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SNF Nostos, a Celebration of Summer, Returns In Person, August 25-29

The National Herald

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) presents SNF Nostos, a celebration of summer for everyone, August 25-29. Photo: Stavros Niarchos Foundation

ATHENS – Each year around this time, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) welcomes the summer with SNF Nostos, a celebration for everyone. This year has been different in so many ways, and after the strains and losses of the pandemic, SNF Nostos 2021 will now bring joy to the end of summer rather than the beginning— a culmination rather than a kick-off. Energizing sounds, entrancing activities, easy laughter, friendly encounters, thought-provoking discussions, and new experiences will fill the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) in Athens, August 25-29, capturing the mood and energy of summer and getting us back into the swing of a way of living we’ve very much missed.

At SNF Nostos 2021, leading artists, ingenious works, groundbreaking scientific discussions, and lively sports activities will once again bring us together and get us talking and thinking. We’ll experience the thrill of live performances, dust off our sneakers for the SNF Nostos Run, and sharpen our minds with sparkling discussion with SNF DIALOGUES and at the SNF Nostos Conference on Humanity and Artificial Intelligence— a theme SNF has been looking forward to exploring since 2019 and previewed at the online RetroFuture edition last summer. This summer, these eagerly anticipated conversations, ideas, arts, and people will all converge in person once again.

Five days overflowing with thrilling events and activities await! As always, admission is free for all.

The 2021 SNF Nostos program features:

SNF DIALOGUES

On Wednesday, August 25, 6:30-8 PM, SNF DIALOGUES, a series of events held through journalism nonprofit iMEdD (incubator for Media Education and Development), will host an open discussion as part of SNF Nostos on the topic of Humanity-AI Symbiosis, in collaboration with the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

Guided by expert perspectives and driven by our, the audience’s, curiosity, the DIALOGUES discussion will address the ethical, philosophical, and social issues that arise from the use of advanced AI systems in everyday life, as well as what the future holds in this regard for society and democracy. The event will feature a live discussion with an AI system, giving us food for thought and setting the stage for further discussion, including a Q&A with young people on their perspectives.

The discussion will be moderated by journalist and SNF DIALOGUES Executive Director Anna-Kynthia Bousdoukou and SNF Agora Institute Director Hahrie Han.

Register today for the SNF DIALOGUES discussion

SNF Nostos Run

Wednesday, August 25, start time 8:30 PM

It may be the most satisfying activity at the SNF Nostos celebration, and it’s certainly the sweatiest. On August 25, the SNF Nostos Run returns in person with an opportunity to join other runners in shaking off those lockdown cobwebs. The run includes 6K and 10K courses, starting downtown at sunset and finishing at the SNFCC, as well as a 1K course for Special Olympics athletes.

Organization of the race is supervised by the nonprofit Regeneration & Progress and medical supervision is provided by the First Orthopedic Clinic at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA).

Registration for the SNF Nostos Run opens soon.

SNF Nostos Conference

Thursday, August 26 – Friday, August 27, 9 AM-8:30 PM

Saturday, August 28, 10 AM-12:30 PM

How can we make sure that artificial intelligence technology emboldens the human spirit, rather than diminishes it? How might we use AI to build a healthier, greener, and more equitable world? Can we limit the risks of AI and ensure its benefits are widely shared? Can we use AI to overcome our limitations instead of simply reinforcing them?

The 2021 SNF Nostos Conference, dedicated to the theme of Humanity and Artificial Intelligence, will explore these questions and more from August 26-28.

SNF Nostos Conference speakers include: Blaise Aguera y Arcas, VP Fellow at Google Research; Refik Anadol, media artist; Yoshua Bengio, founder of the Quebec Institute of Artificial Intelligence and a pioneer in deep learning; Stephen Cave, Director of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at Cambridge University; Sougwen Chung, artist; Ted Chiang, science fiction author; Lucas Joppa, Chief Environmental Officer at Microsoft; Garry Kasparov, former world chess champion, author, and human rights defender; Tenzin Priyadarshi, President of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT; Κevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia and President of the Asia Society Policy Institute; Liam Young, cofounder of the “Tomorrows Thoughts Today” think tank; Xiaowei Wang, creative director of Logic Magazine; and others.

