Alongside The River [2023 - ongoing]

Alongside The River is the name of the multimedia exhibition that took place at Vovousa Hydropower Museum during summer 2023, after an invitation by Vovousa Festival to create an exhibition about river Aoos. It is also a work in progress and the fruit of collaboration and joint research between photographer Penelope Thomaidi and documentary author Natasha Blatsiou.

The exhibition explores and reconstructs the landscape and the anthropogeography of the ecosystem of the Aoos and its tributaries, Sarantaporos and Voydomatis, through photographs and sound recordings. Following the flow, we observe living organisms, footprints and remains. We record human activities and stories that are born, grow and die on the banks of the rivers.

Landscapes, portraits, cyanotype plant imprints, oral narratives and soundscapes converse in a multimedia installation that introduces viewers to the ecological diversity and multicultural identity of the region.

Free and unimpeded - for most of its length - the Aoos is one of the last rivers in Europe, flowing unimpeded from its source in Metsovo to its mouth in the Adriatic Sea. The project Plei to Potami aims to highlight the need to strengthen the institutional framework for the protection of the Aoos and its tributaries, an ecosystem currently threatened by the imminent construction of numerous small hydroelectric plants in its basin area.

Photography: Penelope Thomaidi

Sound: Natasha Blatsiou

Research: Penelope Thomaidi & Natasha Blatsiou

Curating: Vangelis Ioakeimidis

Supported by: MedINA - Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos

Co-organised by: Vovousa Festival, MedINA

Interviewed & Photographed alphabetically:

Πάνος Αποστολίνας

Στέφανος Βασιώτης

Γιώργος Βασιώτης

Φωτεινή Βασιώτη

Φραγκίτσα Βασιώτη

Γιάννης Βραζιτούλης

Τόνια Γαλάνη

Καίτη Γρηγοράτου

Ηλίας Γεράσης

Ζήσης Δήμου

Παναγιώτα Κούσκου

Νίκος Κυρίτσης

Σταύρος Κωτούλας

Αλέξανδρος Νικολόπουλος

Βασιλική Νιτσιάκου

Βασίλης Νιτσιάκος

Γκεβντί Ντελμάς

Σακόλ Μπάζε

Τάκης Σδούκος

Άσπα Σκαπέρδα

Στέφανος Σταγκογιάννης

Θανάσης Σταγκογιάννης

Άννα Σταγκογιάννη

Σόφη Σταγκογιάννη

Λευκοθέα Τέφου

Αντώνης Τέφος

Γιώργος Τσιλογιάννης

Βασίλης Φασούλης

Θωμάς Φασούλης

Δημήτρης Φασούλης

Special thanks to:

Αλέκος Δρούγιας

Δημήτρης Δρούγιας

Νίνα Ευσταθιάδου

Ανδριανή Θεοχάρη

Γιάννης Ιασωνίδης

Μαρία Μανέτα

Αιμιλία Μηλού

Λόρενς «Νίκος» Μπάκο

Καμίλο Νόλλας
Αλεξάνδρα Παππά

Λάμπρος Ράπτης

Πέτρος Σταμέλος
Κώστας Τζίρος
Δημήτρης Φασούλης – Νεοελληνικό Λαογραφικό Μουσείο Κεφαλοχωρίου

The veins of the earth, the rivers. The Aoos River, a 270-kilometre-long vein, life-giving and life-giving. What happens when two creators, Penelope Thomaidi and Natassa Blatsiou, lean on this vein to listen to its pulse?

The exhibition "Alongside the River" is the product of research and artistic creation of a work in progress. It stands with particular sensitivity to the sacredness, because that is what it is about, of this wild river. Structured in four sections, the exhibition approaches the Aeon through a multifaceted aesthetic experience.

The first section includes documentary photographs, accompanying the research material. Sound clips revolving around languages, songs and experimental music make up the cultural continuum of the river. Maps, information of its geographical significance, highlight its scale and importance.

The exhibition then "rolls" into the Sarantaporo tributary. Excerpts of works placed as other "constellations" compose its flow, bringing to the surface important events of recent political history and the topical issue of energy. The gaps, which allow the viewer to synthesize the river and the life around it by making use of their imagination, are bridged by a sound installation where soundscapes and people's voices converse with the images. At this point the viewer is in the river.

But the viewer’s attention is also invited to turn to the concrete. Here the technique of cyanotype is employed, reminding the viewer of the beginning of the photograph, and emphasizing the importance of the immediacy of our relationship with the river.

We are one with the water. We are water. The portraits in the final section through the technique of double exposure eloquently illustrate this relationship. We are water in constant motion. We are in a condition of a continuous process. Let us listen to the water and ourselves. It is time to break the barrier of silence and protect it.

Vangelis Ioakeimidis

Using Format