I am on Hoppet. I am sailing with Hoppet on the Aegean Sea, the most mythical sea in the world. It is a fantastic feeling of course. A feeling of victory to actually be here, with all these crazy people on board. It has been a long way, full of challenges, changes and surprises, both on an artistic, organisational, social and political level.
Yesterday we had a press conference in Elefsina — a lot of Greek media, political representatives of Elefsina, Eleusis 2021 and the Region of Attika, and cultural workers. It was a windy conference but I think (as I did not understand all that was said) that the message was delivered: the project Meeting the Odyssey is welcomed with open arms, representing solidarity and artistic collaboration in times of political, social and financial tension in Europe. For me it was the second very important press conference during this project — keeping the first one in St. Petersburg 2014 in good memory.
Our destination is Leros. I have been there once before, a calm and beautiful island very close to Turkey. The choice to go to Leros and Lesvos was done only one month ago. It is crazy, from a tour organiser’s point of view, that we decided this so late and that we got this far in so little time. But then again, why would we not? We are meeting the Odyssey, facing the challenges, changing the route, finding our way. Nothing is ever as it was planned – not in your personal life, nor in your professional life. Not in politics or in art. Everything changes, and so do we.
We did not know what would be the situation in Europe or in Greece or in the world 2016 when we planned the project in 2012. We did not know of all the turns in Greek politics and financial crisis. We did not know about the war in Syria. We did not know about the refugee flow to come. We knew only that our aim was to build a project that would touch the theme of Europe today through the eyes of myths and history.
And yet here we are. In this bubble of lazy beauty on board this amazing ship. Connected to everything and nothing. Being in the very moment, forgetting everything else, only to be reminded of all the issues in the moment we step ashore.