Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Newsletter 3 Nov 2011


Editorial: Greece and Europe in a crisis


Raft of Medusa

There is a danger that many are thrown overboard, so that the rest can survive with the resources they managed to scrab together. That is the terrible message of the Medusa raft. However, to keep track of the inner dynamics in Greece, as prompted by the state deficit, an attempt has been made to follow from close-up all kinds of reactions by Greek society and state to the need to deal with the demands made by the EU / Troika, namely to implement severe austerity measures in exchange for a bailout package. Consequently there has been created a 'diary of the crisis'.

The key question is how should a NGO position itself in a situation of an acute crisis caused by severe austerity measures, but not only. One answer to that can be the creation of a practical agenda. It will resonate with Michael D. Higgins who consistently outlined such an agenda ever since meeting him at the first CIED conference held in Galway 1997.

Hence a prime task for POIEIN KAI PRATTEIN shall be to give orientation and to base this on knowledge about developments  brought about by cultural actions linked to research. This requires an interconnectivity in need to be comprehended as was the case with the action on Rhodes when fifteen people with different backgrounds (scientific, artistic, professional, philosophical etc.) create a 'biotop of ideas' to relate issues of water / wetlands to the open question of development. Thus there is within this NGO Poiein kai Prattein a practical agenda in the making. It shall become more explicit within the coming time span of 2011 - 2011. It will include the formation of a research team and the creation of a platform to facilitate a dialogue between planners and artists, as it will link up to an ongoing search to experience and to narrate stories about things occuring within such European projects as the European Capitals of Culture, but also in the Platform for Intercultural Europe or at the Cultural Forum in Brussels.

Much of the work reflected in this website is an attempt to identify relevant development potentials to link a wonder of life with future still ahead of mankind.

Hatto Fischer   Athens 7.11.2011


Editorial note: What lies ahead?

Is there a new totalitarian language in the making - Hatto Fischer

A real cause of concern in 2011 is how European leaders demand from Greece nothing less but total compliance and full co-operation. The same demands were made of Saddam Hussein prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. As patience runs out with Greece, elements of a new totalitarian language are becoming visible. Conveyed by impatience, these demands seek nothing less but total character change - an impossibility not only in terms of time given but in what can be realistically expected. In reality, economic demands to settle the debt become in reality cultural ones even though the European Union has denied all along culture any competent role in the decision making process. What makes this failure to understand cultural differences even worse is that such demands become a matter of compliance to a value system assumed to work in Greece as it does in Germany or in the United States. Yet any abstract model based on cauistic notions like demand and supply do not recognize what Louis Baeck has repeatedly underlined as being the difference between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic tradition. While the former includes countries atuned to understanding economy as part of their culture, the Atlantic tradition foresees a radical seperation between culture and economy.

As the crisis in Greece is accelerated by the demand of full compliance to the agreement made on October 26th/27th. It has become standard practice to chide Greece over its failure to enact structural reforms e.g. initiate a privatization program to the amount of 50 Billion. After Prime Minister Jorgios Papandreou abdictated his sole leadership of the country in his speech to the Greek parliament on Nov. 4th, but after having received a vote of confidence in the night of 4th to 5th of November, he seeks something which has been evasive all along: an inner political consensus which would unite all parties of Greece in order to face the threat of default and subsequently the loss of the Euro as common currency with the other 16 member states who form the Eurozone.

Michael D. Higgins

Michael D. Higgins in Athens 2007   Photo: Kostas Kartelis

Michael D. Higgins has been elected President of Ireland on 27th of October. This is for many a rare good news as he stands for giving a voice to culture and this is based on his conviction culture has a wider scope than the economy.

When he came to speak at the ECCM Symposium 'Productivity of Culture' and the Kids' Guernica exhibition held in Athens, June 2007, he brougth as a gift his book

Causes for Concern -Michael D. Higgins

Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, states in that book, basically a collection of various articles reflecting the consistency of this man over time, that there are many reasons for concern. Hence he urges to go ahead with a practical agenda. To overcome the current crisis, he sees that there is needed something like an ethical spirit which does inspire. He believes that this can facilitate a world governance based on morals to ensure that human rights are upheld everywhere.

