European Arts and their Greek Legacy

Panel discussion

Panel discussion followed by general debate:
- Guy Coolen, Antwerp,
- Peter Hanke, Copenhagen,
- Iara
Boubnova, Sofia,
- Andreas Richter, Berlin

Eugene Asse (Moscow school of Architecture).
What is so important about Greek legacy for architecture? It’s not only about tradition of  orders, it’s not only about classicism – I would like to remind of a simple motto formulated 2500 years ago by Protagoras;
“Man is the measure of
all things”.

We are not talking about man as a measuring instrument. We are talking about Man as the center of Greek Culture, man is the universal value of this culture.
There was a direct connection of man to God – gods were made under human face. Let’s remember about the golden measure, the universal measure of proportions –
all the buildings and artwork of ancient Greeks were connected visually to be properly perceived by the human eye. This is the humanistic idea of the European
civilization for the next centuries. Now we have a dangerous understanding that money is the measure of all things. I strongly believe that the solution to the crisis of our civilization is to keep man as a measure.

Marie-Louise von Plessen presented an extract of a section on “Europe and the Bull” from her exhibition on the history of the Idea of Europe.

Link to presentation.pdf (5594 KB)

Guy Coolen, Artistic director of the opera music theater festival in Rotterdam. Also GM of Music theatre Transparent in Antwerp.
In the archeological museum in Athens, first room, there is a sculpture of a human playing a liar (harp), even though the sculpture is broken, one can see he’s playing music. What amazes me most is that here we have an artist represented in the act of making music – a representation of art, not hunting or agriculture.
The heritage of most Greek arts is material (sculpture) – but what about music?
Plato describes music: in an ideal state, he is against ecstatic and melancholic music. He thinks that simple instruments should do. Plato warns us that harmony is needed in order to appreciate music. Music played already such an important part in society, and so it developed into a genre.

Theatre – Greek tragedies are left, but we don’t really know how or where they were executed.
The Renaissance tried to re-establish this drama and created opera. Theater as we know started as a gift to Dionysus – Greek citizens were listening to the actors and to what they had to say on society. The Greek art is emotions frozen into art and that is why it remains an inspiration for all of us.Future projects that I am working on: a new version of Medea and a staged version of Xenakis´ Oresteia. Both projects are talking about the birth of Europe and in our projects about Europe now. Greek legacy as a start for a new art form!

Andreas Richter, GM of Mahler Chamber Orchestra,
What can we learn from old Greeks about making and managing music – Orpheus – music can convince the dead. We still can learn from old myths and ancient tradition. The democracy principle is used in the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Every musician in an orchestra is very important for the end-show. The orchestra has the power to decide – e.g. choosing a conductor. The orchestra is owned by the members. Orchestra life is changing – people will choose to have their own orchestra and not work as a regular employee. Artistic freedom – democracy – string relationships.





Iara Boubnova, Curator at the Contemporary Art Museum,
Sofia. She presented an exhibition in Istanbul: Project “Beyond credit –
contemporary art and mutual trust”.

Peter Hanke, Bramstrup Estate in Denmark, Centre for Art and Leadership, Copenhagen Business School.
It seems that everything has been already done. But we need to do stuff, action is needed. Interpretation is the key for e.g. Greek legacy. Orchestras are recreating the same patterns – interpreting the Greek legacy in a different way – we must go much deeper in the root and make it contemporary, skipping Renaissance. The opportunities of digital natives are that they have different understandings where no pessimism is needed. We need to be digital migrants, use younger children as mentors to unfold things and change institutions.

Mr Hanke just wrote a book on how institutions are arrogant and presented a new interpretation of the agora: a barn that was reconstructed as a musical performance space and equally suited for conferences. Here he wishes to create a city of art and leadership around the house and among many other things now organizing a master class – go philosophical in music making.

Link to presentation part 1.pdf (3243 KB)
Part 2.pdf (9833 KB)
3.pdf (3994 KB)

Views expressed in the general debate

“Art demands to step back in order to analyze it and appreciate it – you have
to have the luxury of space and time to appreciate art and beauty. Greece had
the luxury of producing but also appreciating art after time. Another lesson was
the conflict between politics and art & philosophy. If we appreciate art for
beauty can we also make judgments about their goodness? Do we need to separate
politics and aesthetics, beauty and morality?
Art for art’s sake or
functional art?”

“How can a digital polis be like since our world now is much bigger than the Greek agora?”

“Intellectuals are not reacting anymore. We are on a shifting border that is
just about to emerge and will bring us in a difficult position. Democracy is
difficult to build today.  Democracy is dependent on civic participation.
People are lost and full of anxiety.
- We should make the School of Athens
alive again.”

“The example of the Young ECP demonstrates that nation is not relevant

“Both pessimistic and optimistic views are correct – we should create a
practical vision statement to whom governments should turn to and younger
generations be inspired from.

“We mustn’t ask art to do too much.”

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