Greek Understanding of Democracy
The modern Greek state has experienced many crises in recent years. How do its citizens deal with it? The dramaturge Gigi Argyropoulou and the historian Kostis Papaioannou talk about the corona pandemic, but also about the situation for refugees in the city of Athens during a drive through the Greek capital.
The video series On the Road to Change brings people in Los Angeles, Berlin, Athens and New Delhi into conversation about what democracies can learn from the pandemic.
In the third episode, curator Gigi Argyropoulou and historian Kostis Papaioannou take us with them on a drive through Athens. From Omonoia Square in the centre of the city, they drive down Syngrou Avenue to the cultural centres built by the Onassis and Niarchos private foundations. In the last years these two large building complexes have had a major impact on the Athens skyline and the city’s cultural landscape. During the drive, both of them talk about the lack of urban planning, the various crises of the past years and decades as well as the positive impulses that are visible in the art and culture scene.
As they travel back to the centre, they pass the parliament building and Syntagma Square before arriving in the alternative neighbourhood of Exarchia, where Lefteris Papagiannakis, the head of the Greek Council for Refugees, speaks with them about the role the municipality plays in determining the kind of welcome refugees receive in Athens. The final stop of the car ride is on the hills of Tourkovounia, which offer a view of the city from above – and a glimpse into the future.
IntervieweesGigi Argyropoulou is a theorist, curator, dramaturg and practitioner working in the fields of performance and cultural practice. She co-initiated the Do-It-Yourself Performance Biennial and Οχτώ/Eight (Critical Institute for Arts and Politics) in Athens.
Kostis Papaioannou studied history, archaeology and political science and has been involved in the fight against nationalism and racism for years. He was chair of the Greek Section of Amnesty International and a member of the Board of the Greek Union for Human and Civil Rights. He lives and works as a teacher in Athens.
Lefteris Papagiannakis is the head of the Greek Council for Refugees in Athens.