Gefyra Lectures

Lecture on December 10, 2022: My Rembetika Blues: A film screening and discussion with director Mary Zournazi

My Rembetika Blues is a film about the power of music and what makes us human. Rembetika music or the Greek blues is a music of the streets and a music of refugees. The film explores the heart and soul of Rembetika music through peoples’ stories of love, loss and belonging.

Rembetika developed its roots from migrant experience. Mary Zournazi’s grandmother was one of the 1.2 million refugees who fled the Smyrna disaster in Turkey in 1922 and arrived at the Port of Piraeus in Greece. She, like many, became part of a movement of people, and of tradition, which saw the birth Rembetika.

Lecture on May 7, 2023: Historical Trajectories of Hellenism in Asia Minor by Paschalis Kitromilides (Academy of Athens)

Professor Paschalis Kitromilides will present a survey of the Greek presence in Asia Minor from the original Greek colonization in antiquity to the exodus of the Greek population of the peninsula in the third decade of the twentieth century. He will examine the unity of the Greek world on both shores of the Aegean, East and West, for three millennia. Special attention will be paid to the modern period and to the cultural achievements of the “last Hellenism in Asia Minor”.

Lecture on October 4, 2023: Aesthetics of Crisis: Political Street Art and Graffiti in Athens, 2013-2023 by Professor Julia Tulke, Emory University. 

This talk recapitulates the first ten years of Aesthetics of Crisis, a longitudinal research project that has documented and examined political street art and graffiti in Athens since 2013, generating an archive of nearly 7000 photographs. Initially probing the walls of the city as an artifact of and site of performative response to the Greek debt crisis, the project has since adopted the notion of political street art as a “barometer” and method capable of rendering visible shifting currents of crisis and contestation. Over the course of a decade, the project has traced and contextualized street-level responses to the 2015 austerity referendum, the growing visibility of feminist and queer protest and expression since the mid-2010s, the emergence anti-Airbnb and anti-gentrification graffiti since 2019, reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic and first lockdowns of 2020 and, most recently, the turn to graffiti removal as an aspirational performance of post-crisis. By weaving together ethnographic and documentary sensibilities attuned to the complex material and affective realities of everyday life, Aesthetics of Crisis offers a polyphonic counterpoint to the narrow and often fetishizing representation of the “crisis city” Athens through uncritical celebrations of “crisis creativity” and the attendant assertion that “Athens is the new Berlin.”