Register today for the 2021 SNF Nostos Conference

SNF Nostos Festival

Wednesday, August 25-Sunday, August 29, 10 AM-1 AM

Music

This year, up-and-coming and established musicians from Greece and abroad take the stage at SNF Nostos to carry us away on a magical musical journey. Experience Afrobeat rhythms from Nigerian superstar Burna Boy (Aug. 29), enjoy an audiovisual spectacle from art-pop act The Irrepressibles (Aug. 25), and dance to the explosive DJ sets of the Nyege Nyege Festival (Aug. 25, 27, 29) and the Casbah Club (Aug. 28), a dynamic DJ collaboration between Paul Simonon (The Clash) and Dan Donovan (Big Audio Dynamite, Dreadzone). Sing along with popular band ΜΕΛΙSSES (Aug. 26). Experience the pure emotion of Fotini Velessiotou’s (Aug. 28) performance, the captivating Greek artist-phenom Good Job Nicky (Aug. 27), and the atmospheric voice of Pavlina Voulgaraki (Aug. 29). Travel to the underground jazz clubs of New Orleans with Alexia (Aug. 27). Watch Nikos Laaris (Aug. 29) perform Philip Glass’ piano études and feel the enchantment of the innovative soundscape created on stage by the Ergon Ensemble (Aug. 28) along with Iranian-British experimental composer Shiva Feshareki.

Performing Arts & Screenings

Notable artist William Kentridge (Aug. 25, 26) presents Sibyl live on stage at SNF Nostos 2021, a work he previewed at Nostos 2020 during a virtual visit to his studio in Johannesburg. Live performances and screenings draw inspiration from this year’s theme of Humanity and AI: American choreographer Beth Corning (Aug. 27) presents the magnificent original dance-theater project Just Human, commissioned by SNF Nostos. A screening of Fritz Lang’s iconic 1927 masterpiece Metropolis will be accompanied by live music from The Anvil Orchestra (Aug. 28). A series of films related to the theme of Humanity and Artificial Intelligence will transport us to new worlds, mysterious and dystopian—but also deeply human (all days). Esteemed actors, including Τaylor Schilling, David Strathairn, and Katerina Lehou, will read stories at the AI in Fiction (Aug. 25) event that blur the line between reality and fantasy.

Early-career artists who have participated in the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) ARTWORKS Fellowship Program will put their talents on display through an outstanding program of dance performances and short film screenings (all days).

Visual Arts & Installations

A set of installations that bring humanity and technology closer to one another round out the SNF Nostos artistic program, exposing us to trends at the forefront of the visual arts through works that provoke thought and evoke awe, admiration, and intense emotion. In Hello Hi There, Annie Dorsen directs a performance starring two MacBooks. Through Soundwalk, award-winning artist Ellen Reid transforms the SNFCC into a soundscape for a unique participatory experience. The Changing Room, an installation by Lauren Lee McCarthy, raises concerns about modern monitoring systems and social technologies, while Masked Reality, an installation by Indian artist Harshit Agrawal, utilizes artificial intelligence to explore faces, tradition, gender, and identity at a time when so much is in flux. Through the photographic exhibition Humanae, Angelica Dass meditates on the meaning of skin color, and Viktor Koen curates the SVA Poster Project, featuring posters designed by students at the School of Visual Arts in New York and inspired by the SNF Nostos theme of Humanity and AI. Futurescape London, presented through a collaboration with Chatham House, invites us to take an imagined 3D tour of London’s Piccadilly Circus at various points in the future, prompting us to consider how we want our cities to evolve to adapt to a changing world.

*All days 10 AM-12 midnight.

Events for children and families

It wouldn’t be SNF Nostos without plenty of events for kids and families! Circus Abyssinia is traveling from Ethiopia to Athens to present two shows, Ethiopian Dreams (Aug. 26, 27) and Tulu (Aug. 28, 29), giving us the opportunity to admire the universal power of will while encountering elements of the rich cultures of Northeast Africa. The dynamic Chipolatas offer top-flight entertainment that combines modern movement, music, and comedy (all days). As every year, SNF Nostos, in collaboration with the nonprofit Regeneration & Progress, invites us to join in an expansive program of sports activities, including adventure games for all ages, capoeira, fencing, badminton, handball, ping-pong, dancing, a chance to get familiar with Special Olympics, and much more!

Technology & Education

Following the theme of Humanity and Artificial Intelligence, SNF Nostos presents events and games designed through the prism of technology and education, including the first-ever SNF Nostos Hackathon! Take part in two different Hackathon events, as we redefine our relationship with tech and the digital world by figuring out solutions to puzzles, brain-teasing tasks, one-on-one missions, and team projects. And we’ll try out the interactive Minecraft Challenge to build our own unique takes on the SNFCC and Stavros Niarchos Park! These events are organized in partnership with Microsoft.

*All days, online and at the Technology Lab at the SNFCC

Nostos NOUN (from ancient Greek): A homecoming, especially after a long, difficult journey, such as the return of Odysseus and other Greeks after the Trojan War.

Details of the program are likely to change in accordance with the latest COVID-19 health measures. All SNF Nostos events will adhere to the health protocols and relevant laws in place in August 2021.

#snfnostos

More information is available online: snfnostos.org.