Panel Discussion, “The Architecture of Public Spaces as Museums” at EMST (November 18, 2021)

The Architecture of Public Spaces as Museums: The case of MOMAFAD

October 2020 - November 2021

@ East Terminal, Ellinikon International Airport 

︎︎︎A participatory artwork/institution by artist Dionisis Christofilogiannis, co-curated by Ariana Kalliga

MOMAFAD’s venue - the Athens International Ellinikon airport - is a long-vacated space. Its derelict grounds have been a popular location for films and artistic productions alike since its closure in 2001. The former East Terminal, designed in 1968 by Eero Saarinen, is a modernist icon of the Cold War era. In its present form, the airport has become a symbol of modernism’s decay. The monumental aura of its vast and vacant grounds has only been augmented since the announcement of the airport’s redevelopment. Apart from the protected East Terminal, the airport’s complex is currently being rebuilt to make way for the Hellinikon Redevelopment Project. To enter into this space at this moment in time is to encounter a building that is in the process of transformation; to be acutely aware of its temporality.

It is within this context that MOMAFAD, a participatory artwork and temporary institution created by contemporary artist Dionisis Christofilogianis, is encountered. The project’s first edition brought together works by 26 contemporary Greek artists, which include time-based media, namely video and performance, as well as drawings, paintings and sculptures, that were installed and photographed in the former airport on October 11, 2020.

As an intervention in an iconic and widely discussed architectural site, MOMAFAD raises a number of critical, curatorial and conceptual questions. Crucially, these are connected to its mode of dissemination; a series of final installation shots, which serve as the ephemeral exhibition’s living testimony.

The series of 26 final photographs were bound and enclosed in a final publication, accompanied by a series of essays that were born of their subsequent study, and archival imagery collected from municipal, educational, local and international archives. The publication forms a manual that seeks to inspire further study of the Ellinikon site and an exploration of some of the central issues embodied by MOMAFAD; the function of contemporary art in urban spaces; architecture, preservation, and civic intervention; monuments, documents, and archives; memory, nostalgia, and temporality.

The project’s first edition took place in the course of a single day in October 2020 in Saarinen’s abandoned East Terminal and was formally inaugurated on November 18 with the presentation of a documentary film at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens. This event was also part of “SunShip: The Arc That Makes The Flood Possible,” Arts Letters & Numbers’ exhibition in the CITYX Venice Italian Virtual Pavilion of the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale.

Panel Discussion Q&A at The National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens (November 18, 2021)

Panel Discussion Intro, Ariana Kalliga, “The Architecture of Public Spaces as Museums” at The National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens (November 18, 2021)

Reception, “The Architecture of Public Spaces as Museums” at The National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens (November 18, 2021)

Welcome Address by Adrianos Efthymiadis at The National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens (November 18, 2021)

Panel Discussion Intro, Ariana Kalliga, “The Architecture of Public Spaces as Museums” at The National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens (November 18, 2021)

“MOMAFAD proposes a different point of view on the use of the airport at a time when the restructuring of Hellinikon is still an open and much disputed issue. From this perspective, the exhibition’s takeover of the airport is more reminiscent of artistic squatting projects, like the one of the Market of Kypseli in 2007 or the Embros Theatre in 2013. Here too, artistic gesture inscribes a political stance or, more specifically, a political stance dictates and finds its privileged expression within an artistic gesture.”

︎︎︎Theophilos Tramboulis, Publishing director, exhibition curator, translator, and writer

“The intervention of MOMAFAD momentarily destabilised a given condition and instantly disrupted ongoing processes of privatisation. As a non-commodified art project we may conceptualise this as an ephemeral potential creation of a ‘common space’. Namely, a space instantly open to collective use, as a set of spatial relations produced by practices of ‘commoning’ and constituted by processes that elude overarching authorities. But, we must also reflect on this as a project that revisits the tangible and intangible aspects of the former airport’s cultural legacy as shared international experiences and returns them back to a global audience as a potential ‘global common.’” 

︎︎︎Dr. Loukas Triantis, National Technical University of Athens

Participating Artists

Andreas Angelidakis, Yannis Adoniou, Nikos Charalambidis, Dionisis Christofilogiannis, Martha Dimitropoulou, Christoforos Doulgeris, Annie Fassea, Nikomachi Karakostanoglou, Andreas Kasapis, Panagiotis Kefalas, Nikos Komiotis, Georgia Kotretsos, Antonis Larios, Pantelis Vitaliotis – Magneto, Andreas Mallouris, Eva Mitala, Maria Papadimitriou, Ilias Papailiakis, Poka-Yio, Evi Roumani, Virginia Russolo, Adonis Stoantzikis, Giorgos Tserionis, Stefanos Tsivopoulos, Kostis Velonis, Art Drone Projects

Authors & Panelists

Sotirios Bachtsetzis, Ariana Kalliga, Eleni Riga, Theophilos Tramboulis, Loukas Triantis, Yorgos Tzirtzilakis, Hesperia Iliadou de Subplajo 

Project Team

A project/artwork by Dionisis Christofilogiannis /
Co-curator: Ariana Kalliga / Photography: Stathis Mamalakis / Video Design: Harris Gorovellis / Sound Design: Eleni Kavouki / Music: Eftychia Kamenaki & Eleni Kavouki / Project Coordinator: Charalampos Papadopoulos / Catalog Design: Adrianos Efthymiadis / Editorial Assistance: Millie Anderson, Suzana Fais, Thomas Macheras, Panagiotis Ioannidi / Silk Screen printing: Eva Mitala/ Volunteers: Nikos Larios, Thomas Macheras, Efi Papadopoulou, Adonis Stoantzikis

Event Announcement ←