament in Kassel, dedicated to fight institutionalized forms of racism and named to honor the memory of Halit Yozgat, murdered in Kassel by neo-Nazis in 2006. June 2017 sees the inception of other new societies, such as the Society of Friends of Lorenza Böttner, named after the mouth and foot painter and performer Lorenza and dedicated to physical and neurological diversity and ghting disability oppression.

As an institution-in-becoming and without constitution, the Parliament of Bodies inhabits sites of contested histories whose memories force us to question hegemonic and romanticized narratives of democratic Europe. In Athens, it is located in Parko Eleftherias at the Municipality Arts Center, a building that was the headquarters of military police during the years of dictatorship in Greece, between 1967 and 1974. In Kassel, the Parliament of Bodies is hosted in the rotunda of the Fridericianum. Constructed under Friedrich II, the building opened in 1779 as a library and one of the first public museums in Europe. In 1810, Jérôme Bonaparte, King of Westphalia and Napoleon’s youngest brother, for a short period transformed the rotunda of the Fridericianum into the first parliamentary building in Germany. In the 1930s, the building also served as a gathering place for the Nazi Party, before being burnt to ruins during bombing raids on Kassel in 1941 and 1943. From 1955, it has been the most emblematic site of the documenta exhibition.

Throughout the run of documenta 14, the Parliament of Bodies with its societies will be active both in Athens and Kassel,
like a dissonant and yet synchronic practice of heteroglossia and heterogeneity. Nomadic and performative, working as a stateless heterotopia by means of multiplication and displacement, the Parliament of Bodies acts within the spaces of the exhibition as well as within spaces of both cities (theaters, associations, studios, squares . . . ) that are experimenting with new forms of sovereignty beyond the norm.

Black Athena Reloaded 2: A Trial of the Code Noir

with Colin Dayan, Pélagie Gbaguidi, Tavia Nyong’o, David Scott, and Françoise Vergès

Books are material surfaces of inscription where political fictions have the opportunity to become collective reality. The Code Noir was an economic and legal decree passed by King Louis XIV in 1685 to…

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No One is Illegal

with Martin Rapp, Rex Osa, and Ralf Homann

Twenty years ago, the No One is Illegal campaign was established as a decentralized network of anti-racist, migrant, and refugee-solidarity groups within documenta X’s Hybrid Workspace. Since then, it…

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Calendar

How does it feel to be a problem?
Kassel, April 27–29, 2017

A performative anti-fascict, trans-feminist, and anti-racist forum…

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Public Programs

The Open Form Societies

In 1787, eleven friends founded the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade in England, with the aim of informing the public about the treatment of enslaved Africans within England, in the colonies, and on plantations, campaigning in favor of a new law to abolish slave trade locally and oversees, and establishing areas in West Africa where Africans could live free of the risk of capture and sale into slavery. The members of the Society pursued these proposals vigorously by writing and publishing antislavery books, abolitionist prints, posters, and pamphlets and by organizing public lecture tours and theatrical displays in English towns and cities. A year later, following the same model of action, La Société des Amis des Noirs was founded in France. Organized as “societies of friends,” both groups promoted the creation of social and friendly bonds between those who were considered legally and politically unequal. Two years later, in 1791, the revolt of slaves on the Caribbean island of Saint-Domingue developed into the first major antislavery revolution. Serving as a backdrop to the revolts of slaves within the colonial empires, the societies functioned as a countercultural public program to develop an epistemological, discursive, political, and poetic imagination alternative to the colonial regime.… More

Revolution starts with reading and writing. Revolution starts with theater and public talks. With debating and sharing. Revolution starts with friendship.

Within the context of the “world integrated capitalism” of the twenty-first century, the documenta 14 Public Programs, in collaboration with the Athens School of Fine Art, supports the development of a series of Societies for the transformation of the political imagination.

Inspired both by the “Open Form” methodology of artist and architect Oskar Hansen, and by the potential of spontaneous meetings to generate social and political change, the Open Form Societies work like self-learning, self-organized micropublics that generate their own activities.

