Kosmos Project

What is KOSMOS project?

It is a long term project led by ATROPOS Laboratory Theatre Company under the direction of STAMATIS EFSTATHIOU that aims to explore the interconnections between theatre, anthropology, sacred traditions and environment. Main tool of this research are expeditions to the places that are at the marge of technological, economical and political processes of nowadays world.

People living at these places have a particular cosmology, from anthropological point of view, of living in and within nature, of food habits, of co-existing in human community as well as in non-human world, of metaphysical approach.

From artistic and especially from theatrical point of view, materials to explore through KOSMOS are:
• precise rituals,
• mask uses,
• religious and transformation practices,
• old fairytales and legends
• special ways of using the voice, of singing, of dancing or physically reacting while worshiping god(s) or while adopting a non-social moving code for a performative action

Why KOSMOS and what to explore

Anthropological and theatrical expeditions have already been organized from theatre people, anthropologists and ethnologists. Inspired from the achievements of the past and aspiring to proceed through Atropos approach and at the same time enrich previous researches KOSMOS project is based on precise objectives and goals.
Atropos theatre, through the leadership of Stamatis Efstathiou, search in these expeditions the rehabilitation of memory as well as the refreshment of modern approach to theatre-art-life with basic and archetypical performance principles and working / co-existing values through:
the cross points of everyday life, of poetry, of transformation, of sacred, of artistic creation, of archetypical folk legends, of reflections of nature in rituals, in theatre in art, in life furthermore
the forgotten or disappearing roots of theatre, of music, of existing and surviving in the community
the “renovation” of vanishing biological and cultural behaviors in non-everyday life’s frameworks such as rituals, theatre and singing activities and dominating transcultural principles
the discovery of contemporary forms and functions of traditions, ceremonies, rituals, theatrical actions
the possibilities of integrating discovered elements without losing the originality and the truth of the power of their source, of the entire research in modern performative attempts
documenting changes in communities and the coexistence between the tradition and the new technology as well as with the new habits

KOSMOS Project is a significant step in art and especially in performing art. It aims to find and show the connection between art and life, bring art close to its primordial roots and connect it with other aspects of human life.

Actions on place

Apart from the direct and simple contact with local communities, an important part of every expedition is exchange of theatre work of the team. And this can have the form of:
– mask actions work,
– short semi-improvised or structured actions,
– singing and(or) dancing
– documentary work
Depending on the conditions on place, common actions between the team and local artists/ people in general may be created.
In addition photographic exhibitions, theatre workshops, lectures/projections, etc. may be offered by the expedition team.
The conclusions, the discoveries and the remarks on place are documented in different ways, such as photos, videos, sound recordings, interviews, journals.
As a fruit of all this research a book will be edited together with a documentary film presenting the theatrical/artistic and anthropological recordings and visions of the project.

Small history of KOSMOS PROJECT

KOSMOS Project has already taken place in August-September 2013 in TUVA, South Siberia. Material of this expedition as well post expedition remarks, conclusions, and creations can already be checked in a special internet page, a kind of journal of the expedition >https://web.facebook.com/events/394094264042693/. Pavlos Kavvadias has also created a film named “Tuva in a timeless way” fruit of KOSMOS expedition.

Expedition in INDIA

KOSMOS intends to pass from INDIA. India and especially Kerala region is a place where different factors melt together in a unique way:
Nature, as source of connection with sacred, of inspiration, of creativity, as a necessary condition of survival
Popular ritual forms of worship like Theyyam, Thiriuzhichil, Ayappanvilakku and Sarpamthullal
Ancient theatre forms like Chakiyarkoothu and Mudiyettu
Local dance-dramas like Kathakali,
Old fighting systems like Kalaripayattu
Sanskrit theatre like Koodiyattam
Satirical and semi improvised theatre like Ottamthullal
Ceremonies, dances and poetry in general, as an opening to the philosophy of nature, as an opening to Cosmos
Every day life of village communities, as a challenging field of investigation, inspiration, and reconsideration of western life style

The whole project will be devided in 5 phases:

• Research and creative phase

• Educational phase

• Open discussions, lectures and projections

• Creation of a solo-duo performance

• Intensive training residencies

Kosmos project in INDIA will take place on January, February, March 2016. Further step of KOSMOS is planned for Kurdistan in 2017.

