The symposium and the exhibition “Under the Landscape” are two distinct events that will take place in the islands of Santorini and Therasia during the summer of 2022. They represent the culmination of a series of events, research, and participatory projects related to the islands, organized by Boulouki over the course of 2021 and 2022.

The symposium Under the Landscape takes place in Santorini and Therasia from 26 to 29 June. Its aim is to generate an interaction between different fields of knowledge involved with the study of landscapes. To this end, it features keynote lectures by five distinguished international thinkers; the lectures take place on 26 June and on the evening of 29 June in Santorini, in the Tomato Industrial Museum “D. Nomikos”, and are open to the public. Seat reservations can be done through Eventbrite. The symposium also comprises a three-day workshop in Therasia, taking place from 27 to 29 June, during which fifteen young researchers are discussing their work with experienced academics in structured thematic sessions. Finally, two roundtable discussions among academic and non-academic speakers aim to connect the theoretical discussion to specific island-based challenges of Santorini and Therasia.

The Symposium aims to build on the concept of landscape as a valuable common ground to address the complex societal and environmental challenges of our times. The work of the invited keynote speakers to the symposium has advanced alternative approaches on the built environment and cultural landscapes, going beyond their understanding as panorama or object of admiration, and seeing them instead as inclusive spaces of coexistence. Philosopher of architecture Karsten Harries, cultural geographer Kenneth Olwig, landscape architects Teresa Gali Izard and Jane Mah Hutton, and anthropologist Tim Ingold, all represent significant figures in the contemporary discourses on cultural landscapes and architecture. The early stage researchers, the invited commentators, and the roundtable speakers, all come from a variety of cultural and disciplinary backgrounds. To make the most out of the contact with these unique landscapes, the workshop takes an itinerant, outdoor format, and prioritizes dialogue among the participants, thus highlighting the value of on-site, in-person events in the post-covid era.

The exhibition Under the Landscape is organized in order to share with a wider audience the results of the homonymous project implemented by Boulouki throughout 2021, having as its main geographical core the island of Therasia. The exhibition consists of two parts, one in Santorini and one in Therasia, inviting the visitor to travel from one island to the other. The first part in Santorini, entitled “Learning for Below: the case of theran earth”, curated by museologist Erato Koutsoudaki, presents in detail the distinctive methodology, findings and results of the whole “Under the Landscape” project. Whereas, the part of Therasia, entitled “In Ex Situ”, focuses entirely on its artistic dimension. However, both parts basically raise a common, very simple question: does theran earth concern us today? And if it does, why and how?

On the occasion of finding answers, the exhibition invites us on a journey back in history, one that starts 30,000 years ago, passes through caves and vineyards, listens to songs of grape harvest, touches “aspa” with bare hands, learns about the use of “chochlidi” and about which ports of the world used theran earth as their construction material, as well as whether the Romans had concrete. The exhibition emphasizes the interplay between local and global, tradition and innovation, practicality and artistic creation. Wandering around its eight thematic sections in Santorini, as well as the independent one in Therasia, the visitor will have the opportunity to learn how those two islands took their present form in time, how their inhabitants adapted to the uniqueness of the landscape and how they shaped it according to their needs, how was everyday life in the once fully inhabited settlement of Agrilia, one that bares within all the wisdom acquired from the constant struggle for survival and, of course, how you build and create artworks with theran earth following a hands-on approach.

In this exhibition, by focusing on the importance of theran earth, we will learn “from below” alternative ways to use our past in order to improve our future.

The two events are organized by Boulouki – Itinerant Workshop on Traditional Building Techniques, under the aegis of the Technical Chamber of Greece and supported by JM Kaplan Fund, Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), Headley Trust, AEGEAS Non-Profit Civil Company, Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Company, Cyclades Preservation Fund, Blue Star Ferries and local businesses.

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