For website of Michael D. Higgins: http://www.michaeldhiggins.ie/

A practical agenda in the making (2011 - 2011)

The key question is how should a NGO position itself in a situation of an acute crisis caused by severe austerity measures, but not only. One answer to that can be the creation of a practical agenda. This should resonate with what Michael D. Higgins has consistently outlined ever since meeting him at the first CIED conference held in Galway 1997.


Many are deeply worried by what will happen, if Greece defaults or Italy cannot get its financial budget in tune with what it takes to reduce the deficit. At stake is, however, more than resolving or not the issue of a huge state deficit by severe austerity measures which affect mostly the poor and vulnerable but not those with the means to influence political decisions. There is a link between the economic crisis and the crisis in economic theory. If ignored, governments will continue to apply only poor policy tools and fail to bring about a resolvement of the economic crisis.

Treatise about economic theory

Editorial opinion about Greece

Poverty of Experience by Hatto Fischer

In an interview with Cafe Babel, there is drawn as well a linkage to what Ritsos defined as freedom: namely the freedom to live your own craziness. Once that is perceived, the other no to act so irrational as it seems for the outsider:



Anna Arvanitaki has been coordinating in the Greek Ministry for Environment, Energy and Climate Change the Master Plans for five Greek cities: Ioanna, Patras, Larissa, Volos and Iraklion. It is an attempt to link environmental protection and regulation of land use. There are several levels involved, insofar as the overall strategic plan is complemented by studies initiated by local mayors. That means adaptation of any law means multiple interpretations within the regulatory framework. There appeared a comprehensive article in Kathemirini to provide an overview as to what these five Master Plans entail in terms of these five Greek cities.

"Setting city limits for a more sustainable future: Gov’t sees curbing of rampant construction in big urban centers"
by Giorgos Lialios
Kathimerini 14.9.2011

European Union related activities in 2011- 12

Platform for Intercultural Europe

Poiein kai Prattein is a member of the Platform for Intercultural Europe which emerged out of the Rainbow coalition discussion about intercultural dialogue as possible tool for further cultural integration in Europe. The concept intercultural dialogue deserves specific intention as it entails both the dimension of dialogue and the 'soft power' the European Union advocates as policy tool in international affairs. It comes hardly as a surprise that this concept has to be taken beyond its epistemological unclarity (see here the criticism by Frederique Chabaud and a reply by Hatto Fischer) and put into much greater alignment with cultural diversity and modern means of communication.

At the same time, the Platform for Intercultural Europe has focused much more on migrant /immigrant related issues as it is a test case of Europe's capacity to integrate people from different cultural backgrounds and still allow for creative contributions of each of the communities to what could be a museum of memory. This can link historical narratives with ongoing efforts to retain social and economic cohesion.

In Athens, Greece work all migrant groups face difficulties of integration. Especially in a crisis like this one, immigrants must make tremendous efforts to have their Rights be respected. As this can be done only in co-operation with Greek, EU and international citizens, communication linkages needed to created in order to prevent exclusion and discrimination. These two are more often linked to misunderstandings and fear of the other(s). It is important to attain Rights for all, Greek citizens and the socalled foreigners. It has always been the credo of the Polis in Ancient Greece that no judge should treat a foreigner different from a citizen of the Polis. This demand for equality in front of the common law should be a shared constitutional principles everywhere in the world. Only that can ensure a sound base for a common life to be shared.

For further information about the work of the Platform of Intercultural Europe see:


EU Cultural Policy - Cultural Forum 2011

On Oct. 20 - 21 the Cultural Forum was organised by the European Commission in Brussels.

