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.
The artistic collective, TimeCircus, travels across Europe on a landship powered entirely by human strength. Their journey aims to be a comment on climate change and the over consumption of natural resources. They set out from Antwerp on May 27, 2022, and their goal is to arrive at Elefsina on February 4, 2023, for the opening ceremony of the 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture.
During their travels, they have met and collaborated with numerous people under different circumstances and after having walked 3,000 km in nine months they will share their experiences as a tribute to diversity. Once they arrive at Elefsina they will commence Mystery_99 with the construction (which will take up to three months) of The Ark, the Ark of hope and eternal youth, a gathering place for the city's youth and for anyone else who wishes to join. The 15 artists, craftsmen, and creators, who form the heart of the collective, will welcome locals and allies to help in this project, which will be entirely constructed of recyclable materials, as are all their artworks and public installations. The Ark will house their landship along with all the memorabilia and stories they’ve accumulated during their travels.