The third and final part of the project ‘Under the Landscape: Therasia 21-22’ consists of a series of cultural events, organized to complement the four-day Symposium Under the Landscape. A two-part exhibition, hosted in both islands of Santorini and Therasia, accompanied the discussions of the Symposium, reinforcing the public dimension of the culture-centered project ‘Under the Landscape’ by sharing it with a wider audience.
A two-part exhibition.
The exhibition consisted of two parts - one in Santorini and one in Therasia. The curatorial team choseto follow two complementary exhibition strategies corresponding to the neighboring islands. The two parts are closely related to each other, inviting the visitor to travel from Santorini to Therasia in order to discover their connections.
The first part of the exhibition in Santorini, entitled "Knowing from below: the case of theran earth", curated by Boulouki and the consultant museologist Erato Koutsoudaki, focuses on the presentation of the particular methodology, findings and results of the entire "Under the Landscape" project; drawing on the geological and productive history of the place, everyday practices and customs, following the trans-local routes of the theran earth and critically discussing the issues of sustainability and 'revitalization' of contemporary building practices. While, the part of Therasia entitled "In Ex Situ", curated by architect & artist Giouli Stylianidou and architect & curator Maria Chassioti - collaborators of Boulouki - focuses entirely on its artistic dimension, as a result of the research and workshop implemented in previous stages of the 'Under the Landscape' project, where nine (9) students of the School of Fine Arts were invited to use the natural materials of the place and the traditional techniques in order to interpret the landscape through their own original sculptural works.
The Exhibition Under the Landscape was organised by “Boulouki - Itinerant Workshop on traditional Building Techniques”, implemented under the aegis of the Technical Chamber of Greece and the Ministry of Culture and Sport and supported by JM Kaplan Fund, Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), Headley Trust, AEGEAS Non-Profit Civil Company, Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Company, Cyclades Preservation Fund, Blue Star Ferries and local businesses.
Under the Landscape Exhibition
> PART A _ Knowing from Below: Research and Practice “Under The Landscape”
> PART B _ In/Ex Situ: Contemporary Sculpture and Painting
PART A _ Knowing from Below: Research and Practice “Under The Landscape”
In Tomato Industrial Museum “D. Nomikos”
The exhibition part in Santorini was designed as an 'extrovert' platform, presenting the results of the workshops and research organized by Boulouki throughout 2021 with a focus on Therasia and posing the question: does theran earth concern us today? And if it does, why and how?
The first part, entitled "Knowing from below: the case of Theran earth", was hosted at the Tomato Industrial Museum, in the special landscape of Vlychada. It invites us on a journey back in history; a journey that begins 30,000 years ago, passing by caves and vineyards to listen to harvesting songs and touch the theran earth with bare hand; to learn in which ports of the world theran earth was used and whether the Romans used concrete.
Through eight thematic sections, the visitor had the opportunity to learn how these two islands formed geologically, how humans adapted to this landscape to meet their needs, what it was like when the abandoned settlement of Agrilia was still inhabited, and of course, how to build with theran earth. In the end, the exhibition invites us to learn "from below" how we can use our past to help our future.
More specifically, the exhibition "Knowing from Below" was organized in the following eight thematic sections:
The first section presented evidence from the geological history of the Santorini Archipelago, through a variety of exhibits, answering questions such as: How many eruptions have there been in the Archipelago of Santorini area and what does a rain fossil look like? How are the islands of Santorini and Therasia depicted in a 15th century isolario and in modern geological maps?
2. Production and Culture
The second section dealt with the productive landscape of Thera and Therasia as the theran earth has been a valuable material for use in building materials from antiquity to modern history and the subject of systematic mining for more than 120 years. The section answered questions such as: What was it like to work in the mines of theran earth and how was the material loaded from the caldera onto the ships? How long does the grape harvest last and what does a Santorini ‘kouloura’ look like?
3. Stories of the Theran earth-An Aegean Analogue-The Rudofsky case
The third section sought stories and routes of theran earth, showcasing archival material of the 19th and the beginning of 20th century scientific researches and books. Theran earth had been the focus of great scientific and technological interest for its use in architecture and infrastructure projects at that time. A variety of exhibits from books to historical documentation items were exhibited.
4. Agrilia, dwelling in the caves
The fourth section focused on the characteristics of the abandoned cave settlement of Agrilia in terms of its history, architecture, infrastructure and cultural identity, while showcasing the area of intervention of the participatory project.
5.Under the Landscape, 2021 – 2022
In the fifth section, the overall "Under the Landscape" project was presented in the form of a timeline, describing in detail all the stages, including the seminars that took place in the hands-on workshop between September 6-17 2021.
