FFF4 | Piraeus / Heterotopia Akira Takayama

Start Date: May 2, 2017
End Date: May 14, 2017

Location: Pireas

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Two years on from his arresting participation in X Apartments-Athens, the acclaimed Akira Takayama (b. 1969), the Japanese director who has dedicated himself to the search for a new social function for theatre, returns with a large-scale project that will be enacted on the streets of Athens and Piraeus. The starting point: Omonoia. The destination: Piraeus. The goal: to re-discover Athens’ port city and its long history as a departure point for emigrants and a point of arrival for refugees in a hands-on, experiential way by means of an audio-walk laden with historical memories and new experiences, myths and fictions.

Equipped with smartphones, specially designed apps and maps, viewer become geographers and undertake a new topographic, historical, social, political and cultural mapping of Piraeus as they walk the route linking seven landmarks. The desire to reclaim everyday public space and the urban landscape as “other”, familiar and unfamiliar, mythic and real, critical and liminal—a heterotopia, in other words, of the sort described by the French philosopher, Michel Foucault—guides the project. Seven poets, authors and thinkers from around the World join forces to write original texts about Piraeus as an anthropogeographical palimpsest.

The Heterotopia project began life as a radio-tour of Tokyo neighbourhoods in 2013. It has subsequently developed into a specially-designed smartphone app which will cover some 100 landmarks around the Japanese capital by the 2020 Olympic Games. It has already travelled to a number of Asian cities in various guises and variations, and has even quit the pavement for motorcycles as part of a spectacle-visit to one of the resorts/landmarks of Japan’s colonial past. Piraeus/Heterotopia, the first European version of the project, was commissioned by the OCC.

2 May | 19:00 | Janeiro Café (Stadiou & Omonoia Sq.,inside the arcade)
Discussion & presentation on Piraeus/Heterotopia & Piraeus/Heterochronia

Katia Arfara, Dr. in Art History – Theatre specialist, Concept and Artistic direction of the Festival
Akira Takayama, Theater director, Artist and leader of the theatre collective Port B
Hikaru Fujii, Artist and Film director
Pafsanias Karathanasis, Dr. Social Anthropology, University of the Aegean
Eleni Kyramargiou, History, Institute of Historical Research – Νational Hellenic Research Foundation
Athina Stamatopoulou, PhD Candidate, Architect, National Technical University of Athens
Stavros Stavrides, Architect, Associate Professor, School of Architecture, National Technical University of Athens Greece
Concept & Direction: Akira Takayama
Curator of the Project: Katia Arfara
Participant Writers: Kyoo Lee, Rabih Mroué, Theodoros Rakopoulos, Keijiro Suga, George Szirtes, Deniz Utlu, Chen Yu-Chin
Text Supervision: Keijiro Suga
Guidebook Texts: Tatsuki Hayashi
Research: Pafsanias Karathanasis, Athina Stamatopoulou
Research Consultance: Eleni Kyramargiou
Head of Production: Dimitra Dernikou
Project Coordination: Fumiko Toda
App Design: Marinos Koutsomichalis
App & Guidebook Graphic Design: bend
Narrations Editing: Dimitris Karantzas, Dimitris Xanthopoulos

Commissionned and Produced by: Onassis Cultural Centre / Fast Forward Festival (Athens)

Many thanks to: Panayotis Tournikiotis, Yannis Yannitsiotis, Yota Passia, Panayotis Roupas, Fanis Kafantaris, Stavros Kyramargios, Vagelis Tsitouras

We would also like to thank the residents of Drapetsona, refugees from Syria and volunteers in the refugee camp of the Piraeus port for sharing their experiences with us.

Special thanks to: Municipality of Piraeus, Municipality of Drapetsona-Keratsini, Piraeus Port Authority S.A., Archaeological Service of Piraeus, Floating Museum “Hellas Liberty”

Performance Guidelines:
The audience will walk and move outdoors.
We recommend comfortable clothes, hats, and shoes, since the audience’s walk will last approximately three hours.
To use the application, a smartphone is needed – with a 3G or 4G Internet connection – as well as headphones. For those who do not have one, there will be a limited number of phones at the starting point at Omonia Square.
This event is not appropriate for people with mobility difficulties.

