Scenes from a recent past: landscape, production and society of Santorini in the 60’s

Based on the documentary film 'Thirean Matins ' (Thiraikos Orthros) by Costas Sfikas and Stavros Tornes, made in 1968, the exhibition presented aspects of the social history of the island, and investigated the transformation of the agricultural landscape and its relationship with the everyday life and culture of its inhabitants. Nine scenes from the film were selected to give the nine themes of the exhibition, connecting the past with the present through text and images. There was also continuous screening of the film Thirean Matins shown in the same gallery.

The inspiration for the exhibition came from a screening of the film to the pupils of the primary school of Pyrgos. The children were watching with amazement as unrecognisable places and unusual, weather-beaten, faces passed in front of their eyes, with little resemblance to the island and the people they know today. Scenes from a distant past, yet very close since we, the older island population, have experienced this past.

The passage to prosperity has alienated us from the very landscape to which tourism owes its success, and has also distanced us from the lives of the people who shaped that landscape. Thus the idea for the exhibition was born - as an exploration through images which contrast scenes from an old and almost vanished past, with contemporary scenes from the familiar present. It investigates the idea of cultural continuity as a process, and what levels of conscious and unconscious processes may connect the past with the present.

The material for the exhibition comes from fieldwork and literature research, but at this stage there is no attempt of any interpretation. The texts and the images are intended to complement the scenes of the film and to place them into a socio-spatial context.

The exhibition opened with a public event: "When experience becomes history - watching, listening, discussing ...", in the village square in front of the gallery. This included a public viewing of the documentary followed by talks from people who were active in the 1960s. They spoke about their lives in those times, about the hardships and the deprivation but also about the comfort and support of community life and companionship. The audience became animated after seeing the film, with many people speaking to share memories and emotions evoked during a long evening of discussion.

The initial speakers for the event were selected from the elderly population through recommendations, and each was interviewed in their houses where they were also shown the film. The feelings stimulated for these people by some of the scenes of the film were expressed by strong statements, such as: "I watched it, I am moved by it and I have gone through what I am describing you." Or the memories from a pumice miner "We played with our lives for a wage. You leave the house in the morning and you are not sure you will come back. "

When experience becomes history: watching, listening, discussing ...",

Theraic Dawn (1968)

Original title: Thiraikos Orthros

Short Documenatry 20 minutes

Directors: Kostas Sfikas. Stavros Tornes

Scriptwriting: Kostas Sfikas. Stavros Tornes

Sound: Kostas Sfikas

Production: Yorgos Samiotis, Stavros Tornes

Photography: Yorgos Panousopoulos

Montage: Panos Papakyriakopoulos