the city talks back

The City Talks Back brings together architects, urbanists, activists, artists and anthropologists to explore the political voices of contemporary Athens. The projects and pieces presented here aim to question who is (and isn’t) heard in the city and how the audibility of voices changes across its varying public spaces.

This research residency is a collaborative project initiated by London-based urban research organisation Theatrum Mundi and hosted by Athens-based cultural foundation Onassis Stegi

The project consists of several stages supporting the development, creation and presentation of new works by the international group of participants. The initial research residency (January 2020) explored the city and its contemporary challenges and established connections between the participants and local initiatives. The second residency (March 2020) allowed for the development and sharing of the works-in-progress.

Assembly 01, the first public phase of the project features new works and performances by the invited residents and additional collaborators. Some of the pieces are works-in-progress in development for Assembly 02, a planned live event in Athens, June 2021.


The City Talks Back is a project by Theatrum Mundi and Onassis Stegi

John Bingham-Hall and Fani Kostourou (Theatrum Mundi), Christos Carras and Pasqua Vorgia (Onassis Stegi), George Kafka

Residency participants
Mercedes Azpilicueta, John Bingham-Hall, Ella Finer, Stefania Gyftopoulou, Fani Kostourou, Mara Petra, Yorgos Samantas, Eleanna Santorinaiou, Urok Shirhan, The Syrian and Greek Youth Forum (Hnd Alzayat, Hussain Badran, Ilias Al Fakhizi, Wael Habbal, Kareem Al Kabbani, Christina Magiaki, Ehab Onan, Ayman Al Qalaa, Safi Sahyouni, Chloe Tsern
ovitch, Becka Wolfe), Angeliki Tzortzakaki, Tim Ward, Tom Western

Additional collaborators
Maria Sideri, Niovi Zarampouka-Chatzimanou (Victoria Square Project)

Graphic Design
Typical Organization

Website Development

Additional thanks
Panos Charalampous, Stefanos Levidis (Forensic Architecture), Thomas Maloutas, Manolis Manousakis (Medea Electronique), Dimitra Siatista (Co-Hab Athens), Nikos Rossis, Panagiotis Tzannetakis, Eleni Tzirtzilaki

Artworks and publishing rights © the artists without restriction

Additional details and biographies here.

Project credits

Ακούς την Αθήνα;

Recordings were made possible thanks to the participation of: Ariadni Fytopoulou, Eleanna Grammatopoulou, Dimitris Grozopoulos, Daniel Hong, George Kafka, Sotiria Kitsou, Thanasis Kostouros, Vasilis Kourousias, Leda Koutsodaskalou, Alexandros Lykos, Eugenia Maragkou, Stavros Martinos, Iro Mazaraki, Ioanna Mitsiali, Haris Nikolaidis, Panagiotis Nikolaou, Karolos Papalazarou, Mara Petra, Ioanna Petsepe, Nikos Rossis, Eleni Roumpani, Themis Rounis, Yorgos Samantas, Manthos Santorineos, Alexis Stenakis, Thana Thliverou, Anthi Tsixli, Ioannis Tsirkas, Lefteris Vasilakis, Tim Ward, Tzenia Zachariou, Giorgos Zacharopoulos, Nikolas Zafiropoulos, Marietta Zilakou.

Athens Tessellation

Architects Stefania Gyftopoulou and Mara Petra in collaboration with Curing the Limbo audiovisual workshop tutors: Oikonomidis Stelios, Maria Pesli and Christos Pieridis, Coordinator Anastasia Vlachaki, Scientific Responsible Evangelia Kourti and the workshop participants, narrate the voice of the city through the works of refugee artists: Nancy Ngoyo, Shokufa Nazari, Sourena Dinashi, Christian Nzouathom Junia, Alireza Babaie, Karimi Arab Ebrahim, Charlene Julie Oko, Mohamed Tayeb, Kambiz Isakhani, Ahmad Askaryzadeh, Yousef Abdulrahim, Kikebula Christian, Bibiche Makilutila Matondo.

Curing the Limbo (2018-2021) is a European pilot program of the City of Athens implemented with the strategic partnership of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (UoA), the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency (ADDMA). This project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) initiative.

her moon is a captured object

English to Greek, translation and voice: Eirini Amanatidou
Greek to English, translation and voice: Gigi Argyropoulou

The infrasonic call of a blue whale, made audible to the human ear played-back at three different speeds (recorded in the West Antarctic Peninsula, Feb 2002 by Mark McDonald).

Included here with kind permission of the British Library Sound Archive. With deep thanks to Wildlife and Environmental Sounds curator Cheryl Tipp and to artist Vibeke Mascini for her ongoing work with this recording, including her invitation to correspond on the ‘silent’ whale for her recent Delfina Foundation residency.

The image of Five Asteroids reproduced with kind permission of Robin Scagell.

Lovesong Revolution

Lovesong Revolution is a long term research project by Urok Shirhan supported in part by BAK, basis voor actuele kunst in Utrecht, where Shirhan has been a Research Fellow in 2019–2020. The artist wishes to express special thanks to Reem Shadid and Radio Alhara for the invitation to develop and broadcast segments of the research in its early stages. Forthcoming sonic and textual segments from this research will be published as part of the Sonic Continuum issue in The Contemporary Journal curated by Sofia Lemos (October 2020), and as part of a publication series edited by Rayya Badran for the Beirut Art Center (November 2020).

Παγκόσμια Ηχώ

Performance in part 2: Hnd Alzayat
Performance and co-production in part 2: Eirini Amanatidou
Translation into Arabic of part 2: Gomidas Madfouni
Translation into Greek of parts 1 and 3: Eleni Methymaki
Filming and direction of part 2, footage for parts 1 and 3: Ehab Onan
Performance in part 2: Grace Chilema Nwoke
Sound recording for part 2: Safi Sahyouni
Texts for parts 1 and 3, translation into Greek of parts 1 and 3, readings and performance, sound recording and mixing, videos for parts 1 and 3, production: Tom Western

Enormous thanks and love to Hnd Alzayat, Eirini Amanatidou, Gomidas Madfouni, Eleni Methymaki, Ehab Onan, Grace Chilema Nwoke, and Safi Sahyouni for their artistry. To my friends and colleagues in the Syrian and Greek Youth Forum for their citizenship work and inspiration. To George Mantzios and Georgios Sourmelis for helping me think in circles. To Eleni Methymaki for her patience and guidance as ideas take shape.

Becoming the City

Video by the Syrian and Greek Youth Forum, directed by Joe O’Connor.

Featuring (in order of appearance): Wael Habbal, Hnd Alzayat, Kareem Kabbani, Christina Magiaki, Elias Fachides, Ayman AlQalaa, Tom Western, Taghreed Abouassaf, Samer Tagi, Ataa Brimo, Ammar Abouassaf

Assembly 01