Onassis Cultural Centre 4th Fast Forward Festival Explores Global Strategies of Precarization

A contemporary festival, reclaiming public and private spaces in Athens and Piraeus, taking place within a fortnight. The 4th Fast Forward Festival explores the notion of home, of forced displacement and global strategies of precarization through socially engaged artistic practices.

The 4th Fast Forward Festival (May 2-14) is slipping silently into abandoned hotels and arcades, making inroads into old railway stations, making it as far out as Piraeus’ Silo and old stone warehouse to wander the side streets and squares of Drapetsona. The three landmark spaces of this year’s FFF—Syntagma and Omonoia squares and the port of Piraeus—co-exist with heterotopias such as the radioactive exclusion zones of Fukushima and Chernobyl and refugee camps in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

In a world charging headlong from endless motion to utter immobility and the total militarization of our borders, the co-existence of different places—and hence times—cannot but acquire a socio-political dimension. The 4th FFF is articulated around “heterotopias of crisis”, which is say around forbidden, invisible and marginalized places where, according to Foucault, spaces and times that could not normally co-exist are intertwined.

The common thread running through the heterotopias of the 4th FFF is the traumatic experience of forced displacement and the loss both of “home” and of a sense of belonging. Using various forms of artistic expression, the Festival sets out to create a notional “shared space” on the borderline between fiction and reality—a space of otherness which can dissect the hegemonic mechanisms of entrenchment and global strategies of precariousness while simultaneously testing the limits and the potential of art’s social function.

The process of preparing for the 4th FFF, which involved extensive research and fieldwork, is every bit as important as the end result. The creation of site-specific works in the public sphere could never have proceeded without the cooperation of social networks and the exchange of experiences and practices among researchers, artists and educators. Still, the FFF is not only about participatory urban interventions; it also features highly heterogeneous “communities” which the viewer/visitor is invited to join, albeit temporarily.

In an attempt to dilate our crisis-compressed present and redefine it by means of a comparative historical approach, the artists of the 4th FFF create a space that is realistic as well as poetic; a state both invisible and “real”, like the one Gregor Schneider has set up in Omonoia Square, which evades the machinery of surveillance and exclusion and which could, ideally, serve as a familiar space of co-existence.

Katia Arfara
Artistic Director of Theatre and Dance at the Onassis Cultural Centre

FAST FORWARD FESTIVAL 4
Concept and Artistic Direction of the Festival: Katia Arfara
Production Management: Dimitra Dernikou
General Technical Management: Lefteris Karabilas
Line Production: Vassilis Panagiotakopoulos
General Coordination & Research: Marina Troupi
Workshops and Debates Coordination: Myrto Lavda, Eleanna Semitelou
Assistants to the Line Production: Despoina Sifniadou, Irilena Tsami, George Linardakis

Read the full program here.