When it comes to creating exhibitions, there are two categories that are particularly difficult to pull off: the digital exhibition, laden with technical productions and sub-par display options, and the exhibition in the public space, which means jumping bureaucratic hurdles while being attentive to a myriad of community stakeholders.
In an incredibly ambitious move, the Onassis Foundation in Athens has staged “Plásmata: Bodies, Dreams, and Data” a digital exhibition in Pedion tou Areos, or Ares’ Battlefield, an old military training ground since converted into one of the city’s largest parks..
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“And you know, it was like a battle,” Afroditi Panagiotakou, the Director of Culture at the Onassis Foundation, told ARTnews. Reclining on a couch at the Onassis offices, wearing a mesh disco suit and platform heels, Panagiotakou discussed the challenge of orchestrating the massive public undertaking.
“When it comes to the things that we do in our own venue, we really have zero concern on whether we’re going to be liked or not,” she said. “But when we go to the public space, there should be none of this confidence. You have to find the tricky balance between: how am I going to present worthy, challenging works, and also respect the fact that I’m acting in a public space.”
This question seems to sum up Panagiotakou’s personality, which contains both an assertive sense of her tastes and values, while being deeply aware of her duties. Aside from her civic ethos, Onassis’s cultural funding is second to none in Greece and represents a huge responsibility for all involved.