NEON and Michael Landy bring you a unique digital 360˚ view of the exhibition BREAKING NEWS – ATHENS. Step inside the space and explore a unique snapshot of Athens today.
For 2017, NEON commissioned British artist Michael Landy to present the fourth iteration of his acclaimed exhibition Breaking News in Athens, where he introduced direct public participation to the series for the first time.
Between February and June 2017, the third floor of the historic Diplarios School was transformed into a free-access art studio where Michael Landy, with the help of seven young assistants, took original source materials – texts, illustrations, headlines, adverts, proverbs and quotes – and translated them into stark blue-and-white drawings. All the original materials were collected through an open call, where the artist invited anyone and everyone to submit imagery that expressed their experiences of Athens. All the works created during this process were handed over to the public at the end of the exhibition.
For several years now, Athens has been the focus of news cycles both national and international. But what do the Greek capital’s inhabitants have to say about their own city? A project in constant flux and engaged directly with the local public, BREAKING NEWS – ATHENS served as a visual landscape of their thoughts, ideas, feelings and responses regarding the city and its current state. 1,150 individual submissions were sent by Athenians in answer to the open call, each one an exercise in slowing down and revisiting the city inquisitively. Images and comments spoke to a generation in direct contact with the public space. Landy built up this relationship online, selecting the content and filtering in contextualising information relating to specific Greek language idioms, and to political adventures, both recent and historic.
The artist selected his source images personally and, together with his team, transformed them into 868 unique original artworks. These blue-and-white drawings filled the exhibition space: a single empty room at the start, growing to span the entire third floor of the Diplarios School by the end – a full 700 square metres of interconnected underused rooms filled with natural light that also offered unobstructed views over the city. The drawings were pinned directly onto the walls to create a constantly evolving in-situ installation.
The public could also keep abreast of the exhibition as it developed via updates on NEON’s website (neon.org.gr) and a dedicated Instagram account (@breakingnewsathens). At the close of the exhibition on 11 June, all those whose original images were chosen to form part of the installation were invited to collect and keep the finished artworks made by Landy and his team. And so the exhibition took on new life by bringing new life into people’s homes.