Athens Municipality Arts Center at Parko Eleftherias is the main home of the Societies in Athens, although they can move freely within the city and contaminate other spaces, ranging from Prevelakis Hall at the Polytechnion to different archives, cafés, and cinemas, or uncharted areas of the city. The Societies develop their activities from October 2016 until the opening of the exhibition in Athens in April 2017, transforming themselves progressively into the public infrastructure of the exhibition.

The Societies meet at least once a month around a series of activities: seminars, screenings, workshops, walks, reading sessions, and artists’ interventions. All the activities of the Societies are free and open to the public. Anyone can be member of any of the given Societies. The members share knowledge and practices (bibliographies, references, and archives) and decide on the future events of the Society. It is not necessary to be a member of a Society to participate in any of its events.

Each Society may determine its own temporality and forms of action. There is no fixed ontology for a Society. A Society is the result of its own performative practice. Therefore, a Society can mutate in accordance with its participants, its actions, or its alliances with other collectives or Societies. More Societies can emerge over time, or several Societies can merge and create another hybrid institution.

Mutating and performative, together the Societies constitute the affective soul of the Parliament of Bodies to come.


Six Societies are hosted at Athens Municipality Arts Center at Parko Eleftherias.

Starting in October 2016:
- The Apatride Society for the Political Others, coordinated by Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz, Nelli Kambouri, and Margarita Tsomou
- The Society for the End of Necropolitics, coordinated by Paul B. Preciado
​- The Noospheric Society, coordinated by Angelo Plessas

Starting in December 2016:
- The Society of Friends of Sotiria Bellou, coordinated by Paul B. Preciado, in collaboration with AMOQA, Athens Museum of Queer Arts
- The Society of Friends of Ulises Carrión, coordinated by Arnisa Zeqo in collaboration with Pierre Bal-Blanc and Hendrik Folkerts

Starting in January 2017:
- The Society for Collective Hallucination, coordinated by Hila Peleg and Ben Russell

The Society for the End of Necropolitics

At the turn of the last century, African thinker Achille Mbembe developed an urgent decolonial critique of Michel Foucault’s concept of “governmentality,” the process through which techniques of…

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Public Programs

The Apatride Society of the Political Others

The Apatride Society of the Political Others:
Integrated World Capitalism and the Ithageneia Condition

Coordinated by: Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz, Nelli Kambouri, and Margarita Tsomou

In Greek the word most…

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Public Programs

The Noospheric Society

The Noospheric Society:
Rituals and Attempts to Transform Consciousness

Coordinated by Angelo Plessas

"As we keep gaining knowledge and wisdom from the cybersphere, at some point we will transform into…

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Public Programs

The Society of Friends of Ulises Carrión

Coordinated by Arnisa Zeqo

Je m’appelle Ulises
et toi comment t’appelles-tu?

The Society of Friends of Ulises Carrión takes the work and methods of the Mexican artist Ulises Carrión (1941–89) as…

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Public Programs

The Cooperativist Society

The world needs cooperation. The crisis of the last ten years has been a crisis of trust: debts, loans, and derivatives are means by which capital produces political control in neoliberalism. It has been…

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Public Programs

The Society of Friends of Halit

Coordinated by Ayse Gülec, Initiative 6. April, and Kassel postkolonial

On April 6, 2006, twenty-one year-old Halit Yozgat was killed in a family operated internet café in Kassel’s Nordstadt. Halit…

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Public Programs

34 Exercises of Freedom

You are invited to be part of the Parliament of Bodies documenta 14 public program, hosted in the Athens Municipality Arts Center at Parko Eleftherias in September 2016. What will happen here during ten days of programming is neither a conference nor an exhibition.

