Alpha to Omega of Our Athens Nostalgia: Ch is for Chorus

On your last day in Athens you booked into a tour of the Odeion, lead by a member of the documenta chorus, Denise Araouzou. You wanted to see and hear the art of this space that you had repeatedly returned to through the eyes and ears of another. You were drawn to the description of the tour in the Athens Map Booklet (page 60) which depicted the leaders as updating the chorus’ role in ancient tragic theater and, as members of the citizen body, these leaders like Denise  ‘operated between the audience and actors as commentators, shape-shifters, and empathizers.’ During our walk, you discovered that Denise was a curator, who was in the process of planning the exhibition Open Form an ambitious, ongoing project that you later (after it was over and today it really is all over in Athens) found out was engaged with how art and its producers are encountered in the space of the studio as a way to bring us ‘outside the usual structures and the means traditionally allocated for the consumption and the display of art’. You were sitting in the amphitheater in one of the two basements of the Odeion (where you recorded a video from which this still was taken), with Denise and the other participants of our walk, immersed in Emeka Ogboh’s mesmerizing The Way Earthly Things Are Going, when you remembered something you had heard about the history of the building, how it had been unfinished for over 40 years and was slightly more finished thanks to documenta. You wondered whether the space of the studio was indeed so different from unfinished sites like this, and that you could imagine ways, like the chorus, to be both within and outside the structures and means of art consumption and display. You knew, with the way earthly things are going, the market was no place to for art, but maybe some other more open and public forum could be found beyond the studio. Do you ever wish you could turn your own studio into a forum?

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