University of Thessaly – Volos, Greece

UTH will use three spaces for running these laboratories. These are (i) The Department of Architecture, where a semi open space for gathering, working and living together, will host the activities of the OU project. The space will be equipped with open air furniture and an open kitchen. The idea is to provide the campus with a space open to the public, attracting people from outside the academy that will work in the program; (ii) The Conference and Cultural Center in the old St. Nicholas Monastery of Paou, Pelion Mountain. In the area of South Pelion, during the last 4 years, a movement of alternative peasants and “nature-addicts” coming from all over Europe have formed an international community. Activities set up by the OU project will provide this community the means to discuss, experiment and upgrade their farming and living practices for the regional gardening and local food culture laboratory. More details on the laboratories:

  • Traditional Techniques and Digital Laboratories

A1. “Domestic Assemblage” Object and Furniture Prototyping;

Description: A workshop will be set in the existing infrastructures of the city, in order to set a conceptual and practical base for its activities for the rest of the program. The workshop will set the base for the learning-making process, bringing together traditional technics of manufacturing with the new digital technologies. Manufacturers, craft makers and technicians will attend the workshop both as students and instructors in an effort to integrate already existing knowledge and skills into the research for new practices based on fabrication technologies. The local technicians and craftsmen will be involved in a contemporary way of thinking about design, developing their professional practices in updated methods, both as instructors and learners. The design and construction of objects and furniture for everyday living, require both the involvement and collaboration of different agents.

Dates: January-February 2021 & January-February 2022

  • Regional Gardening and Local Food Culture

B1. Campus Urban Garden – Home Gardening

Description: An area will be created for urban garden open to the academic community and the excluded communities. This will give opportunity for the production of local plants and vegetables. Water, electricity and security will be provided by the UTH. The garden will be set on the School of Engineering campus, an area close to the old city and the harbor, open to the public.

Dates: April-June 2021 & April-June 2022

* For the year 2021, due to Covid – 19 restrictions and quarantine in Greece, the “Campus Urban Garden” workshop renamed to “Home Gardening” webinar/workshop as the intervention area changed from UTH campus space to each participant’s house.

Description: For a year now, we have been living at home in terms of inclusion. At the same time, remote work from home has turned the house into an office, a workshop, a gym, a restaurant, a garden. The condition of turning the house into a workplace has come to stay; it is a universally new condition, which change the house into a host of the sum of our activities, our whole life. The house-factory creates new practices and habits, our home culture changes. This gives the opportunity to trace and invent new living practices with self-isolation, solidarity and sharing knowledge and materials among residents. The Home Gardening workshop, on the one hand, will open a discussion forum on the subject of our relationship with the plant world, home cultivation, gardening and plant parenting practices for each participant of the workshop. In relation to the botanical paradigm in artistic practices, ideas will be presented from the field of art and environmental activism. Participating in this workshop will undertake the opportunity to discuss and produce new micro-environment plants in every participant’s home. At the end of this workshop, the ambition is to form a critical approach-by-practice to the stereotypical household standards. The house can be expected to host new practices of domestic production instead of consuming ready-made products shipped by afar. As new domestic skills and practices arise, the metabolism of household life rely on the hands of the inhabitants.

B2. “Seed & Feed” Canteen

Description: A mobile, modular structure will be constructed to host a program of seed storage, cooking and food service. The Canteen will be moored in the Campus Urban Garden. However it will be shaped on a vehicle basis in order to move around in different parts of the city providing food and seed exchange practices, in collaboration with the “Solidarity Kitchen” of Volos, a non profit bottom up initiative. The Canteen will take part in public events like the alternative open bio-market of the city.

Dates: September-October 2022

Leaders in all the workshops are: Zissis Kotionis, Katerina Kritou, Vassia Liri, Efthymia Dimitrakopoulou with additions of guests artists