We have avoided conventional museological names that establish distinctions between talk and performance, theory and action, criticism and art. Instead, we invited forty-five participants to “exercise freedom” within the building, which, not long ago, served as the headquarters of the military police during the dictatorship years. We understand freedom, with Foucault, as neither an individual property nor a natural right, but rather as a practice. We drift in history. There is a space. There are some bodies. There are some voices. But what does it mean to be together, here, now? What can be done? Who and what are made visible? Whose voices can be heard and which remain silent? How can the public sphere be reorganized?… More

In the Parliament of Bodies, you will find neither individual chairs within the building nor a fixed architecture. We avoid positioning the audience as aesthetic visitors or neoliberal consumers. We also reject the democratic fiction of the semicircular amphitheater. We claim—with Oskar Hansen—the political potential of the “open form.” Andreas Angelidakis’s soft architecture consisting of sixty-eight blocks of ruins (the ruins of a democratic parliament?) can be assembled and re-arranged in endless ways, creating multiple and transient architectures for the Parliament of Bodies. You are invited to actively construct this political theater every day, interrogating location, hierarchy, visibility, scale. . .

The 34 Exercises of Freedom aim to write a queer anticolonial symphony of Europe from the 1960s, scripting dialogue and giving visibility to dissident, heterogeneous, and minor narratives. We start by bringing together the radical left tradition with the anti-colonial fight for sovereignty of indigenous movements within Europe. The voice of Antonio Negri­­—one of the founders of the Potere Operaio (Workers’ Power) group in 1969 and member of Autonomia Operaia in Italy—meets the voice of Niillas Somby—the political rights activist fighting for Sámi sovereignty in the north of Norway. Both were accused of different forms of terrorism during the 1970s.

Sidestepping the established opposition of dictatorship and democracy, we try to understand the failures of transitioning to democracy within neoliberal regimes, not only in the case of Greece but also in Spain, Argentina, or Chile: how freedom was misunderstood as the free market. Whereas the 1980s are often portrayed as a time of decline for social emancipation movements, one that heralded the arrival of a new democratic consensus within capitalism—replacing ideological opposition with economic growth—anticolonial, feminist, queer, and anti-AIDS fights started to point out the cracks within western hegemonic discourse. Might it be possible to think the Greek notion of eleftheria (freedom) against the capitalist notion of freedom? Progressively during this ten-day dialogue we aim to introduce contemporary languages of resistance, from the Kurdish revolution in Rojava to the queer, transgender, sex-workers’, and migrant voices in Turkey, Greece, Mexico, or Brazil, from contemporary indigenous fights for restitution to new political and artistic practices dedicated to invent new forms of affect, knowledge, and political subjectivity, such as ecosex, queer-indigenism, and radical performativity. Together they draw a different political and poetic map of Europe than the one designed by the European Union.

#0 Introduction

by Adam Szymczyk, Paul B. Preciado, and Andreas Angelidakis
Calendar

#1

by Linnea Dick

Linnea Dick is the daughter of Pamela Bevan and Beau Dick. She carries the Kawakwaka’wakw name Malidi, meaning “to always find a purpose and path in life.” She is of Kawakwaka’wakw, Nisga’a…

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#2

by Antonio Negri

Antonio Negri is professor of Theory of the State at the University of Padua. Negri actively collaborated in the debates and struggles of workers of the Italian radical left during the 1960s and 1970s…

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#3

by Niillas Somby

Niillas Somby is a Sámi political-rights activist, journalist, videographer, and photographer. He was one of the seven hunger strikers during the Alta controversy (1982) and lost an arm during a sabotage…

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#4 Educación cívica / Civic Education

by Sergio Zevallos

Mimicking bodybuilding training sessions, Educación cívica / Civic Education attempts to “train” social coexistence between bodies. We are all civilians: Even the soldier maintains a civil identity…

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#5 Freedom as Market Value. Freedom as Practice of Resistance

by Judith Revel

What does it mean to be free when the market exceedingly places the demand on individuals to be free, creative, autonomous, and striving? What is the difference between what Foucault, since the end of…

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#6 Memory under Construction: Towards a Public Memory of Torture in Greece

by Kostis Kornetis

After Argentina’s economic collapse in 2001, a discourse around body politics became strongly engaged in not only tackling but also actively working through the country’s painful dictatorial past…

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#7 Your Neighbor’s Son: The Making of a Torturer

