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“Make everything that you need for yourself and attempt to not need what you cannot make, that is the ending view that we never arrive at”

Raymond Duncan interviewed by Orson Welles (1955)

The PLANT project evolves in 3 interrelated stages – dream, design, and celebrate - following an ongoing dialogue between what we need, what we make, and what routes and tools we activate in this process. During its first stage, from 27th to 29th October 2023, the Duncan Dance Research Centre in Athens presented: “Just For Today”, a three-day event drawing from Raymond Duncan’s legacy, routes and traces. Conceived under a situated and historical perspective, the event served as a starting point from which to investigate the intimate threads that connect us with the physical and conceptual territories we co-inhabit. It questioned notions of learning and ways of seeing, hearing and imagining in a shared manner, and explored the interdependence of our work to our daily lives and ultimately to a larger whole. The full program remains available here!

"How difficult it is to position ourselves in what we call 'today'? To attempt to grasp matters of temporality and history, so as to escape the empty continuity of an infinite linear time, in which each today devours the other, just like Chronos did with his children. Is 'today' ungraspable, something we would be able to get hold of only when distanced by time, as gathered past moments to reflect on? Or are we fully immersed in the present, in its continuous ripples, sudden fractures and unforeseen trajectories? Many of these questions were addressed in the three-day meeting (27-29 October), Just for Today: Gestures that brings us close the things the world is made of, which took place at the Isadora & Raymond Duncan Dance Research Center (DDRC), in Athens, Greece. The event was the opening act for the co-operative project Plant: Performing Life Akademia Network, which takes place between artistic partners in Greece, Spain and Portugal and will be unfolding as a series of events and artist residencies over the next two years. As intended, the word 'today' was a central concept in the encounters and workshops, more like an invitation to surrender peacefully or even approach with curiosity what lies in the moment, which calls for our bodily presence, our opening of mind and heart, our articulating of needs, wishes, dreams, and fears. (...) The three-day event Just for Today indeed echoes beyond the limited timespan of a single day. Through a rich program of activities, talks, an exhibition, films, and food, the event not only kicked off the two-year PLANT project and presented its core concepts, but also brought together a mixed audience of local and international art practitioners, journalists, as well as the general public. The sobering news that reached the gathering daily inevitably influenced the actions, interactions and knowledge produced during those three days: How can we protect the most fragile aspects of artistic communities and their intimate connection to their immediate surroundings? How far can individual effort and self-improvement take us when seeking to create meaningful and positive impact on the world, and under what conditions? Building robust networks of collaboration, exchange and solidarity are crucial, especially across the south of Europe. Just for Today is the beginning of a longer and multilayered collaborative artistic process that will explore such questions." Co-written by Anastasio Koukoutas and Kiriakos Spirou.

By interweaving different temporalities, the program presented practices from distinct fields (conceptual, movement, labor) and was willing to enact a framework for contemporary creation that can be textured by the particularities and imaginaries of diverse communities. “Just For Today” was an invitation to nurture a common space by visiting and translating examples of contemporary eco-communities, critical thinking and ancestral knowledge. At the same time, it offered encounters and hands-on activities that seek to widen the perspective of our actual needs and help us identify and reconsider our next steps. The event featured workshops, talks, food preparation and sharing, ways of listening, screenings, walks and an exhibition focused on the figure of Raymond, with the participation of Vaskos (Vasilis Noulas and Kostas Tzimoulis), Marlen Mouliou, Anna Tzakou, Julie Loi, Iris Nikolaou, Vasiliki Tsagkari, Maro Pantazidou, Napoleon Xifaras, Samantha & Hermes Savvantoglou, Andreas Sell, rosanayaris (Rosana Sanchez & Aris Spentsas) and nyamnyam (Ariadna Rodriguez & Iñaki Alvarez).