The European Capital of Culture (ECoC) is an annual initiative that aims to highlight the diverse cultural wealth of European cities, and in this way help its citizens better identify with each other. This year, Elefsina—along with Veszprém (Hungary) and Timisoara (Romania)—holds the title and presents a rich cultural agenda over the course of a year.
The programme’s name, The Mysteries of Transition, was inspired by the Eleusinian Mysteries. These were secret religious practices held in Elefsina during antiquity to honour the goddess Demetra. Makes sense that each event on the programme was therefore dubbed a Mystery. The festival’s cultural agenda is built around three thematic axes: Environment, Labour, and People and Society, and includes 130 artworks, 465 events (Mysteries) in 30 different city sites, and 17 different types of art by 192 Greek and 137 international artists from 30 countries.
Photographer Vangelis Gkinis presents the state of present-day Greek labour in his exhibition Alienation, curated by Vaggelis Tatsis. For six months, Gkinis travelled throughout Greece, stopping at 13 places to speak with and capture 28 workers from diverse sectors. This incomplete audiovisual research—which, according to Gkinis, will never be completed—depicts employees on country roads, foggy landscapes, and desolate fields away from their actual workplaces. The gloomy and bare surroundings of the photoshoots and the isolation of the subjects highlight their alienation from creativity, other humans, and eventually, from themselves.
Click here for a selection of some of Eleusis 2023’s events that will be taking part throughout the year.