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visual communication practice

Party's over- Starts over


Description of idea

Describe your idea and concept of your work in relation to the festival outlines:

The festival’s title is THE DEBT and my work’s title is PARTY’S OVER –STARTS OVER.
I started working on this project when the economic crisis erupted in 2008, with the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, and named it Party’s over. The disquiet was accompanied by some kind of hope that governments would start taking new measures and adopting a new economic policy due to the belief that it was no longer possible to sustain a situation where “resource allocation is determined by financial markets, thereby exacerbating inequalities and exercising a destructive pressure on natural resources” while “international rating agencies fail to pay the price for their share of responsibility, whereas they should be replaced by other -not so deeply corrupted- entitites”.
The situation in Greece has already been pitiable for many years, even before the full blow of the financial crisis, mainly because of the colossal corruption that permeated society.
Three years later, with the economic crisis taking a dramatic toll particularly on Greece, my work was completed under the title Starts over. Inequalities are growing exponentially. In the meantime, the international rating agencies, which “played a vile role in the country’s downturn”,“are still operating without any limitation of their uncontrollable power, unilaterally issuing orders and endangering the very democracy of Europe”. Also, «no one ever foresees these great economic crises. And when they erupt, they always tell us that things will get better. In other words, we understand nothing, we don’t know. This is what strikes me the most: this silence getting deeper and deeper…”. «Α series of staged, large-scale pictures, shot with conventional film, from the same perspective and always in the same space. Each work consists of two parts on the same surface: the upper part features the picture in its entirety, while a text -mainly excerpts from the Greek and French daily press- is placed below it. Set at a neutral, internal space, in front of a white wall, the old wooden table on the first level is the dominating object – it functions as a stage and an altar, a peculiar tabernacle and a ritualistic deposition. Human forms, when present, and objects, enclosed and self-sufficient as if they were postmodern “still life”, are installed and claim their space in this spartan scenery, serving an allegorical role with regard to present-day events. Images alternate in a sequence: a carefully folded Greek flag (All ways are closed); a glass of water (Let this chalice pass from me); a headless body (Finance headless monster); a knife nailed on a bone (Meanwhile, Greece travels and travels); a plate of grapes (The Grapes of Wrath); a loaf of bread – a reference to the current adversities faced by the arts since governments are cutting cultural funding (Man shall not live on bread alone); the remains of a human brain (1330 grams of gray matter that sum up human history, its passions and doubts); the mottled plumage of a peacock – a reminder of the deceptive glamour of vanity… Then suddenly, the stage goes dark, all light disappears – Mourning: when you forbid light to enter.
The images become open questions and contemporary riddles;

What kind of communication approach do you use?

Rather an moderated approach with the use of my site http://www.lydiadambassina.com

What are in your opinion concrete benefits to the society because of your communication?

«We have read newspapers and isolated phrases and extracts which unexpectedly had a different, personal meaning to us. We have also seen images and observed and magnified details, because they spontaneously reminded us of something else. Here, however, the image is created and along with the excavated text it forms a coherent body which is addressed to all and each and every one of us, to remind us what we are going through today – to highlight what the really important news is. Current events are not dealt neither with the conventional lightness of the media nor with the superficial view that the morrow can easily change the flow of ephemeral events or weaken our memory. Current events acquire qualities of ontological philosophy and showcase existential questions.»

What did you personally learn from creating your submitted work?

My goal was to based me on the reading of the daily press mainly French and Greek. Of course names such as Amartya Sen, Alain Touraine, Alex Preston, Giorgio Ruffolo etc. appear often in this type of research.

Why is your work, GOOD communication WORK?

«Is it about the “party in the time of plague” and the voices from the festive table joining the ones of the memorial ceremony?
Or is it “Τhe Masque of the Red Death”, with Prospero and the thousand nobles making a futile attempt to stave off death?
The classics of literature have already dealt with the story of such a value‑devouring feast. Lydia Dambassina does not attempt to rewrite it, nor does she consume herself in teachings and allegories. Besides, the ambiguous phrase “(Party) Starts over”, which encircles the narration, anticipates the future, revises the meaning of “the party”, which empties, darkens and in the end eradicates the table, is rather a call addressed to us, asking us to think on novel structures of solidarity and co-existence, instead of being caught up in a vicious circle.»

