Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Sunday 29th of May 2011

Map of Rhodes

Workshop and Conference on Rhodes, May 27 - June 4, 2011

'Imperishable water' and the open question of development

2010 - 2011

Preparations of Poiein kai Prattein and Haroula Hadijnicolaou

Preparations started once Haroula Hadjinicolaou had contacted Hatto Fischer at Poiein kai Prattein. She did so upon recommendation by eco-artist Insa Winkler. A fruitful form of working together was started but before the action could be realized many stages of deliberations had to be gone through. A key decision was to go ahead with the action despite of the crisis in Greece.

Anna Arvanitaki and Haroula Hadjinicolaou


Everything with regards to Rhodes started to take concrete shape once Haroula Hadjinicolaou offered her Lindos apartments which she usually rents out to tourists and manages it together with her mother as the place where the participants could stay. To have accommodation secured for at least 15 people is really something.

Haroula Hadjinicolaou as the curator of the action did a very careful selection of participants. She wanted as a prime focus an artistic approach to environmental issues and in particular landartists since she wanted to link the action to water / wetlands related issues. For this prime reason she invited Insa Winkler from Germany and Boudewijn Payens from Holland. The two had already worked together on previous occasion. In the end, the group was comprised among others of photographer Nikos Kasseris who is well known on the island of Rhodes, engineer Michalis Chondros, biologist Maria Corsini Fokaplanners, composer Phivos Kollias, film maker Alexandra Zanne, psychologist Maria Bakari, artist Iakovos Xenakis, architect Nikos Anastasopoulos, poet Katerina Anghelaki Rooke, philosopher / poet Hatto Fischer and planner Anna Arvanitaki.

Funding was not easy. Instead of money most of the support was given in kind. Haroula Hadjinicolaou and Anna Arvanitaki had managed to solicit from Municipal and Regional Authorities such a support in the form of providing transportation and one evening meal after the conference in Rhodes. The Translation Centre hosted the special guests who had come only for the conference. Most helpful was the decision by the Dutch Embassy in Greece to fund the flights of the two artists, Insa Winkler and Boudewijn Payens. In the end, Poiein kai Prattein and Haroula Hadjinicolaou covered some of the flight tickets while all other expenses which were incurred due to 15 people coming together for more than just one week were shared by all e.g. materials for breakfast and evening meals when everyone stayed at the apartments in Lindos.

Preparations included an extra trip to Rhodes in order to secure such things as transportation, but also the translation centre for the conference. Haroula, Anna and Insa deliberated also with various authorities to the degree that they were willing to get involved themselves in the action. One local community offered to supply the cement needed for the action to make a stone mosaic under the auspices of Insa Winkler and supply a lunch for all children from two school classes which would partake on that day.

Haroula, Anna and Insa Winkler deliberating at the spot

The combination of having first over one week workshops filled with field trips and evening discussions and in the end a conference to conjoin with world environment day meant a complex undertaking. The aim was to achieve with the help of artistic answers to environmental challenges a new approach to the open question of development. Reflections thereof can be found in the catalogue agreed at the outset with the regional authority to be published as main outcome of the action and for which was promised some financial support. This publication was done by August 5th, 2012.

Insa Winkler with Haroula Hadjinicolaou

A driving force behind the action was land artist Insa Winkler. Not only did she come for this preparation to Rhodes but then helped design and realize the brochure published to announce the action.


Arrival in Rhodes

Sunday 29th of May 2011

Airport terminal for arrivals

A confusing situation at the airport prevailed due to many arrivals. Despite the crisis hitting Greece, Rhodes experienced in 2011 an increase in tourism by 35%. Completely unnoticed should not go the advertisement sign for McDonalds at the airport. There is this book by James Clifford about 'Predicament of Culture' in a world where every place sells Coca-Cola and McDonald like fash food joints open up to serve those who like to travel, but only trust these places when wishing to eat something. That reduces the possibility of experiencing another world, so the thesis by James Clifford, next to 'nothing'. Gone is the otherness and therefore no more alienation in a positive sense can be experienced. Travel light! The clever answer to that challenge is to travel only at night for then less can be seen. Still, Rhodes is proving to be an island attracting many tourists but for what reason? It was not the aim of the workshop to find that out, but tourism as such figured largely in our minds when confronted by such a mass of tourists.

