The real power of document can be an important starting point for an art that would be contemporary and topical, with creative social interventions: outside the restrictive borders of galleries and museums, ensuring the active participation of the protagonists themselves in the final result, without them being approached just as subjects of depiction.
Døcumatism is a group of filmmakers, artists, curators, historians, social workers, researchers, and educators, who since 2009, starting from the moving image and documentary, have been organizing artistic actions and public dialogues on critical social issues, aiming at exploring invisible and inaccessible landscapes and launching possible solutions. Initiate dialogues to find possible solutions to crucial social issues, making the “invisible” visible.
Through artistic actions and films starring anti-heroes and stories that break barriers and stereotypes, the Døcumatism team makes film art a functional tool for those living on the margins of society.
The main aim of the group is the interaction and collaboration between artists and spectators in order to design ways by which an artistic action, which concerns a key social issue, can function as a “lever” and “weapon” throughout its preparation, production, and distribution in order to mobilize broader debates, making the recipient, a witness.
Døcumatism consists of filmmakers, visual artists, sociologists, prison school teachers, art curators, journalists, and researchers who collaborated for 10 years during the preparation of the film J.A.C.E – Just Another Confused Elephant and the first Greek interactive documentaries entitled “MEETING WITH REMARKABLE PEOPLE”.
The main motivation for the creation of the group was the great success of these films with praising reviews on television, in festivals, cinemas, schools, universities, conferences, clubs, and prisons, and the discussions that followed with the audience after the screenings. The screenings of these films – which continue in Greece and abroad – provoke strong public participation, resulting in direct, concise, and thorough information on sensitive social issues (such as homelessness, unemployment, volunteerism, reclaiming public space, stray animals, neglected areas of the capital, education in juvenile detention centres, the reintegration of released prisoners, immigration, refugees, etc.) resulting in immediate activation of the audience.
The intense and immediate social impact of these films made the members of the group design ways in which a film or an artistic action with a key social issue can act as a “lever” and “weapon” throughout its preparation and distribution, with the ultimate goal of mobilizing wider actions and debates and launching possible solutions for the purpose of art-cinema-community interaction and exchange.
The members of Døcumatism identify the themes on which the group’s films and artistic actions will be based, creating broader collaborations with filmmakers, artists, musicians, social workers, scientists, and educators, starting from Athens, its visible and invisible problems, its new heroes (anti-heroes whose lives are success stories) and its hidden and unlimited dynamics.
The teams of these actions are:
1. the scientific/consultative/research team that selects and designs the themes.
2. the art team which undertakes the production of the films and other artistic actions.
3. the journalism team that prepares the ways in which the actions will have a scaled social interaction and penetration to targeted and wider populations and social groups.
4. the educational team that uses the process of preparing Døcumatism actions to ensure the creative participation of young artists, filmmakers, students, and pupils.
5. the productive & economical team that organizes the financing and realization of the films and actions.
The teams work closely together throughout the preparation and production of the actions in order to prepare a fertile ground for their access to targeted audiences at the time of completion and distribution of the films and actions. This is achieved through parallel events, publicity in print and online press, a strong presence in social media, and collaboration with groups that are active on specific issues.
Døcumatism has already started its next activities, an intervention in key social issues, through diverse and innovative cultural actions, using art, cinema, and new technologies, together with educational, artistic, and research programmes that initiate the development of a public dialogue between the audience, the creators, the protagonists, and the works themselves.
Listed below are the partners with whom the Døcumatism team was officially established, who contribute with personal work combining their scientific, artistic, and technical knowledge.
Menelaos Karamaghiolis, director and screenwriter. All his films aim at social awareness and are used as “weapons” by their protagonists: from ROM, documentary, 1989 (first depiction of the term gypsies in Greece in a documentary film), J.A.C.E.- Just Another Confused Elephant, co-produced fiction, 2012 (the life of an orphaned immigrant) to the interactive documentaries MEETING WITH REMARKABLE PEOPLE (2011-2020) with struggling and “doomed” heroes with no prospect.
Orestis Plakias, marketing manager, and content curator specialized in information and advertising distribution in social media with impressive results such as the active mobilization of viewers at NYXTES PREMIERAS, the multimedia empowerment of EN LEFKO with site-specific events that activated a large number of audiences in unexpected locations of the city and Content Product Manager in Vodafone TV’s content delivery platform.
Vassiliki Papagiannakopoulou, journalist and copywriter, specializing in Media, Cultural Research, and Audiovisual Arts, director of Madame Figaro magazine in charge of the intervention through public dialogue and the communication and cooperation of the group in order to develop networks of cooperation with other cultural and scientific institutions, etc.
Katerina Pramatari, professor at the Athens University of Economics and Business, managed after an intensive 15-year effort to introduce students in a functional way to the depths of IT, to effectively support innovation and entrepreneurship by setting up Acein, a space that enables young people (who have no way to move on to further studies and education) to develop their ideas and present them to the market and by launching Unifund which supports Greek innovative teams by activating an international funding network in cooperation with international organisations such as Equifund.
Petros Damianos, a mathematician, who two decades ago started volunteering to give lessons to prisoners in the Avlonas juvenile detention centre and today runs 3 well-organized schools inside the prison where teenagers (often going to school for the first time) and prisoners who take university entrance exams attend and manage to continue their lives integrated into society after release. Through cultural activities and synergies with university institutions, scientists, and artists who entered prison and opened the students’ horizons, it made schooling attractive to prisoners and succeeded (through a recent bill) in establishing new schools throughout the country and staffing them effectively.
Sylvia Kouvali of Rodeo Gallery in Istanbul, London, and Piraeus has created groups, exhibitions, and actions with international impact where art manages to interact with society, target racial restrictions and socially restrictive stereotypes, and create platforms of expression with marginalized people. Her collaboration on artworks and films of critical social interest and her strong international engagement enable the group to connect with successful examples from around the world and with internationally renowned artists.
Yannis Papadopoulos, journalist (in publications such as TA NEA, KATHIMERINI) is mainly active in social issues and their consequences through deep, thorough and analytical research, which results in presentations and texts of exceptional accuracy and narrative competence that activate the direct participation of the reader through a subject matter that is unexpectedly revealing on difficult, inaccessible issues. He ventured into a multimedia presentation using – in addition to the text – photographs, video, and any medium that enables the reader/viewer to interactively follow themes and landscapes unfamiliar to them.
Maria Kaldani, a social worker, who works with non-profit organizations from all over the world that have been organizing successful actions over the last two decades to support and reintegrate migrants and prisoners, focusing on education and the development of skills that facilitate their integration into the wider society. Her broad experience in managing such problems and vulnerable social groups ensures that Døcumatism is constantly updated, that problems are properly assessed, and that they are approached effectively in a meaningful way.