6. Stirring the ashes
The sixth section includes interviews with old masons, laboratory analyses, archival research and practical experiments of Boulouki, in an attempt to "stir the ashes" of this forgotten knowledge and draw lessons from it. A variety of exhibits -from tools to laboratory tests- were presented.
7. Projects of Resurgence - The vitality of water
In the seventh section, Boulouki expressed its view on sustainable building practices and sought out groups active in broader issues of resurgence of the natural and built environment. In addition, pictures were presented from the “Microdams” project in Paros, regarding the construction of dry stone dams in order to enrich the aquifer.
8.Boulouki In place-_on the road
The eighth and final section of the exhibition presented the overall work of Boulouki since its first project, in August 2018. An interdisciplinary itinerant workshop, which studies and promotes traditional building materials and techniques, through workshops and integrated construction projects, organized with the participation of local communities.
The exhibits, as well as the visual material of the exhibition, created a narrative-cognitive environment that reconstructed and relayed the experience of the program, highlighting its participatory and pedagogical dimensions, while opening up new perspectives of research and creation. Granted material - from digital material to physical exhibits such as books, rocks, maps, models, etc. - from various agencies and individuals, including the following:
- Architekturzentrum Wien - AzW
- Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Company
- Academy of Athens
- Technical Chamber of Greece
- National History Museum
- Greek Film Centre
- Aik. Laskaridis Foundation
- Santorini Archive Project - SAP
- National Technical University of Athens
- Hellenic Survey of Geology and Mineral Exploration
- Individual private collectors from Santorini
- Dissemination Science Communication (DISSCO)
- BC Architects
The opening of "Knowing from Below" exhibition took place on Sunday, June 26, 2022, alongside the scheduled keynote lectures of the Symposium. The event attended internationally renowned academics and participants of the symposium, as well as a large number of visitors. It is worth noting that the exhibition had a significant success, resultings to the extension of its period three times (initially until July 24 and then until September 18, October 23 and finally October 30). The exhibition was open everyday apart from Mondays, with free entry for all.
PART B _ In/Ex Situ: Contemporary Sculpture and Painting
The exhibition part In/Ex Situ focused on the artistic dimension of the programme "Under the Landscape", putting the almost abandoned underground settlement of Agrilia back in the spotlight. An old kanava [underground space for the production of wine], along the axis of its now restored cobbled pathway, is transformed into an exhibition space for the sculptural creations of the Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA) students.
Most of the artworks were created within the framework of the “Under the Landscape” project, in an attempt to further explore the use of local, traditional building materials – ‘theran earth’, pumice, black volcanic stone, red tuff and lime – in contemporary sculptural creation. The ASFA students participated in a sequence of events, from May to September 2021, as part of the creation process:
A 3day field research in Therasia
A one-day visit at the Building Materials Lab of the National Technological University of Athens (NTUA) in order to further experiment with local materials
A 12day artistic residency hosted at the historical Monastery of the Assumption of Virgin Mary
Alongside the works of the students, the exhibition presents artworks by faculty members of the Athens School of Fine Arts, as well as by acknowledged local artists based on the island.
More specifically, the exhibition displayed the landscape of Agrilia and Santorini in Christoforos Asimis’s paintings, forms of people and animals in the metal sculptures of Eleni Kolaitou, the geometric "balance" in the marble work of Grigorios Kouskouris, a ceramic anthropomorphic sculpture of sculptor and rector of the ASFA Nikos Tranos, ceramic objects of the sculptor and professor of ASFA Loukas Loukidis, as well as sculptural "physical" experiments from theran earth and lime, created by Giouli Stylianidou (architect & sculptor - collaborator of Boulouki)
On Monday 28 June 2022, the second exhibition unit entitled "In/Ex Situ" was inaugurated in the interior and the open space of a typical cave building of Agrilia settlement, next to the churchyard, with special emphasis on the lighting and spatial placement, in direct "dialogue" with the restored cobbled pathway (the work of the participatory workshop). ) A large number of visitors, collaborators and participating artists were present. It is worth noting, as mentioned above, that the exhibition had a great success, resulting in its extension until October 30.
The In/Ex Situ section sought artistic experimentation in the theran context through a series of artworks, presented as transformations of the surrounding cultural landscape. It presents a series of artworks, conceived as additional interpretations of the cultural landscape that surrounds them, signifying the important role of the context in the conception and evaluation of art, as a socially and culturally ‘situated’ experience.
An interesting perspective to explore would be uprooting this artistic and research construct from the place and architectural space where it was formed and signified.
-What impact might such a rupture have?
-How does one handle the "void" of topos?
-How can the sensory perception be transcribed, in order for the’ Under the Landscape’ Exhibition and thus the knowledge ‘Under the Landscape’ to travel ?
The exhibition was designed as a potentially itinerant endeavour, in order to explore the above questions by its presentation in other venues and places around Greece.