Exhibition, Residency
16 / 7 - 19 / 8 / 2019

Island hopping

Participants: Dora Economou, Agnieszka Gratza, Virginia Mastrogiannaki, Paky Vlassopoulou,

The definition of island hopping is to cross a sea by means of several brief journeys between islands instead of a single long crossing to the final destination. Originally, the term denoted an ocean’s passage by mammals, with specific references to how animals crossed the Caribbean and reached the American continent. In our time, however, island hopping is linked to summer vacations on more than one island. The notion of migration inherent in the term, and specifically the breaking up of migration into short sections until the final destination, has evolved today into going from one place to another without nece­ssarily having a final destination—or, at least, the destination is not particularly important.

The Sterna organisation brings together a team of four visual artists who have already spent time on Nisyros. They have studied its materials, codifying and incorporating them into their work according to each one’s personal style and depending on their subjects. After a two-week stay on the island to collect the materials they’ll need for the journey, they embark on two ships for another three weeks of island hopping to the south, stopping over at Tilos, Symi, Rhodes, Kastellorizo.

They carry with them ‘trademark’ local materials: pumice stone, sulphur, agramittha (a kind of nut) and thermal water, which are ritualistically offered as gifts to the islands linked to Nisyros by regular boat connections. On the other hand, what makes these artists, amidst the tourist high season, to create something of no apparent commercial value? What kind of good is contemporary art, and how does it relate to tourism? In a special time when art and tourism are the mainstays of Greek production, what is the role of artists and why are they producing during a season designated as a time to rest and consume?

What is attempted here in a way is a kind of “branding” of artistic production while travelling from place to place; a process that involves the creation of a unique name or image for contemporary visual art. The “tourists-consumers” are recipients of a constant artistic process. This “branding” concerns the artists themselves and their work, but also Sterna; after all, a brand is the essence in the unique personal experience of each of us.

The journey starts from Nisyros with the intention of disseminating the people, the materials, the experiences and the processes that will take place on the island, the ferries and the local speedboat, the religious festivals and the cultural events that the participants will run into. The squares and the beaches until their arrival to Kastellorizo and their return to Athens where they live. The emphasis is on materiality, the special geography of remote islands, the necessities, the interests, the scheduled itineraries in high season, the ‘tribes’ of nomads, visitors, etc.

Ultimately, how can the energy from the volcano be conveyed without an explosion?


The project is organised by Sterna organisation in collaboration with the Municipality of the Nisyrians. With the support: ΝΕΟΝ Organisation for Culture and Development, Partner for Kastellorizo: Società delle Api, Transportation sponsors: Blue Star Ferries & Dodekanisos Seaways. With the help of the municipalities of Tilos & Symi. Communication sponsor: Popaganda.