Radio Exarcheia: A collaborative art project, opening this week in Melbourne, Australia

Just received from Tom Nicholson, an excellent Melbourne-based artist, the following brief on a collaborative art project that touches upon the Greek economic crisis in a manner that acts as an apt reminder of the unique capacity that art has to cast the worst aspects of the human condition in fresh and insightful light. The work opens this Thursday 6 Sept 6-8pm at the VCA Margaret Lawrence Gallery. For more information, please write to Tom on tomjnicholson@hotmail.com

Radio Exarcheia is a collaboration between Melbourne artist Tom Nicholson and the Italian composer Riccardo Vaglini. The work draws upon two elements of the extraordinary responses to Greece’s current economic crisis evident in Athens, where Vaglini has been based part-time since last year: the palimpsest of inscriptions accumulating on the walls of the city’s streets (and in particular Exarcheia, the area of Athens where Vaglini resides, and which provides the project with its title); and the proliferation of shopping trolleys in the streets of Athens, pushed by the economically destitute in search of scrap metal (the piercing sound of which has become a notable feature of contemporary life in Athens and which becomes a key “musical” element in Vaglini and Nicholson’s work).  Radio Exarcheia sets in relation with one another this public collecting with Vaglini’s own collection of hundreds of photographs of inscriptions from the walls of Athens to create a work which draws upon the current situation in Greece – not only its severity but the profusion of energies and resistance it has precipitated – as the basis for an instruction-based participatory score.  The work responds to this situation – but also to Vaglini and Nicholson’s shared interest in the nature of the score, in the Italian Fluxus artist Giuseppe Chiari, and in the relations between the indeterminate and the political. The work seeks to transmit from this material in Athens the manifold links between forms of political imagination and the imaginative possibilities of art making, where forms and forms of living are re-thought anew.

Riccardo Vaglini is an influential creative figure in contemporary Italian culture – as professor of composition at the Venice Conservatorium, organizer of many events and festivals, and founder of the publishing cooperative ArsPublica, which has produced around 800 scores of works, representing a wide spectrum of new music from all generations of contemporary composers. He has explored his own performance approaches with his group Collettivo rituale, connecting with the Fluxus tradition in Italy and new currents that flow from it.