Your Neighbor’s Son: The Making of a Torturer, Jørgen Flindt Pedersen and Erik Stephensen, Denmark, 1981, 52 min.
Film screening

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#8 This is not the Place. Four Visits to Villa Grimaldi: A Chilean Center for Torture and Detention

by Diana Taylor

Over the past ten years, Taylor has visited Chile's notorious Villa Grimaldi with survivors of torture as well as alone, using an audio tour. What does it mean to be in a place of torture and disappearance?…

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#9 Between Terror and Revelry. Collective Strategies of Resistance during Dictatorships in Argentina and Brazil

by Ana Longoni

Both the Brazilian (1964–85) and the Argentine (1976–83) dictatorships were part of the Operación Condor, an illegal repression plan coordinated by different governments of Latin America, conceived…

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#10 DJ set

by Lies van Born
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#11 Torture and Freedom Tour of Athens

by Vangelis Karamanolakis, Tasos Sakellaropoulos, Kostis Karpozilos, and Katerina Labrinou

Collective walk through the city of Athens, in collaboration with ASKI archives, exploring the historical traces of oppression, violence, and the quest for freedom during the military dictatorship of 1967–74.

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#12 The Chronicle of the Dictatorship (1967–74)

by Pantelis Voulgaris

The Chronicle of the Dictatorship (1967–74), Pantelis Voulgaris, Greece, 37 min
Film screening

Εpitaph for Democracy
(9:30–11 pm)

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#13 Epitafios II

by Angela Brouskou – Theatro Domatiou and MiniMaximum ImproVision

Epitafios II is a collaboration between professional actors, musicians, students, performers, and the audience. A blanket of human bodies and objects covers the floor of the former headquarters of the…

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#14 Ojo de gusano: Don’t Look Down

by Regina José Galindo

Cayeron en Guatemala
Cayeron en Honduras
Cayeron en Nicaragua
Cayeron en El Salvador
Cayeron en Panamá
Cayeron en Venezuela
Cayeron en Perú
Cayeron en Colombia
Cayeron en Uruguay
Cayeron en Paraguay
Cayeron en…

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#15 Chronotopes / Dystopic Geometries / Terrifying Geographies

by Νeni Panourgia

Mikhail Bakhtin tells us that the chronotope connects temporal and spatial relationships of language to the ideological and political context that has produced them. Time, Bakhtin says, “thickens, takes…

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#16 Lingua Tertii Imperii

by Daniel García Andújar

Democracy has become a matter of aesthetics. The stage of the public has become a kind of orchestrated video game or operetta with a few recited parts; this operetta is performed daily for a people overwhelmed…

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#17 Red Star, Crescent Moon / after Sohail Daulatzai

by Naeem Mohaiemen

In Black Star, Crescent Moon (2012), scholar Sohail Daulatzai charts post-1950s Black internationalism as an intersecting history of black Muslims, black radicals, and the Muslim third world. In response…

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#18 Soundscapes of Detention: Music and Torture under the Junta (1967–74)

by Anna Papaeti

Although torture under the Greek military junta (1967–74) has been subject to scrutiny, with important trials in Strasbourg (1968–69) and Greece (the so-called “Torturers’ Trials,” 1975), the…

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#19 Attempt. Come.

by Georgia Sagri

Attempt.
Come.
Undefined.
Be the point of no-reference.
Constant,
and as a state of formation.
Play.
Continue to play with the beat.
Vibrate with me, so chaos can enter.
It is an invitation.
Come.
As water.
As the…

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#20 Transgressive Listening

by Stathis Gourgouris

Stathis Gourgouris is professor at the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University, New York. He is the author of Synaesthetics of the Polity (forthcoming, 2018); The Perils…

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#21 Outlawed Social Life

by Candice Hopkins

U'mista, in the Kwak'wala language, means the return of something or someone thought to be lost or taken. In Alert Bay and Cape Mudge, First Nations communities along the northwest coast of Canada repatriated…

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#22 I Owe You Everything

by Clémentine Deliss and Chief Robert Joseph

I Owe You Everything is a project that chooses and follows a series of contemporary thinkers, poets, and activists who are invited to construct a public “act of giving,” a critical and poetic ritual…

