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Documenta tries "South" (for its "state of mind"..)

ZOOM DOCUMENTA is from "documentum" : teaching the World "the way to be intellectual" - "docere" stays for teach, "mens" for intellect. When in 2014 Adam Szymczyk, announced Athens as one of the two cities that will be hosting DOCUMENTA 14, we decide to start using the exhibition for the creation of MedioSud. Observing the show, its organization and its documentation, can reveal the patterns of the Total North: thanks to the collaboration of Marina Fokidis and Adam Szymczyk and his team, we will be able to see how North "flattens" everything significant and turns it into construction material for its "wall", a culture wall that's risen to separate North from South until the last bits of South are also turned to Total North, until everything everywhere has been either regularized or obliterated. From the MedioSud Manifesto: "In the NORTH, the deal between society and government has always been clear. During fascism, society is asked to obey, during democracy, society is asked to debate. In both cases - in the NORTH - "art" is supposed to be the authorized voice of society. Therefore, during democracy, art HAS to debate". The spectacle of Documenta 14 will be a Spectacle of Debate: once this edition will be over, another one, very similar, even exactly the same, will began in some other place of the planet. Those spectacles will go on forever, unless "we" -the artists of MedioSud- step in, take them in our hands and our computers, start using them and manipulating them, start destroying them..

Let's start looking

The idea..

The idea of MedioSud was born when Marina Fokidis invited me to write a text for her new-born magazine South as a State of Mind. After many years spend in the North (New York/Los Angeles/London/Paris/Milan), I was living again in the South of Europe - in Rome where my daughter Alpha was just born. Looking around me, I start thinking.. "What is this place now- the mediterranean basin- after-the-Internet? After all these years -32 from when I left Greece... What's happening to my friends, my family, friend-enemies such as Marina, all of them now crying for help as if the sky has just fallen on their heads- (the crisis! the crisis!)"? I knew they all had a lot of problems now, from when I left the USA-where things are easy for the privileged- I start having problems myself. Still, having recently spend a bit of time in Colombia where the crisis is permanent, I couldn't really believe that the reasons for this massive despair is just the economy. Also, having just visited Greece, I had found the country and the people there, never looked more interesting and alive! Marina's newly founded magazine was proof of that as it was Greece's new Party, a political formation with a great name: SYRIZA that in 2015 would become Government! From Rome, I looked now Europe and I suddenly start seeing a kind of Middle South (Middle as in in "Middle East") rising! This looked to be a new reality: A "South" no-more, yet not - it wouldn't fully agree becoming- a perfectly functioning territory of "Total North". So I wrote for Fokidis' magazine a text titled "My Family in Middle South" A few months later, Salvatore Lacagnina and Rome's Swiss Institute, asked me to write something about art in Rome (for their contribution to the Berlin Biennial) and I took that opportunity to write a little manifesto about how I imagined Art in Middle South-the art in MedioSud.

Then-suddenly- a miracle: Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) had decide to resign! As South - in Europe at least- was always depending on Christianity, I felt "blessed": the possibility of a Middle-South Political Movement could start existing exactly on the day the Pope resigns because on that day, the world would be left unshadowed -for a bit a least- from that ghost! Therefore, on Feb 28, 2013, myself and a few friends, introduced MedioSud at MACRO , one of the two Museums of Contemporary Art in Rome that I happened back then to be one of its curators. In 2014- Greece surprised us all the way Ratzinger did two year earlier: the SYRIZA government had decide to put together a Mondial Performance by asking the Greek People if they agreed to be exploited by Europe the way Europe was exploiting them (by borrowing them money). Their answer was NO! Europe ignored them and went on exploiting them, this time in collaboration with SYRIZA whose Captain Alexis Tsipras preferred to stay Prime Minister than follow instead the advice of his very revolutionary-thinking Minister of Economy Gianis Varoufakis and get into a frontal class with European Union's bosses . During the same summer- with Greece becoming the new "hot" place to be- Adam Szymczyk, a Polish Art-curator married with a Greek artist, a friend who had started his career with an exhibition that included my work and had worked it up to become director of the upcoming DOCUMENTA 14, announced Athens as one of the two cities that will be hosting it!

