THE ΤΕΛΟΣ SOCIETY speaks to Tiffany M. Apostolou, Editor-in-chief and Founder of
peri-Tēchnes is an online art platform that seeks to bring you in contact with the intriguing, bustling and current art scene in Greece while simultaneously drawing connections with the art scene in the US. Our goal is to bring those interested in closer contact with the work of some remarkable artists with Greek roots or influences, from the US as well as from across the pond.
On our website, you can read cultural news, artist features, interviews, as well as exhibition and cultural event reviews. As of recently, you can also view available works created by artists from our growing roster. At peri-Tēchnes we want to make great contemporary art more accessible to everyone.A anyone interested can connect directly with artists and art professionals as we seek to grow paths for communication and conversation.
Georgia Kotretsos: For four years now, peri-Tēchnes is invested in Greek interdisciplinary and cross-temporal practices by drawing connections with the art scene in the USA. What motivated this initiative and what gap did it come to fill?
Tiffany M. Apostolou: It all started very slowly and steadily. It began when I became more and more immersed in the art market in New York and while I was still in graduate school. I noticed that there used to be a very active market in NYC for Greek artists with exhibitions, happenings, galleries with dedicated staff, and even departments in auction houses specializing in Greek modern and contemporary art. Many Greek artists who still live here say the peak was around when Melina Mercouri was in New York. For reasons I am still looking into, that market slowly died down and today many artists have become grossly underrepresented even though their work is highly important in their respective periods and amongst their peers. So I began with creating artist profiles and hosting interviews on peri-Tēchnes, which is now growing. We recently even began representing a few artists with the goal of making them even more accessible, while also empowering them through direct contact with collectors or aspiring collectors. In the coming future we are also aiming to host exhibitions, open calls, and panels to bring even more life into the market.
GK: How does peri-Tēchnes draw in contributors, content and readership on matters that reach audiences beyond the immediate geographies of interest?
TMA: It is interesting. I began simply by reaching out to really great artists, and curators whose work I had come across. To-date I had never received a negative response when requesting a meeting or a feature on the website which felt like a sign that this was something truly meaningful. This led to people reaching out independently and proposing reviews, articles, and sharing their work to the point where we have an ongoing list for future content. It seems to be growing organically which is, honestly, the best feeling.
peri-Tēchnes was met with a lot of enthusiasm from people in the art world in general, as well as people simply interested in or curious about art. There is a major disrupt between NY and Greek cultural practices in that so many people know more about antiquity than any other artistic period. When our tech genius joined us, we got to see traffic and from where people were visiting the website and I am happy to say it has really been from almost everywhere in the US and Europe.
We also do not limit ourselves to artists only of Greek heritage. We highly believe in cross-disciplinary art and cross-pollination so we have, lately, been reaching out to creatives working in Greece and Cyprus and creatives with influences from those areas as well. In addition, all the artists and curators we have worked with so far are people of the world today, highly involved in the social, economic and political issues that affect society, and now with the pandemic even more so. These are all topics that connect us all in the world regardless of our backgrounds and really speak to art’s ability to connect the world through both similarities and differences.
GK: Generation Z and especially Generation Alpha, which is the first to be born in the 21st century - are both totally embedded in the digital media culture. Post-lockdown, the recent crisis has opened online highways for innovative educational alternatives. How do you see the role journals will play in the near future? How will the rapid evolution of heuristic models in education affect peri-Tēchnes?
TMA: This is a great question. I believe that journals will become more interactive in a sense. peri-Tēchnes now works more like an “online platform” (than just a periodical) where we are aiming to include digital interactive programming alongside the material you can read (interviews, reviews, articles etc) and engage in conversations about. I also work with the Hellenic American Project spearheaded by Dr. Nicholas Alexiou at Queens College, New York. My work on the website and HAP definitely inform each other. We had just begun planning exhibitions, and then the lockdown measures forced us to postpone everything indefinitely. This led us to pivot online. I introduced a method of exhibiting online, and we built momentum with events hosted either directly through HAP, or in collaboration with other organizations. Participation startled us, as well as the enthusiastic responses. There is something inherently solitary and simultaneously communal about experiencing artwork, so personally, I believe online initiatives will take the form of both traditional readable tools as well as interactive on peri-Tēchnes as well.
peri-Tēchnes also recently launched a platform that features available works by a small initial group of artists. People can leave their email and we reach out to them directly to talk about the work they are interested in and, of course, bring them in direct contact with the artist facilitating communication that is not usually available through traditional gallery or museum structures.
Nevertheless, hoping and believing that this crisis will eventually subside and we will be able to go about meeting with others in person again, we look forward to creating a vivid connection between physical and virtual events. Because, as an historian and curator, I will never not believe there is a truly better way to see art other than in person. When combining both worlds creatively, however, magic can happen.
I am also excited to introduce collaborations whether with other digital platforms or otherwise, in the future! We have already have one in the works with HAP mentioned earlier and we have the Open Call we are hosting together. So excited!