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Trees, Technology and the Olympic Games

A lecture by the artist and writer James Bridle

May 25, 2016
Entry is free of charge.

Benaki Museum, 1 Koumbari St. & Vassilis Sofias Ave / Museum of Islamic Art: 22 Ag. Asomaton & 12 Dipilou St.

The artist and writer James Bridle, who is based in Athens, will give a lecture titled ‘Trees, Technology and the Olympic Games’ at the Benaki Museum. The talk will be in English.

This talk is part of the larger public programme for Navine G Khan-Dossos’s project Imagine a Palm Tree, a floor-to-ceiling mural on the top floor café at the Benaki Museum. She was inspired by a curious story that she had heard many times in Athens: namely, that the palm trees were removed from the urban landscape of Athens in order to visually ‘re-orient’ the city towards Europe rather than the ‘Orient’.

As a result, she wanted to make a place where the palm tree can exist in paint, away from the disastrous red beetle that is munching its way through thousands of its brothers and sisters in the city below. It will no longer be a symbol of overspending in the Olympic Games of 2004 (imports of palm trees rocketed as a way to provide shade and a look of luxury – it also brought the red beetle). It won’t be uprooted in favour of metro ventilation shafts (as was the case in Omonoia Square in 1927) or pulled apart for local holy days that feature palm leaves. It will no longer be a symbol of East or West.

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