Outside the terminal countless buses were waiting while taxis and private cars squeezed in between. It seemed as if everyone followed his or her own rule in order to get the best parking spot or vantage point for picking up passengers. It seemed impossible to get through but as if a miracle it nevertheless did work. The traffic continued to flow.



Haroula's father fetched us from the airport and drove us to Lindos. In doing so, he confessed that he did not fancy the idea of becoming a permanent taxi driver. The risk was given with their house being in Rhodes while the apartments are in Lindos. Haroula and her mother manage together the apartments rented for a reasonable prize.

En route to Lindos we got some first impressions of Rhodes. On the outskirts there was the usual urban sprawl of houses spreading out to the left and to the right of the road. Mixed in where all kinds of retail shops. Hill tops were as crowded as valleys. Every construction seemed to follow the general credo that it is desirable to build anywhere as long it entails some view. Thus it did not matter if on a hill or beside a beautiful beach. The loss of secluded places or untouched nature was almost to be felt at every turn in the road.

Coastline towards Lindos

A lot of tourist enterprises could be spotted. They stretch along the road leading out of Rhodes. Along with them everything was offered in supermarkets but also special shops from scuba diving to construction materials. The spreading out of everything made the region of Rhodes look very frail.

Traveling on the road one could spott immediately who among the drivers were tourists. Not only were they using rental car services but in contrast to the locals, they would drive very slow. By contrast, the locals rushed through as fast as they could. They have seen that same road many times before. They felt as well provoked by the slow drivers but which can lead to dangerous attempts to pass. This is especially the case when there is really no such opportunity as when going into a curve and where it would have been wiser to wait till the road straightens out again.

The main road was under construction which made things far more haphazard. Also it had just rained. Unusual for this time of the season, it was predicted three more days of bad weather and only then will the sun come out in full again. The rain had transformed stretches of the road into pools of water.

We were to experience bad weather until Tuesday. On that day we were to experience a major interruption in our action to be led by Boudewijn Payens but that we did not know that Sunday as of yet. We hoped things would improve by the time we started out on our excursion.


Arrival in Lindos

Arrival in Lindos

Arrival in Lindos was signalled first of all by passing through a major parking lot which served as a kind of terminal. After that it went through curves down hill. To the left the town of Lindos could be seen with the Acropolis hovering above on a steep and rugged rock.

Acropolis of Lindos


The latter proved dangerous for someone like Boudewijn Payens who loves to mountain climb. He explained that the rocks are razor like and can cut easily through any rope.

After a short walk around two corners from that parking spot indicated above as point of arrival, we ended up in front of the door of Erato Apartments of Lindos.

Entrance door to Erato apartments in Lindos

Once inside main courtyard elongated along the apartments. Everyone already there came out to greet. Besides Haroula and her mother, there were Insa Winkler, Alexandra Zanne. Phivos Kollias, Iakavos Xenakis, Boudewijn Payens. Others followed very soon.

Since the rooms have three or four beds in them, it was an invitation to a kind of collective living. The rooms downstairs had as floor stone mosaics best cleaned in winter time by simply using a hose to sprinkle water over them.

Stone mosaic on the floor of each room

Upstairs were more rooms. That was close to the veranda where we gathered as well.

View of Lindos from upper veranda

Flowers grace the space

The rainbow

Already a first reflection of the importance of water began when sighting the rainbow. How many wishes are connected with finding the end of the rainbow? As fragmentation of light due to a higher moisture the scala of colours become visible. That thought entered later on the catalogue.

Insa Winkler


Alexandra Zanne and Boudewijn Payens


Haroula Hadijnicolaou


Iakovos Xenakis

Iakovos Xenakis comes from Mani where he rents rooms for holiday makers. At the same time, he is an artist who has strong connections to Switzerland and other European countries where he exhibits regularly. His way of interacting with the others was based on a soothing silence with the intention to give to others space to unfold their thoughts.