It was during that summer, the Greek Summer of NO that I decide to use Adam and his Documenta to start building up MedioSud in Greece and while I was into that, Gianis Varoufakis and his friends launched DiEM25, a Pan-European political movement that is also trying to use European Union's existing institutions to "create a "full-fledged democracy with a sovereign Parliament respecting national self-determination and sharing power with national Parliaments, regional assemblies and municipal councils".

Miltos Manetas, Bogota, 2017

DIEM 25: MedioSud is searching for an identity



“In Rome, Italy

MedioSud is born

We introduced MedioSud at MACRO (Rome's Contemporary Art Civic Museum), on the day the Pope resigned. We did so because God's authority in our world-that day- was loosen (at least for Catholics) and also because although Mr. Ratzinger's is a German, his behaviour was typically "MedioSud": the Pope was leaving indeed this job, because it was impossible for him to follow, "too many trips, too many people, too much visibility" he said... The exact hour that the Pope was to be dropping out of Christianity (the Pope can't leave his place and expect to continue belonging to his faith)-was 8 pm, so we decide to launch MedioSud at 20:20. That was the first FourFortyFour moment in the indefinite, (nobody knew how long will take to Vatican to elect God's new representative) God-Free time Ratzinger was offering to all of us. Antonio Rainone-the philosopher- wrote me on an email: "For Christianity, Time isn't a human affair but it belongs to God. Its exactly the Pope- God's representative, the one who governs Time..

Ossi di seppia

Non domandarci la formula che mondi possa aprirti
sì qualche storta sillaba e secca come un ramo.
Codesto solo oggi possiamo dirti,
ciò che non siamo, ciò che non vogliamo.

"Non chiederci la parola", Eugenio Montale, 1925

Cuttlefish bones

Don’t ask me for formulas to open worlds for you
all I have are gnarled syllables, branch-dry.
All I can tell you now is this:
what we are not, what we do not want.

"Don’t Ask Me for Words", Eugenio Montale, 1925

Κόκαλα σουπιάς

Μην μου ζητάς την φόρμουλα
που κόσμους θα σου ανοίξει,
Ίσως μια κάποια συλλαβή στρεβλή
σαν το ξερό κλαδί
Δεν έχουμε άλλο τίποτα σήμερα να σου πούμε
Μονο το τι δεν είμαστε, τι δεν επιθυμούμε.

"Μη μας ζητάς τη λέξη", Εουτζένιο Μοντάλε, 1925

»today, all that we can tell you«

»is what we are not«

»what we don't want«

Mediosud launching at MACRO

Mediosud launching at MACRO

Mediosud launching at MACRO

Mediosud launching at MACRO

Mediosud launching at MACRO

Mediosud launching at MACRO

Mediosud launching at MACRO

Mediosud launching at MACRO

Mediosud launching at MACRO

Mediosud launching at MACRO

Mediosud launching at MACRO

Mediosud launching at MACRO

Mediosud launching at MACRO

»This is definitely a new south«
»populated by MAC (man-after-computers/man-after-contemporary art)«

"South as a State of Mind", Issue #1: My Family in Middle South

“In Rome, Italy

My family at “Middle South”

I am born and grown up in Greece: that definitely makes me a Southerner. Those days, phones were analogue and while my mother was working at the central phone station connecting phone calls as a phone operator, my father was repairing the electric circuits at the same building.

Outside that building and all over Greece, old ladies in black were everywhere, orbiting like human satellites around our life from its beginning until its end. Apart from a few politicians, no Greek would bother if he is a European and had no need to prove it either. There was a single book on the History of Modern Art, but you could go find Tsarouchis at his garden in Marousi and look at him while he was painting. Google cars would not take pictures for their maps: it was a totally PC universe (PreComputers and PreContemporary art) and I remember myself in it, excited, bored and happy


SOUTH'S unlucky history”

SOUTH was published by Marina Fokidis, a lady trapped between North and South. Charismatic but not-determined, courageous but not always, dedicated still losing most of her time doing "jobs", Marina would always throw her diamonds to the dogs: after 5 amazingly "South" issues, she gave the magazine to the Northerners of DOCUMENTA with the illusion that once they are done with it, she"ll bring back somehow its originality.

