Maria Konti

(1971 Athens)

AGRAFO (the Unrecorded)

The land you will discover is mine. Remember this, alas, the land is mine. If it is the woods it is because I weave my hair into braids. If it is valleys it is because I swore only last night that discipline is the best defense. But again, this is so obvious to the one who treads my valley.

The Agrafo (The Unrecorded) project originated from Patrinella, the marble statue encased in the walls of the city castle. The name Agrafo (The Unrecorded) was retrieved from the book Ξωτικά by Ναούμ Θεοδοσιάδης (Εκδόσεις Αρχέτυπο, 8η έκδοση Αθήνα Δεκέμβριος 2006) , who collected Greek names possibly attributed to fairies. «Agrafo» refers us to a being/creature/person who can not be written about therefore not recorded therefore not described.

Patrinella’s «body» is vested the quality of a female ghost by locals. Research into the particular statue as well as local folklore surrounding it was conducted in local blogs. Such blogs triggered an associative meandering from which another eight figures, female bodies-ghosts, originated. These nine female figures have trodden local history for almost a thousand years, five of them have lived through the 19th and 20th century as their life has kept pace with the establishment of the modern Greek state.

The theoretical aspect of the archive which was gradually created through the Internet, focused primarily on folklore related bibliography. Local blogs form a kind of urban narration. They perpetuate or revive older myths and contemporary stories presenting them as «trustworthy» information.

These blogs resemble current word-of-mouth folklore such as once were fairy-tales, songs, proverbs, superstitions, which can be interpreted as the contemporary attempt to create the collective unconscious of the particular city.

The following short biographical notes were taken exclusively from blogs therefore they should not be considered official and/or reliable information.

Patrinella. The female city ghost associated with the bearded mutated statue of Zeus or Patreas and is encased in the castle of Patras.

Saint Irene. Great Martyr of the Orthodox Church. The relics of the Saint had been preserved in Patras up until 1231, in the church dedicated to her honor, in Riganokambos. The removal of the relics from the Hautecombe convent in Savoyia, Italy where it had been preserved, was completed on October 5th, 2002.

Danielis. Landowner of Patras who lived in the 9th century, had an invaluable fortune she came to inherit after her husband’s death. Various historians believe she had a love affair with the Byzantine emperor Vasilios A΄ whom she helped to ascend to the throne in 867. However according to blogs Vasilios A΄ true love affair involved Danielis son, Ioannis. Young Ioannis accompanied Vasilios A΄to Constantinople. Immediately following his ascent to the throne the emperor proclaimed him Protospatharios (Byzantine highest court rank) and Daneilis King’s Mother.

Madalena Tocco, member of the Tocco family. The first spouse of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos. Her actual name was Madalena but she had it changed into Theodora after her wedding in 1427 or 1428. The emperor and she married in the church of Agia Skepi in an area called Pagona (female peacock), Patras. The legend has it that Pagona was named after the way Madalena Tocco used to walk. She died childless two years after her wedding.

Maria Manzar. French prostitute who followed the French General Maizon’s army in 1828-1829.

Bourboulia. Local custom of Patras during the Carnival. The city women wear a garment called «domino» which covers face and body. Man and women usually meet at Municipal Theatre, early in the afternoon. Such clothing allowed women to court with no restrains since they were not recognizable.

Giannoula. A deranged middle-aged woman. She lived in the period between the two World Wars. Her life was associated with the Patras Carnival as the local society would organize and perform her «wedding» to the President of the United States every year.

Litsa Giannopoulou. She has been characterized as a «hideous strangler» by the local press and is also known by the name Maria Manzar. In the 60s Giannopoulou strangled her lover’s young daughter from his lawful marriage. Her lover who did not come from Patras pushed her to prostitution. Blogs do not clearly state if she died in prison or killed herself or even was lynched by the crowd.

Panoraia (name meaning «the most beautiful of all»). Prostitute whom the journalist Giorgos Chronas became acquainted with. He published the book The Woman of Patras which included their discussions. She died in 1994 or 1995.

GRAPHICS

Part of the project process involved the creation of A0 paper called Graphics.

Selected material from blogs presents the phases of the project.

 





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About

Archive Public
A research art project.

Within the flexible limits of archival art today, Archive Public practices archival art as intervention in public space, questioning the dominant hegemony and allowing for possibilities of solidarity actions. It aspires to the creation of a broader productive collaboration network triggered by two theoretical research assumptions and an open body of works which tries out archival interventions in conflicting urban situations, in Patras and other european cities.

The first phase of the work developed theoretical propositions and art projects in Patras, Greece. It was realized with the support of the C. Carathéodory research program at the University of Patras. An edited volume, Archive Public. Performing Archives in Public Art. Τοpical Interpositions, documents this first phase of the project, and is available from Cube Art Editions.

The book includes theoretical hypotheses on archival practice in contemporary art, art works that were specifically created for the project, as well as an anthology of essays by contemporary thinkers who elaborate on particular issues of the archive in relation to the public sphere and theories of democracy, the notions of institution and instituting practice, interventions in the shifting urban condition, the philosophy and archaeology of media as well as the global flows of migration and media. Interventions focus on the urban and social condition of Patras, as it is influenced by a translocal dynamics which produces interrelations with other localities.

Participating artists: Yota Ioannidou, Maria Konti, Gregorios Pharmakis, Lina Theodorou, Stefanos Tsivopoulos, Vangelis Vlahos and Nayia Yiakoumaki.
Texts by Arjun Appadurai, Ioannis Chorianopoulos, Wolfgang Ernst, Boris Groys, Elpida Karaba, Panos Kouros, Oliver Marchart, Gerald Raunig and Saskia Sassen.

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This multiuser weblog has been set as a working, exhibition and archival platform for the participants, to actuate different forms of collaboration. We plan to bring together theoreticians and practitioners from different cities and localities who are working on similar issues of archiving and intervention in the public sphere. We are seeking projects and theoretical works relevant to the Archive Public topics, as well as feedback texts responding to the art projects as they develop.

To submit a text or a project, please write at archivepublic{at}upatras{dot}gr

Panos Kouros-Elpida Karaba


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