Goals in INDIA and results of the work on place

1. In India and especially in Kerala, Stamatis Efstathiou intends to get in contact with local sacred, theatre, singing and dance traditions and make a research.. Furthermore he would like to experiment on the creation on place of a semi-improvised performance which could include local performers and would integrate elements of the research phase. In this performance he aims to explore the purest form, the essence of what exists behind all these multi-faced sacred and artistic traditions towards the topic of Liminality

2. This performance can be presented and adapted in different indoors and outdoors places.

3. A solo/duo performance called “ITHACA” inspired form the topic of the journey and his connection with one self’s spiritual exploration directed by Stamatis Efstathiou with Arka Mukopadhuay as main performer-doer.

4. An international residency on the topic “TRAINING-UNTRAINING-UTOPIA” in Walden (Kerala) developing Atropos long term research on performer’s craft focusing on the topic of UTOPIA-DISTOPIA

5. An intensive residency organized by Company theatre and conducted by Stamatis Efstathiou inspired by the thematic of Caryl Churchill’s “7 Jewish Children”

6. Stamatis Efstathiou will also conduct various workshops for professionals, amators and students in association with universities and cultural institutions intending to work on basic principles of his philosophy of theatre, on the Theatre of Connection

7. Meaningfull is also the organization of lectures together with projections around Theatre of Connection and its explorations

8. Round table discussions with local theatre practitioners aiming to exchange approaches and opinions on the main topic of the research: “Sacred paths in theatre”

9. Photographic exhibitions may be organized with material of the expedition in the future in different places all over the world.

10. A documentary film – fruit of the research and of the residency in Walden venue will be prepared by Pavlos Kavadias.

The connection of KOSMOS project with ATROPOS focuses and history

Atropos has been working in intercultural frames since 2009 in both educative and creative fields. Stamatis Efstathiou- Atropos director- has been leading many workshops, giving different lectures and directing performances around the world (Denmark, Poland, Germany, Russia, Bulgaria, Greece, South Korea, Iran, Armenia, India, Mexico, Spain) based on his method of work “THEATRE OF CONNECTION”. His main philosophy and goal is an attempt to find the pure and archetypical essence of performative art and relate it to the essence of human being. After having worked during some years in theatre productions, Stamatis Efstathiou has orientated his creative path and his research towards anthropological and spiritual paths.

Through ENERGIA project, the annual gathering of ATROPOS close collaborators, Atropos explores and develops performer’s craft as well as different possibilities of connection with local and remote communities. Additionally, through CARNAVANI (Greece, Denmark, Poland, and Bulgaria) Atropos brought people living in villages in contact with art, including performing, singing and dances, by visiting people’s houses with singing and performances.

Stamatis Efstathiou has been awarded in Cuttack Theatre Olympiad 2009 (India) for his contribution to the expansion of theatre & art.

KOSMOS PROJECT is the natural long term prolongation of all these previous activities towards a deeper and more demanding level.

The working team

Aristic director – Coordinator
Stamatis Efstathiou (Greece) -> Atropos director (http://atropostheatre.blogspot.com/ )

Main associated company and support
The Arshinagar project (Arka Mukhopadhyay, Sudipta Dawn) (http://thearshinagarproject.in/)

Partners:

– Shoonya Centre for Art and Somatic Practices, Bangalore (http://www.shoonyaspace.com/)
– Innerspace Little Theatre, Kerala (https://web.facebook.com/innerspace.littletheatre?fref=ts)
– Kamura Art Community
– Azim Premji University, Bangalore (http://www.azimpremjiuniversity.edu.in/)
– The Company theatre, Bombay (http://www.thecompanytheatre.net/)
– The Tree of Life (http://www.thetreeoflife.in/)

Video, photo interviews documentation:
Pavlos Kavadias (Greece)
Vijay Krishna

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