a conscious decision to pause and reflect-

by | Apr 14, 2021 | 2: Publishing process, Greece team | 3 comments

We watch ourselves taking notes in zoom videos.

Our research is focused on the effects the pandemic has on film festivals in Greece and their online editions. Together with Konstantinos, we decided to reflect upon organizational and program-related aspects of film festivals that are now confined to the online sphere because of the pandemic. The city seems to be in a deep-freeze state: cinemas and other types of cultural venues suffocate because of institutional and governmental policies that only allow for their bare existence. We are trying to trace small attempts of survival & transformation: of things and events we took for granted and of new situations we never thought possible. 

* we watch ourselves being deprived of things and people.
//
απώλεια (greek, noun) apṓleia: bereavement, loss, casualty, wastage.

In this framework, we decided to conduct interviews with film festival professionals based in Greece and extensively discuss with them some parameters and feelings that they had to face this past year regarding online editions of film festivals. This is a work in progress, an open discussion, that strives to reflect on the present & aims towards a small- scale cartography of the encounters the festivals had with their audiences and the changes that occurred within their organizational processes; they exhausted themselves in zoom meetings and slow internet connections to produce online editions of film festivals. Our questions started off in a specific framework but we are open to new subjects rising through the discussions we are having long-distance. 

The theoretical basis of this project is going to be a group of articles addressing the subject and Konstantinos’ doctoral research thesis regarding film festivals as cultural organizations and market spaces and their role in the education of the professionals of the film industry. 

See below, some of the questions that pop-up in conversation:

  1. What were your initial feelings when informed that festivals are being cancelled ?
  2. How did you experience this sudden change in your interpersonal communications?
  3. In which ways do you think this changed your relationship with your audiences?
  4. How would you relate the concept of “loss” with the online film festival?
  5. Did your relationships with the venues and cinemas you collaborate with change in some ways?
  6. How do you relate the concept “encounter” with that of the online film festival?
  7. What were the most interesting reactions you faced with regards to your audiences?
**  not whilst semi-watching a film from our beds 

We attempt to work on a thick description of the subject in question, that focuses on 5 individual informants and simultaneously reflects on our personal experiences as cultural workers who are active in different fields: Konstantinos being a professional in the film industry and film festivals and myself being a cultural worker in the field of contemporary visual arts. The first out of the six interviews was an interview I did with Konstantinos, asking him about the ways in which“Ethnofest – The Athens Ethnographic Film Festival” has responded to this new reality. The second interview was one Konstantinos conducted with me, where we discussed how I experienced this reality in the context of contemporary visual arts since this is my field of work. These conversations helped us discover a lot of common issues, but also differences between our work fields as well as several recurring concepts such as that of “loss”, “connection”, “encounter” and “feelings of shock”.

it’s a conscious decision to pause and reflect on the present moment

We are looking forward to the rest of the interviews and it’s already been a very interesting process despite all difficulties. Interviewing each other we are already learning a lot, drawing from our current state of work and existence, our role in the institutions we work at, and projects that occupy our interests and schedules. Finally, we are hopeful that we will be able to write a sufficiently informative text, but also possibly experiment with other means of keeping a record of the process. 

3 Comments

  1. Mattijs van de Port

    This really seems to be an interesting project, and I am really looking forward to read (or see/hear) more! Sometimes I feel we do not even fully registering what a deep impact the pandemic is having on all of us …

  2. Electra Karatza

    Thank you for your comment Mattijs! Indeed, these small-scale changes that we all had to endure and make during the pandemic are evolving as new habits and are more and more becoming a “part of us”. The extent to which film festivals are going to transform into solely -online experiences, or “hybrid (semi-online) festivals”, or return back to what we know as “normal” is unknown as of yet. In short, we do not know if this is going to be ephemeral or not and this is why having these interviews is so important to me: discussing what is happening now, in the present, and noting down all of our immediate reactions, feelings, and ideas.

    P.S. Other questions come to mind as well, which can be part of future discussions about online film festivals, online art exhibitions, concerts, etc: if we are ever threatened by another deadly virus in the future, or if our current situation lasts for more years, could we possibly stay connected without the internet & the world wide web? Simply: if we devote time to thinking and allow for this traumatic experience to mature within us, what kind of artistic propositions can we think of?

    P.S.2 the “if”s and the “but”s allow for our imagination to flourish.

  3. Mattijs van de Port

    I now fully realize the title ‘a conscious decision to pause and reflect’. I realize that to make the heaviness of these days bearable, all I try to do is ‘carry on’. already, the first items appear in my newspaper that in the fall we must be reckoning with yet another wave …

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