“Pariahs: Performing Europe’s Historical Memory” is an interdisciplinary, creative project implemented within the Creative Europe programme, that uses community-based activities and artistic practices to unearth communities’ unspoken and collective memories of marginalised individuals who unintentionally shaped these communities and gradually sculpted historical memory.
The project brings together four cultural grassroots organisations from culturally diverse regions (Armenia, Greece, Slovenia, and France) for a two-year journey of creative explorations, mobilities, exchanges of artistic practices, and community participation. Artists from various disciplines, such as performing arts, music, visual arts, writing, and dance, begin an artistic research project by engaging in participatory community engagement activities to learn about each community’s historical memories.
How can a work of art aid in the investigation of a community’s collective and historical memory?
Starting in Eleusis, Greece, the project then travels through three more European countries and beyond, spearheaded by grassroots organisations in Yerevan and rural Armenia, Maribor, Slovenia, and Mont-Dauphin, France – four cities with very different sociocultural backgrounds.
The project begins with an artistic research phase, led by playwright and researcher Effie Samara, in which each community is heavily involved in a participatory session in which collective and historical memories are explored, unearthed, and recorded. Following this preliminary step, professional and emerging multidisciplinary artists from the partner countries will be invited to participate in an artist mobility and residency programme, where they will collaborate with one another and with local audiences, incorporating local elements and other artistic practices into their productions.
A group of professional and emerging artists will collaborate with audiences and communities to reveal the common patterns of constructing local, national, and European identities through artistic expression and performance of untold and unrecorded historical memories of communities that have shaped their progress and sociocultural environment.
The central goal of the project is to create a methodology that will use artistic practices to unearth communal and historical memory while weaving a new network of transnational collaborations.
Check the project updates on www.pariahs.eu
Community research session: Eleusis, Greece, 30/9/2023 & 1/10/2023
The fragments of memory as they were retrieved and became common property to all of us, created a new reality – of how we perceive the concept of the different, the so-called “marginalised person” – that we were slowly discovering both when we were narrating ourselves and when we listened to the narratives of others.
Community research session: Yerevan, Armenia, 4/10/2023
In Armenia, a nation torn apart by uninterrupted genocide, conflict, religious persecution and continued war, the margins are drawn by individuals operating under extreme conditions and within a collective of perilous political reality. The luxury of eccentricity and personal heroism is not available to them and therefore no “protagonist” has emerged from this research. All Armenia is a Chorus of protagonists in never-ending conflict, international interests and shifting political tectonic plates.
Community research session: Mont-Dauphin, France, 16/09/2023
Inhabitants of Mont-Dauphin acknowledge historical wrongs and are ready to describe colonial violence and atrocities. They reflect on racism and privilege as well as structures of land capitalism and the monetisation of human ecology. The idea of “de-territorialisation” and the questioning of metropolitan structures of governance and centralisation, feature heavily in Mont-Dauphin’s contributions to the modern world.
Community research session: Maribor, Slovenia 23/11/2023
Social cohesion and social organization were heavily represented in this area alongside the transition between the social self of the former Yugoslav Republic and the current technology-driven, digitally imposed capitalist reality. Young and old alike agree that this is a necessary debate that must be conducted both in the context of Slovenia’s historical consistency and its future as a European country whose youth is aware of its national consciousness and educated.
Art Residency: Armenia 22-29/10/2023
The project artistic teams met in Armenia for the first phase of the mobility programme. They exchanged skills and practices, engaged with the local communities in Yerevan and Ayntab, hosted artistic workshops for locals and fellow artists, and explored further the research results aiming to identify commonalities among cultures, values, nations, histories and communities.