Find here "South" before and after

"P/ACT FOR ART", 7 Berlin Biennale

Rome, Italy

»P/Act for Art published«
»by Rome's Swiss Institute«
»in the ambit«
»of the 7 Berlin Biennale«

ART in MedioSud

Our lifestyle is now updated in real time. At the same time, all kinds of distances are cancelled.
Everywhere in the world, South and North become just one: NORTH.
In the Western territories of the Northern World and mostly Europe, a new Middle South is born.

In the NORTH, the deal between society and government was always clear.
During fascism, society is asked to obey, during democracy, society is asked to debate.
In both cases - in the NORTH - art is the authorized voice of society.
Therefore, during democracy, art HAS to debate.

In the old South the deal between society and government has never been clear
and its not clear at the new Middle South either .
This new MIDDLE SOUTH is already visible in the self-transforming territories such as Greece and Italy below Rome.
People there aren't perfectly comfortable, even if they accept the ultra-modern NORTHERN lifestyle,
they are searching for an art that's somehow different from the very successful industry of isolation our contemporary art has become.

In the NORTH, most public money are spend to protect.
When fascism reigns, culture is protected by regulation.
But even when there is democracy and culture seams free, still it's controlled in elaborate, quite religious ways,
art institutions are the new temples and their directors the new high priests.
The artworks have to make it to the collections of the Museums as sacrifice: artefacts of propitiation and worship.

The people of the new MIDDLE SOUTH aren't perfectly happy with this Church of Art. They are already looking for alternatives.
Art forms in websites, videogames and software pass from one computer to another,
from one network to another, they belong to collections and at the same time to everyone: they are digital graffiti.
In cities such as Rome, where real graffiti are either immediately erased or blackened out,
such Digital Graffiti are absolutely necessary. Speaking about Rome, I believe that this city is our new MIDDLE SOUTH's Capital.

Rome is an important city, the way Berlin was once important, (when it had a Wall).
In Rome there's still an emblematic wall: the Wall of Vatican.
On that ancient wall, the new wave of Middle South crashes. The Vatican Wall is the first obstacle that our new MIDDLE SOUTH
We need to throw down.
In the process, all kinds of signed graffiti-such as Sistine Chapel-will be liberated and that will bring good luck to the art of our new MIDDLE SOUTH



"SUMMER OF NO", the summer of our discontent


Yes Michel...

-Is there something wrong with this page? Asks Michel Reijns, the press-person of EU Council's General Secretary of the on July 27, 2015, a few days before the Referendum launched by the Greek Government.
-Yes Michel.. something IS wrong.."The Eurogroup has been open until the very last moment to further support the Greek people through a continued growth-oriented program" - writes Michel at the Eurogroup's website - "Regrettably, despite efforts at al levels and full support of the Eurogroup, this proposal has been rejected by the Greek authorities who broke off the program negotiations late on the 26 June unilaterally. The Eurogroup recalls the significant financial transfers and support provided to Greece over the last years"
"The Eurogroup takes note of the decision of the Greek government to put forward a proposal to cal for a referendum".

Like a patient parent, “Europe” tries to educate Greece and give it a second and a third chance to become full Europe, full North. But Greece is ruining those efforts. The (poor) country wants a REFERENDUM now, that’s too much for the EU and its Council.. Greece governors want to ask the multitude if it agrees honoring “Europe's” demands and ultimatum, only that Democracy is a fine concept for Europe only as far as its worked out by professionals (economists, political parties etc.), definitely NOT depending on the multitude. I don’t trust “the people” either, they just mess up everything that’s cool and great. Consumerism/nationalism/religion/spectacle/leisure tourism seams to be what “the people” care for. Or that has changed? Maybe the multitude upgraded lately, after all now it has internet. So why not ask “the people” stuff? Europe's aversion towards Experimental Democracy is suspicious. Continents a lot more important (because of their link to nature) such as Latin America and Africa- are looking now to Europe for a paradigm (US and ASIA enslaved in their monetary interests, seam to just following their miserable destiny dictated by consumerism/nationalism/religion/spectacle/leisure tourism).

» Discontent with "Europe" «
» Discontent with «
» "Democracy" «

ART'S HALLOWEEN: North plays South