See official website for more information http://culture-forum-2011.ec.europa.eu/index.jsp

and comments on the presentations by Hatto Fischer

The Cultural Forum depicts a new need to evaluate EU Cultural Policy. The latter is guided very much by the EU 2020 vision and the new Regio Policy orientation. Nevertheless in light of especially the crisis in Greece, the policy making in Brussels appears to be based unfortunately on assumptions far removed from reality. Most interesting is the finding by Secco from Milano that in countries like Greece and other Mediterranean ones cultural participation appears to be very low and therefore not a high level of innovation can be achieved.

EU Youth Project: Nation and Identity

A project for young people from Poland, Germany, Austria, Greece and Italy

40 people at the age of 20 to 27 try to discover and define what notions of nation and patriotism mean nowadays for young generation. How much does nationality influence our identity? How can we define the patriotism of today without falling into the trap of nationalism?

Coordination of entire project:

Joanna Szaflik
Kreisau-Initiative Berlin e.V.




Meeting I

Nation and Identity: Define, Debate, Understand

Krzyżowa (Poland): 23.- 29.02.212

Meeting II

Nation and Identity: Conclude and Spread the Word

Padua (Italy): 11.-17.6.2012

Coordination in Athens: Poiein kai Prattein

8 young people can apply to join the two workshops (100 Euro participation fee and 75% coverage of travel costs; accommodation and food is provided).
Call for Applications

European Capitals of Culture

The University Network of European Capitals of Culture held their conference in Antwerp, Oct. 27 - 28, 2011, that is in the immediate aftermath to the crisis session in Brussels to decide about the situation in Greece, Italy and throughout Europe. At the conference Hatto Fischer made a presentation about 'crisis in culture - crisis in the project of European Capitals of Culture'.

Outstanding issues



Katerina Anghelaki Rooke will do a reading of her poetry at Athens Centre in Mets, Athens on Nov. 8th, 2011.

There is the tremendous work by Norb Blei who continues to surprise with his Poetry Dispatches, Letters from the Underground, Haiku Poetry and just reading out aloud something about 'lost memories' or else how T.S. Eliot viewed 'us hollow men'.

After having organized on Sept. 24, 2011: A poem of the other - contribution to World Poetry Movement Day 24th of September 2011, and this in conjunction with the World Poetry Movement Day which was organised world wide (see www.wpm2011.org), a delegation of the World Poetry Movement plans to come to Brussels in March 2012 to meet with officials of the European Commission and MEPs of the European Parliament, in particular with members of the Cultural Committee. There are plans under way to hold as well a Poetry Reading in the evening on March 27, 2012.

The 22nd Medellin International Poetry Festival in Colombia will take place June 23 to 30, 2012
Luis Eduardo Rendón
Program Coordinator
22 Medellin International Poetry Festival


Voice of Africa: Mike Van Graan

Cultural Weapon

Under this new heading there can be found articles written by the South African playwright Mike van Graan. Through him some of the latest developments on the African continent can be understood out of a cultural perspective. Mike van Graan is a keen observer of the chances but also contradictions inherent in the cultural sector.

'IMPERISHABLE WATER and the open question of development'


Haroula Hadijnicolaou curated on behalf of Poiein kai Prattein an action to the theme of 'imperishable water and the open question of development' on Rhodes from May 29 until June 4th.



Since 2005 Poiein kai Prattein has become involved in Kids' Guernica related activities to promote cultural actions based on a collaborative learning process.

The house depicted as logos can be found in the Kids' Guernica mural called ‘The War is Over’. It was the first contribution of Poiein kai Prattein to Kids’ Guernica when celebrating its 10th Anniversary in Ubud, Bali 2005. There followed exhibitions in Crete and Chios, and October 2007 in Athens. The latter exhibition was linked with the ECCM Symposium 'Productivity of Culture'. The recommendation was made then Kids' Guernica should be linked to every city which becomes European Capital of Culture see Wroclaw 2016 in Poland, and furthermore San Sebastian 2016. The latest action of Kids' Guernica in Europe has been in Tübingen, Germany while actions continue in Japan, Haiti, Israel and Togo in Africa.

