Primarolia Festival, under the theme of Networks, has successfully reached its end for 2021, following the success of previous festivals since 2019. Following the thread of national celebrations of 200 years since the Greek War of Independence 1821, Primarolia organisation considered 2021 as a departing moment for creation, networking, communication and extroversion. The message itself constitutes a revolutionary system and process. In this way, we worked towards a weaving of local and global threads of artists, cultural institutions, researchers, universities and development agencies. Proper timing is a crucial component of all these: a stitch in time saves nine!
For this year, numerous articles and media publications described Primarolia Festival as innovating and experimental. It is such an identity, one which conceives, designs and develops cultural strategies through a dynamic constellation of contemporary art, historical research and place-identity. On such a scheme, Corinthian black currant and paper production – the two main periods of Aigialeia and NW Peloponnese – form a departing platform for artistic production, interdisciplinary research and networked culture.
Keeping all protective measures towards COVID-19, Primarolia Festival 2021 opened its doors on Saturday 25 September, in the renovated atmospheric garden of the former Paper Factory in Aigio, presenting the 3rd exhibition of contemporary art entitled ‘A stitch in time saves nine’ co-curated by Nansy Charitonidou and Bill Psarras; exhibiting new commissioned works by invited artists Maria Varela, Myrto Xanthopoulou and Yiannis Pappas. Within such a garden infused with more than 100 years of memory, the overall visitors attendance was successful, revealing an interest for Primarolia organisation expanded cultural approaches. Visitors of all ages enjoyed new commissioned works of art, which were integrated into the small kiosks of the garden. These artworks explored the curatorial interest on the dynamic link between text and textile; producing expanded in-situ installations (mixed media, paper textile, objects), yet highlighting a dialogue with the historical archives as in the work of Maria Varela, which was solely based on archives by the Women Currant Workers Union Allilovoitheia – or with the particular site (garden, paper factory) as in the works of Myrto Xanthopoulos and Yiannis Pappas. Keeping its aim towards the intersections of contemporary culture and technology, Primarolia organisation documents and digitally maps out the exhibition through a virtual exhibition 360; a project also under the aegis of Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports (2021).
During festival, visitors had the chance to walk through the garden and listen to gathered stories presented as an in situ sound intervention. These sound narratives were produced through a careful elaboration of the collected interview material; part of the ongoing project of Oral History for the Corinthian Black Currant as an element of cultural heritage for all Peloponnese area. The project run as an open collaboration between the ‘Oral History Team for the Black Currant’, the MSc in Public History of the Hellenic Open University and the Greek Union of Oral History. The second leg of the project was presented as a live event (Sunday 3/10) when people from the audience shared their stories from currant activity as farmers and workers in the past. In this event, Haris Athanasiades (HOU) and Riki Van Boeschoten (University of Thessaly) were also invited as part of the research team, underlining the importance of such a project in progress.
During festival, Primarolia organisation launched an official collaboration with the internationally acclaimed Athens Digital Arts Festival, presenting a curated screening of selected video works from the expanded ADAF archive (curation: Antonia Pilarinou). Works were linked with existing themes and aspects of Primarolia festival (seed, sea, journey, network, text, memory); producing a looping set of films in the Polikentro Symposium Center (Aigio). The collaboration was fostered by the attendance of Ilias Chatzichristodoulou (Founder, General Director of ADAF).
The 1st conference dedicated to the histories of Corinthian Black Currant and its impact on the Greek State took place as part of the Primarolia Festival 2021; organized by the Municipality of Aigio and co-organised by Primarolia organisation and DHKEPA. The 2-days conference entitled “Black currant: Its impact on the modern Hellenic state” hosted a series of historians, academics and independent researchers resulting to a roundtable discussion on the importance of such product as a contemporary cultural heritage field.
A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S
- Primarolia organisation would like to thank the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports for the aegis and support // the Municipality of Aigio, DHKEPA and the Region of the Western Greece for their support.
- Warm thanks to the collaborative institutions and platforms: Achaea Development Agency, ADAF Festival (Ilias Chatzichristodoulou, Elli Peristeraki, Antonia Pilarinou), the academics Haris Athanasiades, Riki Van Boeschoten, Oral History Team for the Black Currant, Union of Oral History, Historical archives of Aigialeia, the faculty members of the statutory academic meeting of Dept. of PDA, journalists Kiriaki Beioglou, Afroditi Ermidi, Melina Sidiropoulou, Matina Kaltaki as well as the official media sponsors ERT3, ERT Patras and Ionian Channel.
- Our thanks to Olympia Odos, local companies of Krinos, Cavino, Kintonis Winery, Maistreli, Pleases for their kind sponsorships.
- Our warm thanks to Harmony Hotel Apartments and their team for supporting us since 2019.
- Our warm thanks to all Primarolia volunteers for their precious and friendly support and help since 2019.