"Amoli" is the water ditch that is used to water the farms of Aspropyrgos and it is derived from the verb "Amolao" (to release). The Farmers of Aspropyrgos used to say "Amolao to nero stin Amoli", meaning to fill the ditch with water in order to distribute it to the greater farming area.
International Project | AMOLI
A Collective Work in Rural | Post-Industrial | Multicultural Community of Aspropyrgos
1st Part: September – December 2019
Emilia Bouriti, visual and performance artist, concept creator of the international project 'Amoli and the project team ‘Syn+ergasia’ organizes an international program named 'Amoli'_Art & Culture, A Collective Project in the Agricultural, Post Industrial, Multicultural Community of Aspropyrgos 2019-2020, in cooperation with the Cultural Center of Aspropyrgos Municipality, the Agricultural Association of Aspropyrgos, the Cultural Foundation Art4elkaar of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, the 3rd Workshop of the Athens School of Fine Arts, and the primary and secondary schools of Aspropyrgos.
Aspropyrgos, a multi faceted city with a crucial presence to the country's economy through its industrial and post industrial development, its intense agricultural life and its multicultural element, becomes a point of reference for the international program 'Amoli'. It was the domain of the "agrarian" goddess Demeter, who left her priesthood in order to cultivate seeds and fruits with the local farmers. Known as the granary of Attica, the valley of Aspropyrgos has been continuously cultivated since antiquity.
The violent industrial development that Aspropyrgos encountered in the mid 20th century, its transformation from agricultural to industrial and the transition to post industrial, through the economic crisis of the past years, can be evidently seen in the local landscape. Regional farmers today have tested the soil quality and certified it for future cultivation. An intense immigration activity, in different time periods, has transformed Aspropyrgos into a multicultural locus of twelve different ethnicities.
Reasonably speaking, the course of Aspropyrgos is a smaller scale of the course of Europe, a continent that has experienced at different speeds the stages of agriculture, industrial development and the post-industrial phase while now it is shocked by the economic and migration crisis.
The international program ‘Amoli’ focuses on highlighting common points with other European cities and the common concerns shared by citizens from different regions. Through the special local character, affinities are sought with other European cities. At the same time, diversity is emerging as an element that has to unite rather than divide.
The rural landscape of Europe, as a past or a reality, is a common place for all of us and the issues that arise concern us equally:
What is the European citizens’ relationship with food today and with their right to cultivate the land in rural, industrial or post-industrial places?
How can the community come closer through the cultivation of food, common meals and participatory artistic actions?
What is the relationship of a modern man with one’s body and how does someone re-discover the environment through the art?
How does today’s Europe, and especially Aspropyrgos, redefine its identity through the active actions of immigrants who enrich its everyday life and culture?
What is happening with the future of the oral language and the local dialects (such as the Arvanitic language which was prevailing until 1940 in the Thriasio field) which they are getting lost today and along with them a part of memory of culture and customs of the area is getting lost too?
The questions above function as inspiration points and food for thought, for creative dialogue and for artistic experimentation. The primary creative space is the landscape and the communities of Aspropyrgos, where we create participatory experiential happenings, peripatetic routes, visual art exhibitions, narrations and open and typical educational programs, discussions, seminars and international workshops.
Aspropyrgos becomes a cause for reaching a local element through creative practices, that turns into a universal one, while unearthing thoughts and problems that concern international trends in an ever evolving and cross fertilizing world.
The first part of the programme 'Amoli' is the artwork "Agricultural Traces of Aspropyrgos"