2017-Neon vs. Nature

click to see contributing artists

23rd-26th November 2017 ΡΟΜΑΝΤΖΟ

Opening Night: Thursday 23rd November 21:00

Queer photography and video exhibition Civil Disobedience returned for its 6th installment and the year the theme was nature vs. technologySeventeen artists+1 from Greece and all around the world presented their interpretation of the curator’s dense  statement. Photography and video works were be presented on the first floor of ROMANTSO in the heart of Athens.  The exhibition  was a designated space for liberated queer expression .

Civil Disobedience: neon vs. nature OPENING NIGHT from Menelas on Vimeo.

Artists Participating:

ΠΛΑΝΕΤ ΑΝΤΖΟΥΡΛΑ (GR), Emmanuel Barrouyer (FR), FALON CAÑON + HUNTERTEXAS (COL), Lampis Cholopoulos (GR), Pavlos Drivas (GR), Boston Elements (USA), Chrysostomos Galathris (GR), Dimitris Gketsis (GR), George Kanis (GR), Konstantinos Menelaou (GR/UK),  Menelas (GR), Stiofan O’Ceallaigh (UK),Hermes Pitakos (GR), Alexinos Piravlos (UK/GR), Haris Savopoulos (GR), Nikos (GR),  Anna Goula Vardinogianni  (GR)

 Drag Queens Read Homo-Erotic Poetry #2

                After  the previous year’s huge success Anna Goula and her gurls returned for a second installment on Friday 24th of November.  Drag Queens from the new Athens drag scene  recited love poems and sung a few songs all for you….under the watchful eye and direction of the trash pop priestess that is Anna Goula Vardinogianni.  With: Melita Scabeau, Zackie Oh, Vanessa Cardui ft. Holly Grace and Aphrodite HGW ( 21:30, ticketed)

The Neon Garden

On Saturday 25th  people came and tended their queer performative skills by participating in this this playful bouquet of  cultivating activities.

14:00-16:00 Homoerotic Poetry: gender on performance and social media (in Greek).

This interactive performance workshop by Tomas Diafas  examined gender issues on performance for the theatrical stage and also discussed social media as a stage. )Workshop with limited participants, free)

16:30-17:30 Queer Gothic and the Greek countryside(in Greek).  Cretan author Yannis Thomadakis  and gothic literature master Maria Gakaniki  presented the Queer Gothic genre interspersed with passages from Yannis’ novel ‘The Haunted Vale’ read by performance artist Tomas Diafas.

18:00-19:00 How to Use Gay Nazis in Job Interviews: Facebook, Lust and Existential Sodomism (in English). Physically and intellectually provocative, this lecture-performance-delirium reflected on the relationship between facebook, austerity-horror and queer desire – through words, images, short clips and acts of self-exposure. Alexino Piravlos  once again managed to provoke us.


Civil Disobedience is in close partnership with Balaclava.Q network with the goal  to strengthen communication between international queer artists.  After the previous year’s successful  attendance of the director of Balaclava.Q  Stiofan O’Ceallaigh, we were happy to have the visit of performance and visual artist Emmanuel Barrouyer from Paris, France.  Emmanuel  immersed himself in the Athens queer art scene and developed relationships and future collaborations with local artists. On top of that he became the festival’s official photographer for 2017.

Full Program

Thursday 23rd (open 21:00-24:00)

  • Opening Night, 21:00

Friday 24th (open 17:00-late)

  • Drag Queens Read Homo-Erotic Poetry #2, 21:30 (ground floor)

Saturday 25th-The Neon Garden (open 12:00-21:00)

  • Gender on performance and social media (workshop in Greek) 14:00-16:00
  • Queer Gothic and the Greek countryside (presentation in Greek)  16:30-17:30
  • How to Use Gay Nazis in Job Interviews (performance in English) 18:00-19:00

Sunday 26th (open 12:00-17:00)

All events are strictly for adults due to the sexual nature of the content. The exhibition is a designated space for safe and free queer expression without judgement.


“..the blaze of crimson light from the tube told its own story and was a sight to dwell upon and never forget.” Morris W. Travers

Nature has always been there, well before mankind existed. Human’s first mark on and separation from nature started with the agricultural revolution when land and animal exploitation/ownership lead to the creation of settlements and then towns leading to the creation of Civilization. Civilization can be seen as the departure from life being ruled by the law of the jungle, where only the strongest survives, to a more complex set of moral and legal set of rules.  It can be argued that this law of the jungle has never changed and that it has only transformed from the purely physical to a more political and economic form.

Man’s dominance over nature continued slowly and progressively alongside human history and it suddenly exploded during the industrial revolution. The discovery of the combustion engine and fossil fuels meant that man could harness not only the energy directly coming from the sun, which had been the case so far, but also large quantities of energy stored in the form of fossil fuels. This was a game changer which gave an exponential acceleration to industry, technology and science.  And for the first time human survival was no longer at the mercy of nature, with the exception of natural disasters, but in the hands of humanity… surely a triumph to be celebrated. However, the ecological damage, the accelerated animal extinction and climate changes that have resulted, it could be argued, are a natural disaster of their own.  And while human kind continues to destroy nature, on an ethical and moral level nature is being celebrated and upheld as a moral standard.  Gender norms and sexual ethics are very often justified by the simplistic argument of: “it is natural”. Any deviation from the social norm is immediately deemed unnatural.

The politically dominant use the concept of nature as they please to fit their narrative. They deny the anti-nature nature of industry, for example by denying climate change and at the same moment they are guardians of all that is natural by their branding of non-dominant gender expressions and sexualities as unnatural.

Neon was discovered in 1898 by the British chemists Sir William Ramsay (1852–1916) and Morris W. Travers (1872–1961) in London.  The name Neon comes from Greek and it means new and in this sense it represents industry, science and technology.  We could however, appropriate it and give it a new queer connotation of emerging fluidities in gender, sexuality and why not romantic relationships.

We invite artists to produce work that reflects their own thoughts on the conflicting pairs of: technology vs. nature, science vs. mother earth, civilization vs. the jungle, urban vs. rural landscapes, “natural” vs. “unnatural sexualities and genders, natural bodies vs. surgically enhanced physicalities, natural urges vs. civilized behaviour.

“Underneath it all, we’re just savages Hidden behind shirts, ties and marriages
How could we expect anything at all? We’re just animals still learning how to crawl
Underneath it all, we’re just savages Hidden behind shirts, ties & marriages
Truth is in us all, cradle to the grave We’re just animals still learning to behave.”

Marina and the Diamonds