Starting points:
Janeiro Café | Stadiou & Omonoia Sq. (inside the arcade)
Museum “Hellas Liberty” | Akti Vasiliadi, Silo building | Piraeus (Gate Ε2)

Dates & time: Tuesday 2 – Sunday 14 May | Opening hours: 11:00-18:00, to download the app and get the tour map
read more
[...] the boat has not only been for our civilization, from the sixteenth century until the present, the great instrument of economic development (I have not been speaking of that today), but has been simultaneously the greatest reserve of the imagination.
The ship is the heterotopia par excellence. In civilizations without boats, dreams dry up, espionage takes the place of adventure, and the police take the place of pirates.
Michel Foucault, Heterotopias (1967)

Akira Takayama (b. 1969) studied Theatre and Linguistics in Germany. He founded the Port B theatre collective, a group of artists, academics and activists, in Tokyo in 2002. Port B is fluid, its composition at any one time depending on the nature of its current projects, which can range from installations in public space to peripatetic performances, theatrical tours, social experiments and lecture-performances. The collective’s projects often feature the use of mp3 players, mobile phones and specially designed mapping apps. Takayama always asks himself the same questions when embarking on a new work: “What is theatre?” and “What new ways can I find to involve theatre in society?”.

The collective is named after Portbou, the Catalan city on the border between France and Spain where Walter Benjamin committed suicide in 1940 rather than be arrested and handed over to the Nazis. Benjamin is a fixed point of reference for Takayama.

Another two key elements of Takayama’s site-specific performances, from the Sunshine skyscraper built on the site of Sukamo jail, where four thousand people were held as criminals during World War Two (Sunshine 62, 2008), to the homeless or Tokyo’s Muslim community (The Complete Manual of Evacuation project, 2010), are the identity/history of particular places (cities, regions, neighbourhoods, buildings and landmarks) and a desire to involve the viewer in them.

The Referendum Project (2011 ongoing) is Takayama’s response to the awakening of the Japanese people and their active response to nuclear power and decommissioning in the wake of the . In it, the public enters a specially designed truck where, having watched a series of interviews about nuclear power with dozens of schoolchildren from Fukushima and Tokyo, they are asked to complete the same questionnaire and take part in an informal mock referendum. The questions they are asked include: “What do you want most right now? What would you do if you were Prime Minister? What will Fukushima and Tokyo be like in the future? What do you dream of?”.

Takayama creates works which take theatre out of its usual context and connect it with other media. His work is underpinned by the desire to revive the “architecture of theatre” by expanding the conventions governing both theatre and the audience in society and urban space. His audience-centric work seeks to create a theatre beyond theatrical space which can serve as a new social platform and function. Recent years have seen him interact with a wide range of fields including tourism, town planning research, the visual arts and architecture, using theatrical ideas to cultivate new potentialities in various media and genres. In Europe, one of his most recent works was Evacuation, which was staged in collaboration with the Künstlerhouse Mousonturm cultural centre in Frankfurt.

Takayama made his Greek première as one of the curators of the X Apartments-Athens project. His contribution brought viewers into contact with three homeless people from Athens and Japan through a peripatetic performance which featured in the OCC’s Fast Forward Festival in 2014. As the Artistic Director for Theatre and Dance at the OCC, Katia Arfara, noted: “The project seeks to articulate a critique of the heterogeneous residential models found in downtown Athens, which have changed the established features of private space and its traditional uses It exhorts us to engage with the inhabitants of Athens in a manner free of spatial idealizations and dangerous distinctions between ‘locals’ and ‘foreigners’, ‘new-comers and ‘old-timers’”.

The name “Piraeus” is derived from the Greek word “pera”, meaning ‘beyond’ in the sense of land distant or opposite. Some claim that it comes from the verb “peraio”, “diaperaiono”, meaning to “carry people from one body of land to another”, since the area was separated from the Attic coast by a marshy area, Alipedio, in what is now Faliro. For more on Piraeus, visit

2-14 MAY 2017

Starting points:
(Opening hours: 11:00-18:00, to download the app and get the tour map)

Janeiro Café | Stadiou & Omonoia Sq. (inside the arcade)
Museum “Hellas Liberty” | Akti Vasiliadi, Silo building | Piraeus (Gate Ε2)

The app is available in English and in Greek.

Event categories: outdoors.

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