Where and how do you intent do implement your work?

I exposed this work to the Thessaloniki Contemporary Art Museum in 2012 and I would like to show this work also in a different way, and for this reason I submit to Memefest festival, among others.

Did your intervention had an effect on other Media. If yes, describe the effect? (Has other media reported on it- how? Were you able to change other media with your work- how?)

When the New York Times came to Athens they saw an installation that I had made for the Kunsthalle Athens, and they mentioned this work in the http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/15/arts/in-athens-art-blossoms-amid-debt-crisis.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all?src%3Dtp&smid=fb-share />

Curators comments More info on Curators & Editors ›

This work is highly "affective" regarding the subject of debt. One of the issues with this year's theme is to show the actual violence the global economy has created, and how various international economic strategies are being put in place, that (for the sake of "recovery") will subordinate less economically powerful regions.

The combination of photography, use of scale and objects combines to create a sense of presence of the subject matter and an absence of the portrayed people which is really very strong. It successfully uses real objects and materials in way that places the viewer literally in the physical point of view of the portrayed and absent individuals in the photographs.

I am curious about how social dialogue was formed around this installation, and if there were interactions in the space between the author and the viewers. The particular reading in the maker's description is quite rich and helps open up discussions about particular implications in the work

View other works commented by Scott Townsend  ››

An “end of the world” party springs to mind—specifically the dinner party in the town square in Werner Herzog's "Nosferatu". Vampires are taking over. We are, or will be very soon, infested. Rats are crawling all over the place, but no one seems to mind. Nothing matters. Game over. Start over.

The scene seems even more appropriate because of capitalism's bloodsucking nature. And it lives forever, unless the stake is driven through its heart, as the story goes.

But can the game ever end? Are we sure it's really over? Or it has just taken on a new disguise? We are promised a change, but nothing changes. Nothing profoundly.

Party's over- Starts over addresses that issue in a very subtle but convincing way. With minimal means it conveys the powerful message of what lies in front of us. Do we need it? Do we want it? Do we have a choice?

"Is the participant present?" seems to have the most radical impact. Can we avoid playing the game? Or is the game weaved into our very existence in such a manner that we stop playing when we cease to exist?

Sit by the table and ask yourself.

View other works commented by Aleksandar Maćašev  ››

Where better to creatively critique debt than in Greek cultural institutions? Usually state sponsored community cultural and arts organisations are the first casualty of austerity ideology. Even in my hometown Brisbane, the relatively secure resource-bolstered Australian economy didn't stop the new conservative sate government – in the name of debt reduction – axing the peak literary awards as its most urgent post-election task. The most treasured evidence of the best of humanity is always the most expedient sacrifice to market priorities.

So those of us outside Greece watch with anxious fascination, either rationalising our immunity or wondering when will it be our turn?

Amplifying news fragments into weighty ontological or existential gestures seems an efficient way to deal with all this tragic absurdity.

The work's symbolism sometimes seems overly obvious and sometimes ambiguous, but the evocative tensions between text and image justify any simplification.

The quiet, composed images and the final scene of the empty table swallowed in darkness, suggesting death and absence, are also universal realities not far beneath the slippery surface of monotonous spectacle.

View other works commented by Jason Grant  ››

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Curators comments

This work has been commented by 3 curator(s):
Scott Townsend Aleksandar Maćašev Jason Grant go to comments ›

Entry details


Party's over- Starts over


Party"s over -Starts over

Concept author(s)

Lydia Dambassina

Concept author year(s) of birth


Concept author(s) contribution

only me Lydia Dambassina



Competition category

visual communication practice

Competition subcategory


Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

My work is multidisciplinary: sculptures, installations, staged photographs with texts quoted from french and greek newspapers. I practice in Greece and France.