Invisible governments: “Gnosis” as a state of the self
Thursday 25. June, 20.00
EXHIBITION OPENING HOURS:
26 June – 11 July
Thurs – Fri 17:00 – 21:00, Sat 12:00 – 18:00
Marilena Aligizaki, Thanasis Anagnostopoulos, Alexandra Anagnostopoulou / Sophia Grigoriadou, Dimitra Zervou / Marilia Kolympiri / Maria Louisou / Kyriakos Mitropoulos, Antonis Kalamaras-Prapas / Theodoros Koveos, Victor Melistas, Metatheodosia, Emilia Moraiti/The Heavenly Hens, Ektor Dourakos, Giorgos Nikas, Campus Novel, Sergios Pappas, Ada Petranaki, Panos Sklavenitis, Mayra Stefou, Maya-Galatia Tapinou, Alexis Fidetzis, FYTA.
Kostis Stafylakis (Theorist and visual artist, Adjunct at MoKE of ASFA and Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Patras).
This exhibition is a presentation of projects produced in the framework of the workshop “Old and contemporary forms of Gnosis and Gnosticism.” The workshop was realized under the auspices of the Unit of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ΜοΚΕ) of the Athens School of Fine Arts with the participation of students, graduates and postgraduates. The workshop studied historical and contemporary forms of a particular apocalyptic attitude towards social reality that tends to interpret the world as a creation of radically evil forces – as a “system” of invisible orders of governance.
The approach included presentations, textual analysis, study of bibliography, extensive discussions on examples. Various philosophical, religious and social examples, from different periods of history, were studied. The emergence of ancient Gnosticism, in the early centuries of Christianity, was an important reference point since it marked the advent of the belief that the ancient “cosmos” is the creation of an evil god – the labyrinthine cell that trapped the human spirit. Within the gnostic cosmology, “Knowledge” (gnosis) is the secret truth that reveals the “great fraud”, the structure of the “system”, the “heimarmene” (a gloomy destiny). An equally important period of study was the aftermath of the French Revolution and the rise of “antimasonism” in counterrevolutionary thought, which saw the Revolution as a “satanic” parenthesis to Monarchy. We examined the relationship between the demonization of Freemasonry and the formation of modern antisemitism and, also, the dissemination of its fundamental myths. Particular emphasis was given to the European anti-semitic legacy that fueled the forgery of the “Protocols of Zion” in the early 20th century Russia and the circulation of the text up to nowadays. Furthermore, the discussion focused on conspiracy theories preached by the contemporary American libertarian Right and the latter’s presence in contemporary social movements. The “Against the Fed” Movement, the “Zeitgeist”, the belief in UFO and reptilians, theories about the obscure plans of the International Pharmaceutical Association and other contemporary narratives were discussed.
What happens when conspiracy theories stop being marginal and become hegemonic social reasoning/common opinion? Explanations become more difficult when one stops understanding the conspiratorial attitude as pure lack of rationality and detects the wide range of existential questions raised by it. The projects presented in the exhibition highlight various aspects of the conspiratorial spectrum: Urban legends from the 80s, satanism, alternative national narratives, heterodox belief systems, messianic scenarios of redemption, mysteries of urban space, paramedic, associative and layman interpretations. The exhibition’s participants are students of Fine Arts, graduates, postgraduates and other artists. Some entries have performative character and will be presented at the opening.
Organized in co-operation with the “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Office” of the Athens School Of Fine Arts.