Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

"Imperishable water" and the open question of development

Wetlands in Rhodes                                                            Photo: Nikos Kasseris



'IMPERISHABLE WATER' * and the open question of development.

Action on Rhodes, May 28 - June 4, 2011

*imperishable water is a line taken from the poem Destiny also flows by Katerina Anghelaki Rooke

Curator Haroula Hadjinicolaou organized on behalf of Poiein kai Prattein a multi-disciplinary workshop on Rhodes under the poetic theme 'imperishable water'. The metaphor stems from a poem written by Katerina Anghelaki Rooke.

During the workshop, lasting from May 28th until June 4th, the participants made several field trips to visit the wetlands on Rhodes. They examined rivers, dam lakes and other bodies of water. A key interest was to see with their own eyes what relationships between wetlands and rivers leading to the sea still prevail, despite all kinds of interventions by man.

Wetlands play an important function in nature, but one in need to be understood. All too often these natural barriers for floods or even Tsunamis are ignored, especially when development linked to an ever expanding tourism industry wishes to construct hotels and other entertainment facilities, including nicely kept beaches, ever closer to the shoreline. Such construction and building expansion destroys the proper functioning of the deltas. They exist not only where the river flows into the sea but they act as a filter as to what flows into open waters. And such filters can tell a story as to what is happening upstream e.g. pollution of the water by waste being thrown into dried out river beds but swept downstreams during periods of heavy rain and possible floods.

The methodology for this kind of field research shall be developed further by the artists, philosophers, archeologists, water engineers, WWF representative, ecologists and environmentalists who had attended the workshop and the conference. As a matter of fact they created a biotop of ideas to examine leading and learning hypotheses from as many angles as possible.

Also while on Rhodes, they did a kind of performance. They re-enacted the existence of nympths near fresh water sources. It is was thought that such joyful encounters with nature would also allow further reflection of thoughtful approaches to the environment, in particular the wetlands on the island of Rhodes.

The week long workshop closed with a one day conference. It had the aim to bring about a memorandum of understanding in order to address the complexity of governance pertaining to man's relation to wetlands. Based on poetry, including the one written by Katerina Anghelaki Rooke about 'imperishable water', the group ventured into philosophical fields of understanding man's relationship to nature and to environment in general. For full documentation see the relevant webpages below.

A pilot workshop to combine artistic, philosophical and environmental approaches and to link them to the question of development. It was done on as well in reference to World Environment Day taking place on June 5th 2011


Background: The question of development has to be posed and faced in certain landscapes of Rhodes where the valuable ecosystems of wetlands are recorded. The preservation of water resources (‘’imperishable waters’’) and their functioning inside the insular landscape offers the opportunity for an encounter among philosophy, science and art in collaboration with the local communities. In the short run it aims at a Co-operative Memorandum with the agreement of all participating institutions. In the long run, the establishment of Cultural Network for the Water Resources for the Aegean Islands as well as the grounding of a relevant European wide collaborative programme.


*Examine the contradictions or convergences among the various models of economic management (farming, stock-breeding, tourism and housing) inside the specific landscapes, in relation to the existing institutional conservation framework.

*Resuscitate the memory of wetlands, by tracing the evidence of wetlands in time, as preserved by the material and immaterial culture (language, customs, technology etc.).

*Positive evaluation of the environmental aspect inside the cohesive network of the insular landscape.

*Energize the local communities by strengthening the bonds with the work- people, educators, local government institutions and youth.

*Manifest the power of culture (philosophy, architecture, literature, music, visual and performative arts) towards responsible attitudes of stakeholders or policy makers.

*Investigate the development models in site specific landscapes marked by the urgent need of the preservation of water resources.



*Organize a collaborative field work with joint actions, in site specific areas, among the relevant institutions of the island and the team of the workshop consisted of philosophers, anthropologists, biologists, architects-planners, environmentalists, new media artists and poets, coming from Greece or other European countries.

*Ensure an on going and follow-up digital or conventional recording and documentation as well as the inauguration of a data base resulting from the field work and depicting the diverse fields of research.

*Collaborate with the educational sector, First Degree and the University of the Aegean in order to organize programmes with an artistic content (music, visual and performative art and literature) having as inspiration the water resources and the landscapes of wetlands.

*Co-operate with the International Writers and Translator’s Center of Rhodes by focusing on the poetess Katerina Anghelaki Rouk and the natural element in her poetry.

*Produce an artistic action e.g. a performance at a site specific wetland, Sunday 5th of June 2011, World Environment Day.

*Organize a Day Conference with the following aims: to manifest the cultural dimension as the only way of rescue as well as being the most prominent vehicle of development procedures, to energize the local institutions and organizations in order to undertake initiatives with permanent perspectives in respect to environmental and cultural criteria, to propose the diversion of the main economic activity, that is tourism, from the massive, consuming model  to the quality dimension, in respect to the diversity, the beauty and the mosaic of the landscape. Outcome: a Co-operation Memorandum with the agreement of all participating institutions.

*Produce a half an hour documentary addressed to participate during the ‘’Rodos ecofilms –International films and visual arts festival’’ taking place annually in Rhodes.

*Future perspectives-2nd stage. Fist show of the documentary during the ‘’Rodos ecofilms –International films and visual arts festival’’ June 2012 and parallel site specific land art istallation.


Sites of Interest-Wetlands of Rhodes:

*Wetlands: Rivers, creeks, estuary and delta of rivers, lakes, lagoons, marshes, springs, lakeside or riverside sites, salt-pits, artificial water reservoirs.

*Rhodes is among the islands with the largest number of wetlands



* In some of the above wetlands is still observed the threatened endemic fish gkizani (Ladigesocypris ghigii), biological symbol of the island.



Video of first impressions by Maria Bakari





Organised by Poiein kai Prattein




Haroula Hadjinicolaou: art historian/ Benaki Museum and collaborator of

Anna Arvanitaki:president of Poiein kai Prattein and urban/land planner at Greek Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change

Hatto Fischer: coordinator and poet / philosopher

In collaboration with:

Katerina Anghelaki Rooke, poetess

Insa Winkler, landscape architect and artist http://www.insawinkler.de/

Nikos Georgiadis, forester, scientific collaborator with WWF Hellas http://www.wwf/wetlands

Nikos Kasseris, photographer http://www.kasseris.gr/eko



WWF Hellas


WWF protection of wetlands on Aegean islands


The Goulandris Natural History Museum GREEK BIOTOPE/WETLAND CENTRE http://www.ekby.gr

Hellenic Centre for Marine Research H.C.M.R. http://www.hcmr.gr



Municipality of Rhodes http://www.rhodes.gr

Erato Apartments http://www.eratolindos.gr


Departure: Friday 27 May 2011, 19.00 from the Port of Piraeus with the Blue Star Ferries which support this action.


The project is under the auspices of




the Municipality of Rhodes



With the support of:



International Centre for Literature and Translation of Rhodes







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