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#23 Interior Effects as an Outcome of War

by Bonita Ely

You are invited to join artist Bonita Ely in a workshop to discuss the ongoing, inter-generational effects of undiagnosed, untreated posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) suffered by family members of returned…

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#24 They Glow in the Dark

by Panayotis Evangelidis

They Glow in the Dark, Panayotis Evangelidis, Greece, 2013, 69 min.
Film screening and discussion with director Panayotis Evangelidis…

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#25 An Evening with Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens and Wet Dreams Water Ritual

An invitation to partake of the pleasures and perils of water. In collaborating with local artists, activists, musicians, sex workers, refugees, and other humans and non-humans.

Note: Please bring some…

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#26 The Waltz of the Dirty Streets

by Adespotes Skyles

This performance is inspired by all those people who at some point, in some place, in some way reacted to what was putting them down by posing thousands of questions. By all those who, if only for a brief…

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#27 Decolonizing Memory: Vita Futurities in the Americas

by Macarena Gómez-Barris

In this talk, Gómez-Barris asks how we might decolonize memory to activate different potential alternative and anti-capitalist futures. Specifically, the talk addresses how the evacuation of colonial…

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#28 Rojava is a Women’s Revolution: Jineology as Women’s Science

by Hawzhin Azeez

The revolution in Rojava in western Kurdistan has been gaining international traction across leftist groups and organizations. Despite the immense socio-political gains and the colossal fundamental changes…

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#29 Trans*: Bodies and Power in the Age of Transgenderism

by Jack Halberstam

Halberstam’s recent research has focused on the exponential increase in the last decade of public discussion in the US and Europe around transgenderism. In his upcoming book Trans*. A Quick and Quirky…

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#30 #Direnayol (#Resistayol)

by Rüzgâr Buşki

#Direnayol (#Resistayol), documentary by Rüzgâr Buşki, Turkey, 2016, 60 min.
Film premiere

A group of friends get together in Istanbul to make a film about the Turkish trans and sex worker activist Şevval…

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#31 Voices of Trans and Queer Politics in the Mediterranean

with Rüzgâr Buşki, Gizem Oruç, Şevval Kılıç, Margarita Tsomou, Maria Mitsopoulou aka Maria F. Dolores, Anna Apostolelli, and Tina Voreadi

With:

Rüzgâr Buşki, multimedia artist and producer, member of Kanka Productions
Gizem Oruç, musician, producer, and multimedia artist, member of Kanka Productions
Şevval Kılıç, sex worker, queer…

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#32 Queer Indie Gig, HTH Green to Blue Shock Treatment

by Prasini Lesvia

Prasini Lesvia is a queer music project created by Alkis Papastathopoulos. This non-radical idea began in late 2012 as a compulsion to communicate experiences of heartbreak, as well as to accept sexual/romantic…

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#33 DJ set

by Gizem Oruç

Gizem Oruç aka 6zm is a musician, producer, and multimedia artist. After receiving a Masters in Chemistry at Boğaziçi University, Oruç started studying Sonic Arts at Istanbul Technical University…

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#34 The Epic of Eleftheria

by Irena Haiduk and Eirini Vakalopoulou

In the East and Far East, the South, deep South, the other side of North, and the Far and the Deep West, history is mostly an oral technique. The poet is a witness. She records and weaves history and allows…

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+ 29 More

Upcoming Events

Filtered by Public Programs Go to full Calendar
JUN
30
The Parliament of Bodies
5 pm–12 am, Parko Eleftherias, Athens Municipality Arts Center and Museum of Anti-dictatorial and Democratic Resistance, Athens Live stream available
JUL
1
The Parliament of Bodies
6–11 pm, Parko Eleftherias, Athens Municipality Arts Center and Museum of Anti-dictatorial and Democratic Resistance, Athens Live stream available
JUL
5
The Parliament of Bodies
by Dimitris Athiridis
Screening
8:30 pm, Gloria-Kino, Kassel