Kids' Guernica started in Japan in 1995 in response to Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The idea is very simple: children, youth and even adults can paint together their message of peace on a canvas having the same size as Picasso's Guernica (7,8 x 3,5 m)

More information can be obtained on the webpages of Poiein kai Prattein and at the international website: www.kids-guernica.org

Kids' Guernica Actions in Japan since 11th of March 2011 - overcoming traumatic experiences since a Tsunami wave struck the nuclear plant at Fukushima

The Kids' Guernica mural of Sendai Feb. 2011

Takuya Kaneda, international coordinator of Kids' Guernica in Japan, wrote after the earthquake and then the Tsunami had struck on March 11th, 2011:

"Coincidentally, one of the founders of this project, Prof. Toshifumi Abe and his colleague, Prof. Yoshiko Motoya coordinated a Kids' Guernica workshop last month in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, and a part of the affected areas by this massive earthquake on March 11. The workshop was organized by a group called MAGO3 aiming to realize a lifelong learning project from grandparents to grandchildren. Sendai City is a native place of Prof. Yoshiko Motoya, a leader of this group. Her house was not damaged but an elementary teacher who had supported this workshop lost her house. They are now working for the victims in Sendai city."

For further news of developments in in Japan see from Sendai to Fukushima

Kids' Guernica actions and European Capital of Culture

Wroclaw 2016

San Sebastian 2016

Action in San Sebastian with artist Beatriz Churrucu


The children call their mural: 'the magic vacuum cleaner for peace'. They thought of it after listening to the story told by Manuel Gonzales from Gent about his father who was evacuated as a child from Guernica after the bombardment in 1937 and brought to Gent for adoption. Suddenly the children confronted themselves with the question, but what would they do, if they had lost everything: parents, houses, friends, the school they go to daily?

San Sebastian won the bid for European Capital of Culture on the basis of wishing to use culture to face terror. The city is but 50 kilometers away from Guernica.

Youth Festival and Kids' Guernica in Tübingen, July 15 - 17, 2011

Youth Festival in Tübingen and Kids' Guernica in Tübingen, Germany was coordinated by Ines Dulay-Winkler and took place July 15 - 17, 2011 with the aim to draft a memorandum of understanding of what it takes to secure peace. See www.jukuta.de

Memorandum of Understanding of Kids' Guernica (draft July 2011)

In Response to the tragic event in Norway - declaration by Kids' Guernica, July 24, 2011

What happened in Oslo has sent shock waves throughout Europe and the world. While a lot of focus is being placed on failed integration policies, it should be recalled what Adorno and Horkheimer said already in 1944, that is one year before the end of Second World War, namely that 'even once Fascism has been defeated, still there will have to be dealt with the xenobic forces'. To understand the tragic event in Norway, there has to be added to the declaration the Enzensberger's thesis about the 'radical loser' and the wisdom by the Irish poet Brendan Kennelly who said in the introduction to his epic poem JUDAS, that 'the most difficult thing to unlearn is learned hatred!'


Wax Figures in an Uncanny Valley - Photos by Eleftheria Lialios

There shall be forthcoming a publication of this book by Eleftheria Lialios with Hatto Fischer writing captions and texts and Dan Georgakas an introductory note.

Details matter - with drawings by Asit Poddar and text by Hatto Fischer

Asit Poddar, 'Details matter', drawing done in Kastelli, Crete 2006


Cultural Calendar for 2011

Feb. 15 - 16 'Culture in Motion' EU conference about future cultural programs

Feb. 18 "Kids' Guernica and European Capitals of Culture: the cultural dimension of peace" conference in Gent, Belgium

March 2 - Public consultation of ECoC in Brussels

March 21 - World Day of Poetry with Alexia Amvrasi at FM 104,4 the Municipal Radio Station of Athens

May 16 - 17 Discussion in Berlin: "European Capitals of Culture and the Sustainability Question"

May 24 - 25 Platform for Intercultural Europe - Annual European Forum in Brussels with programme on 'Interculture. Enabling and Nourishing Dialogue', see http://www.intercultural-europe.org/

May - June Kids' Guernica action in cities striving to become European Capitals of Culture:

