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)