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Thessaloniki Museum invites visually impaired to embrace art February 28, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece, Arts Museums.
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Currently the Thessaloniki State Museum of Contemporary Art is catering to the visually impaired, thanks to an innovative, by Greek standards, program titled “Aggizontas tin techni” (Embracing Art).

Members of the Thessaloniki School for the Blind and the Panhellenic Association of the Blind recently enjoyed a guided tour of a new contemporary art exhibition.

Among the visitors was Ioanna, who made her way along Constantin Xenakis’s work, “Keimeno horis logo” (Text with no speach) She noted the artist’s “hieroglyphics,” described the work as rather “abstract” and was informed by the caption (in Braille) about the work’s dimension, title and technique.

The embossed work “read” by Ioanna was the tactile representation of the original work. Placed one next to the other, Xenakis’s original painting is being showcased as part of the Museum’s “Visual Arts Panorama in Greece 2”, an exhibition showcasing 100 works by 80 artists. A group of specialists (including social anthropologists, teachers and art restorers) joined forces with Thessaloniki State Museum of Contemporary Art and Thessaloniki School for the Blind volunteers in order to translate 21 of the works into a hands-on format.

“Not all of the works are appropriate for tactile translation,” said Maria Tsantsanoglou, the Museum’s Director. “We usually select works that can be rendered in an easy and comprehensive manner.”

The Thessaloniki Museum’s initiative is part of an international network of Museums carrying out the “Art Beyond Sight” program, including the Metropolitan Museum in New York and London’s Tate Modern and Victoria and Albert Museum.

Related Links > http://www.greekstatemuseum.com

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Filming at the old Athens airport February 28, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life, Movies Life Greek.
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Irene Jacob and Willem Dafoe in Athens, Theo Angelopoulos makes new movie

The sun was shining brightly at the old Athens airport in Hellenikon earlier in the week. Yet the atmosphere inside one of the buildings remained dark and misty, providing the setting for the filming of Theo Angelopoulos’s new film “The Dust of Time”.

Behind clouds of dry ice, one could make out the sets, the guardhouses of the US and Canadian borders. Those present were transported back to 1974, the time when the leading character, Eleni, interpreted by Irene Jacob, was crossing the borders in search of her son. Willem Dafoe plays the son, as a grownup, who is presently filming his life story.

Shortly before the shooting began, the two actors talked about Angelopoulos’s guidance. The director himself declined making any comments and kept on preparing for the shoot. “Theodoros does not give interviews,” said his protective wife Phoebe Economopoulou, who deals with everything during the filming.

“It is a privilege to be working with Angelopoulos,” said Jacob, who had aged with the help of makeup to fit her role. “It is a moving script that has to do with fragments of history and memory. Handling these concepts in cinema is a challenge and Theodoros does it beautifully, surpassing geographic and chronological borders.”

Dafoe described Angelopoulos’s sense of aesthetics as very personal and specific. “As an actor, I like to obey the director’s vision. Angelopoulos has a very particular vision and makes you feel that your service means something.”

“In Europe, there is more respect for the directors, whereas in the United States it is the actors and producers who have the power. One would expect that as an actor I would prefer America, but I like working for powerful directors,” noted Dafoe, when asked about the differences in working as an actor in the United States and in Europe.

Speaking about how he creates his roles, the actor said it was a combination of improvisation and structure. He insisted that his input in his role in “The Dust of Time” was minimal. “I didn’t create that part. I think it was Michel Piccoli who said that he liked to be a pawn in the director’s hands. Angelopoulos is very specific in how he wants his scenes done. Maybe it is just my taste, but I like to be molded; I enjoy being a pawn in the director’s hands.”

Once the last part of shooting, scheduled to take place abroad, is over, Angelopoulos’s production team will race against time so that the film can be ready for screening at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

Greek IT rate improving February 28, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet & Web.
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Greece is converging with the e-Europe indices but the road to meeting European Union penetration levels in information technology is still long, according to the indices for Greece last year.

The data published yesterday by the country’s Observatory for Information Society show that Greece is moving closer to the EU index for companies with more than 10 employees.

There is also a now common “digital profile” between Greeks and other Europeans under the age of 35 years. On the other hand, small companies with up to nine people, which are the majority of Greek enterprises, remain far behind the basic EU standards.

The age group of between 35 and 54 years also lags behind their fellow Europeans in the use of information technology.

The indices show a greater present rate of penetration in Greece than in the rest of the EU. In the 2005-2007 period, the portion of households with access to the Internet at home in Greece had an average increase of 11.7 percent per year, against just 6 percent in the EU.

However, general use of the Internet in Greek households stands at just three-fifths (60 percent) of the EU average and at half that of the old 15 members of the bloc.

