European Heritage Days

Journées européennes du patrimoine
A Dialogue between Ancient Heritage and Modern Life Opened at Athens Digital Arts Festival

As one of the most inspiring events within the 2016 European Heritage Days in Greece, Athens Digital Arts Festival (ADAF) added a unique flare to the cultural and archaeological heritage of ancient Greece. Through several innovative installations highlighted on the third weekend of September, the festival transformed the past of Athens into a multi-dimensional experience in order to reinterpret it in the modern setting. This innovative approach helped turn the capital of Greece into a pageant of culture and arts of bygone eras and raise awareness of its fascinating heritage.

Supported by the action of Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, this year’s European Heritage Days in Athens and Piraeus sought to explore how ancient artefacts, traditions, places, and people can be adapted to the modern life. Dozens of events were organised with the theme Seeking a new home: old and recent stories of people on the move, which focused on the diversity of ways cultural heritage interacts with everyday life. Within this framework, ADAF highlighted relationships between heritage and contemporary culture with a multi-disciplinary programme which included several activities. The artist Nontas Sarlis created a symbolic mural on the sidewall of Kerameikos, the ancient cemetery of Athens, while a group of artists, curators and archaeologists produced a sound installation with ancient narratives and a curated art video related to cultural activities in Greece.

Connecting artists to researchers, ADAF helped blend modern interpretations with traditional knowledge in order to make the rich heritage of Greece closer to contemporary audiences. The variety of activities it introduced to European Heritage Days enabled citizens of Athens to understand how ancient traditions can be adapted to contemporary settings and how they shape the culture of today. In the context of European Heritage Days, these ideas make an important difference in how people perceive the role of heritage in contemporary life and help expand its value for the society of the present.   

Photo credits: ADAF