Angela Melitopoulos & Angela Anderson
This project brings us to Halkidiki in Northern Greece, to the site of an ongoing grassroots struggle against a large-scale open-pit gold mining project by Eldorado Gold, a Canadian “low cost”mining company based in Vancouver. This catastrophe is emblematic of the exploitative power relations within the European Union and an example of contemporary disaster capitalism. Its form enacts the colonial enterprise of extraction on the ground in Greece, creating a civil war-like social conflict and an impending environmental catastrophe.
Halkidiki is a biologically diverse peninsula in Northern Greece consisting of mountainous old growth forests and pristine coastal environments. The economy of the region relies heavily on bee keeping, fishery, forestry, farming and tourism, activities which are dependent on the well-being of the ecosystem.
The two-channel video installations Unearthing Disaster I & II capture the literal pulverisation of the natural and cultural environment and its social form of expression. Unearthing Disaster I (first shown as Corridor X - Postscript to an Unfinished Journey - 2013) accompanies local activists on a journey through their once-familiar landscape, transformed in a matter of days through the massive intervention of construction works into something they no longer recognize.
Unearthing Disaster II (2015) contrasts the molecular, intelligent, rhizomatic networks of plants, trees, streams, and earth with the massive, violent, mechanized destruction of these networks in the name of profit and development.
Within this state of disaster capitalism, supported by the EU and the IMF, the Syriza government is forced to act against the interest of its citizens in order to protect the private interests of shareholder companies. Local communities have been criminalized for protesting the mining development, which relies on the protection of the police and private security forces.
The protest movements in Skouries show that our future is bound to a global political struggle for an ecology that recognizes the interconnectedness of environmental, social, cultural, economic and ethical levels.
- Angela Melitopoulos and Angela Anderson
From 1985, the art work of Angela Melitopoulos has been awarded and shown in many international exhibitions, biennials and festivals. Her work focuses on mnemopolitics, time, geography and collective memory in relation to electronic/digital media and documentation. Within her research she foregrounds the invention of new formats with multi-screen works, performance, expanded cinema and video essays that are philosophically grounded. She is teaching as a professor in the Media School of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen.
Angela Anderson is an artist and filmmaker working at the intersection of the fields of ecology, economics, migration, media and feminist & queer theory. She has worked with many artists and filmmakers on the realization of performative, filmic, and installation projects. Since 2013 she has been working with Angela Melitopoulos and anti-mining activists in NE Greece on a.o. ‘Unearthing Disaster’. She is the exhibition designer for Forum Expanded at the Berlin International Film Festival and holds an MA in Film and Media Studies from the New School (NYC).