After Attica, the regions of the Southern Aegean, Crete and the Ionian Islands have the greatest use of the Internet, which, according to the president of the Observatory, Nikos Christodoulou, is due to the tourism market’s demand for the presence of tourism bodies on the World Wide Web.

Another important finding is that cost is no longer an obstacle to entering the “digital society,” at least compared with the cost in other EU states.

The survey showed that the cost of acquiring a computer in purchase power units is lower in Greece (537 euros, including value-added tax) against an average of 660 euros in the EU.

Greek OTE sells Cypriot assets February 28, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Telecoms.
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Cyprus Trading Corporation (CTC) said it had signed an agreement to buy stakes in Greek telecom group OTE’s subsidiaries OTEnet (Cyprus) and OTEnet Telecommunications. CTC will pay 3.99 million euros, the company said in an announcement.

After the transaction, which is subject to approval by Cyprus’s competition commission, CTC will raise its stake from 20 percent to 100 percent in OTEnet (Cyprus) and will control 87.25 percent of OTEnet Telecommunications.

A bygone era go on display at Benaki Museum February 28, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece, Arts Museums.
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Panayiotis Fatseas’s portraits from bygone era go on display at Benaki Museum’s Pireos Street Annex presents selection of images taken by ‘recently discovered’ Kythera photographer

In the first decades of the 20th century, the families of Kythera that wanted to have photographic portraits taken would most likely have gone to the studio of Panayiotis Fatseas, a self-taught photographer gifted with a talent for capturing his sitter’s gaze and personality in lively, non-academic portraits. The photographs that Fatseas took on this island off the eastern tip of the Peloponnese documented the most important moments in the lives of the local inhabitants: the weddings, formal events, the birth of a new child, both happiness and grief. His clients also included the families that had emigrated to either the United States or Australia; their request was to have photographs of their relatives, still back home, sent to them.

From 1920 until his untimely death in 1938 – he was only 50 – Fatseas produced a substantial body of work, only recently discovered and now appraised as an important chapter in the history of early Greek photography. This is thanks to Yiannis Stathatos, a photographer, curator and writer on photography (and the person behind the Kythera Photographic Encounters), the person who located and undertook the study and conservation of the Panayiotis Fatseas archive (around 2,200 glass negative plates) and brought it to the attention of both specialists and the general public.

A selection of Fatseas’s photographs were first presented during one of the Kythera Photographic Encounter events a few years ago. “Panayiotis Fatseas, Faces of Kythera, 1920-1938,” an exhibition that recently opened at the Pireos Annex of the Benaki Museum, now makes his work known to the Athenian public. The exhibition is organized by the Kythera Photographic Encounters and the Photography Archive of the Cultural Society of Kythera to which the Fatseas archive was donated in 2002 in collaboration with the Photographic Archives of the Benaki Museum. It is supplemented with a catalog on the artist’s work.

Stathatos, curator of the exhibition, notes that one of the unique aspects in the photography of Fatseas is its lack of rigidity, the ease and naturalness in the poses and the vividness in the expressions of the sitters. Fatseas did not photograph frozen postures or void expressions but had a rare capacity for bringing out the distinctive personality of each person. Portraiture comprises the majority of his work; however there were also some pictures of landscapes and outings.

Most of the photographs were taken in his studio, which was set up around 1920; the building is still preserved. It is most probable that Fatseas was the first inhabitant on Kythera to own a photographic camera. He had purchased it in New York where he emigrated to at the age of 23 and lived for two years, working as a waiter. He returned to Greece in 1912 in order to fight in the Balkan wars. The huge demand for portraits made him turn to photography, yet Fatseas also worked in agriculture and commerce for a short period.

Two of his sons took up the trade and ran their father’s photographic studio for another four decades after the photographer’s death. They also expanded its activities by incorporating a summer cinema. However, the archive of Fatseas remained hidden for years. Aided by Fatseas’s grandson, Stathatos has saved the archive from destruction and made a new valuable addition to the history of Greek photography.

“Panayiotis Fatseas, Faces of Kythera, 1920-1938” at the Pireos Annex of the Benaki Museum, 138 Pireos Street, Athens, tel 210 3453111. Through March 23.

Lost ostrich found on fast lane of highway February 28, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News.
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An ostrich found wandering in the fast lane of a provincial highway outside Thessaloniki early yesterday morning was caught by police before it could could get hurt or provoke a traffic accident.

The bird was spotted trotting around on the Thessaloniki-Nea Michaniona road at around 2 a.m. yesterday by a surprised motorists who contacted the police. Two police patrol cars arrived shortly afterward and blocked off the area as officers used a length of rope to catch the errant ostrich.

The bird was then coaxed into the back of a truck and transferred to the grounds of a nearby breakdown assistance company where it is to be kept until its owner is found. Police yesterday had no leads about where the ostrich had come from.