In Spain San Sebastian 2016 (see http://beatrizchurruca.blogspot.com/2011/06/la-aspiradora-magica-de-la-paz_17.html) and Burgos 2016

while in Poland Wroclaw 2016 there took place an action in May, that is prior to Wroclaw being selected in June to be European Capital of Culture in 2016. See http://www.wro2016.pl/czytaj/kids-guernica-1/

May 28 - June 5 - Cultural action on Rhodes under the theme of 'imperishable water' or «τ' άφθαρτα νερά* και η προβληματική της ανάπτυξης»

with Haroula Hadjinicolaou curator and organised by Poiein kai Prattein.

For photos of the action taken by Maria Bakari, see


July 15 - 17 Kids' Guernica at the Youth Festival in Tuebingen, Germany. See also the trailer at    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=397l5joHbGs

July 22 - the bombing and shooting in Oslo leaves especially children and youth in shock, see response by Kids' Guernica

Sept. 8 International Literarcy Day - this important criterion can be a partial answer to 'poverty of experience' but it still holds that few people are taught to read and to decode images and symbols used by media in the digital age. As a matter of fact, the literarcy gap remains as a major obstacle in all developments towards democracy. It is said that 780 million of the world's adults (nearly two thirds of them women) do not know how to read and write, while 94 to 115 million children lack access to education.

Sept.8 - 11 Cultural Congress to be held in Wroclaw, during the Polish EU Presidency:,http://www.culturecongress.eu/en

Sept.23 - 25  in Germany (near OIdenburg), the Cultura 21 Forum, will be hosted by the ecological artist Insa Winkler, and will include several workshops and talks, including Shelly Sacks and Hildegard Kurt with the "University of the Trees". More information can be obtained at

www.cultura21.net (online registration required!)

Sept. 24 World Poetry Movement Day www.wpm2011.org

Oct. 5 - 7  World Summit on Arts and Culture in Melbourne, Australia:  www.artsummit.org

Oct. 13 Dance innovation with Ingrid Kristensen: "præmiere på El eco del Carlito på Fyns Kunstmuseum samt det tredje innovationsrådsmøde."


Oct. 20 - 21 Cultural Forum organised by the European Commission in Brussels. For more information see


October 27- 28  The 5th General Assembly of University Network of European Capitals of Culture in Antwerp will be hosted by Lessius University College and title of the conference is "Culture in/and Crisis’.

For further information go to the website of the University Network of the European Capitals of Culture: www.uneecc.org

November 17 - 19 NECE conference in Warszawa: "Closing the empowerment gap through citizenship education: How to address educationally disadvantaged groups"

For more information, see NECE website: www.nece.eu

Looking ahead


European project 'Identity and Nation' coordinated by Kreisau Initiative

12 - 14.1.2012 Preparatory meeting in Berlin to be followed by 1st seminar in Krzyzowa, Poland 23-29.2.2012 and 2nd seminar in Padua, Italy (11 - 17.6.2012)

February 22 - 25  College Art Association, with the support of Getty Foundation, shall host international art historians at the CAA Centennial Conference in Los Angeles, Los Angeles Convention Center. For more information about travel grants to the conference go to, but deadline is Sept. 23, 2011: http://www.collegeart.org/travelgrants/getty

April 16 - 17 Conference in Paris - Marne-la-Vallee about "Building the urban future and Transit Orientated Development / rail and other modes, connecting with urban and regional development": http://www.aesop-planning.eu/news/en_GB/2011/09/14/readabout/call-for-abstract-building-the-urban-future-and-transit-oriented-development-rail-and-other-modes-connecting-with-urban-and-regional-development

April 19 - 21 Conference on 'History, Memory, Performance' organized by the Department of Theatre, University of Ottawa and the Carleton Centre for Public History, Carleton University.
This bilingual, international conference explores themes relating to history, memory and performance and will generate discussions about how historical meaning is created in the theatre and how theatrical performances shape our understanding of the past.

Athens 5.11.2011

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