Once on the upper level of the Erato apartments, there could be seen the nearby restaurants with their chimneys working hard to let off heat into the already hot air. Rooftops have their own irregular regular pattern. Every angle allows cats to jump over while human beings cannot so easily unless they are good climbers and trained to be thieves.


Place of workshop: ERATO apartments in Lindos



Start of the Workshop

Evening Program

Opening of workshop at ERATO Apartments in Lindos

Anna Arvanitaki: Opening greetings

Haroula Hadjinicolaou: ‘Imperishable water’ - idea of the action, presentation of the participants and schedule for the week.

Hatto Fischer Open Question of development (written presentation)

Insa Winkler and Stamatis Moschous: The wetlands of Rhodes

21.00 Opening Dinner


Evening discussion and presentation:

Phivos Kollias and Haroula Hadijnicolaou

The presentation prepared by Insa Winkler and Stamatis Moschous was done in the form of a power point presentation. It took us through what would lie ahead of us throughout the coming week. Insa Winkler had designed as well the brochure and included, therefore, the maps and images of Rhodes she had perceived as being significant from a point of view of an artist. Also her previous trip had sharpened her eyes for certain things while Stamatis was most helpful in providing support for those still in need to find their way on this island.

Boudewijn Payens, Stamatis Moschous and guest


Nikos Kasseris, Insa Winkler and Maria Bakari


If these photos can help recall some of the discussion points, questions asked, answers given, all while a group begins to prepare itself for a full week, then something will be attained. To keep memories alive, a special care has to be taken how everyone else remembers the same situation. All are more or less witness of their own actions. One aspect which alters nowadays completely actions undertaken. Not one person takes photos but practically everyone. The digital revolution sinks in when this is made conscious that performing becomes an immediate art. Everything is captured right away but then things are easily forgotten if no one keeps a diary. It is an admittance that even this diary is at best incomplete and a subjective angle evident even while trying to be as objective as possible.

Maria Bakari and Stamatis Moschous

Maria Bakari took many photos. They have a certain aesthetical line to them as she would capture geometrical patterns in nature. She was the group psychologist, if one may call her that. Living in Rhodes, she has the extra advantage of knowing the local settings. She was also most observant about interactions between different members of the group. That became most explicit Friday evening, that is on the last evening before the conference, when she introduced a special game and showed how the weaving of a network can be taken literally a matter of showing openly whom you prefer the most to have as a partner.

Iakovos Xenakis, Phivos Kollias and Haroula Hadjinicolaou

We sat on the beds in the room of Boudewijn and Iakovos. To make possible projections against the wall, all paintings and pictures had been taken down. In such a relaxed atmosphere, it became clear we will attain a level of discussion which can help clarify the issues in need to be adressed.

Haroula Hadijnicolaou and Alexandra Zanne

Haroula had not known Alexandra Zanne before this encounter. She had asked Hatto Fischer if he could recommend someone who was sensitive enough to be able to follow the group throughout the week and make a documentary out of it. Haroula was very definite about it. The documentary should not be an ordinary one, but capture many side aspects of what such a workshop with its numerous excursions entails. Haroula together with Insa Winkler and Anna Arvanitaki, but mainly on her own selected the routes. Stamatis Moschous helped as well but these day exercursions were but samples, so to speak, of the natural landscape existing on Rhodes. Thus the discussion was just another part of preparing for the next preparation.

Phivos Kollias and behind him Iakovos Xenakis


Evening dinner

After the discussion the group went to the restaurant of Haroula's sister. All were invited for dinner to mark the first evening in Lindos. The restaurant is located directly at the main square where tourists can transfer from taxis or buses onto donkeys which take them up to the Acropolis. The discussion at the restaurant centred first of all around the difficulty for them to get permission to have tables outside since that location is a protected cultural heritage site. Also the group was aware that such contributions in kind would make the week possible. For how to feed 15 people? No budget was secured to cover these expenses. Hence for breakfast and lunches taken with them everyone pitched in. Evening dinners were alternately prepared especially by Haroula's mother or else we were invited.

Hatto Fischer

Athens 11.8.2012


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