Project Lazaretta is a multilevel project involving artists and viewers inspired by the infirmaries of Syros and Corfu, which gives them an opportunity to create in times of limitations.
Since 2020, we have been living in isolation, which caught us by surprise. Unprecedented conditions undoubtedly attract people of art and bring the collective unconscious to the fore. What does the restraint mean today? What does purification mean? How does society live? These are just some of the important issues that the cultural and creative community will be dealing with in the coming years. Project Lazaretta (March 2021) is a multilevel project participating in the creation of a global digital culture based on two infirmaries in Syros and Corfu. The project is inspired by the modern historical moment of the pandemic. The goal is to raise awareness of our cultural heritage and turn the past into a meaningful present.
The infirmaries used to be quarantine stations. Infectious diseases easily escalated into pandemics until the end of the 19th century, so isolation on infirmary islands outside major ports was necessary. These buildings are now often abandoned, destroyed monuments of cultural and architectural heritage. The Lazaretta project is supported by the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports and consists of 3 parts: 1. Presentation of the history of the two infirmaries of Syros and Corfu based on research conducted by historians not limited by traditional academic disciplines. Creating a digital culture platform with digital and video art, dance and video performances, sound art. 2. The works made by 26 international artists from 13 countries (Greece, Russia, Canada, Australia, Italy, Spain, USA, Brazil, Lithuania, Slovenia, Belgium, Ireland, Great Britain) were inspired by the history of infirmaries in Greece, while focusing on the current historical moment of the Pandemic. The artists were provided with relevant archival and historical documents. 3. Soundscape is narration based on audio reviews of 20 artists and viewers from around the world. The participants answered the questions: what do you see, hear, feel? These voices of the pandemic are an original audio collage reflecting the mental and emotional traces of people at the present time. Project Lazaretta is designed to emphasize the cultural heritage. This opens the way to initiatives that we hope will transform the ruins of our world cultural heritage into living places.
The role and importance of digital culture in various combinations and bold ways of self-expression is also emphasized: video art, dance on the screen, sound art, soundscape narration. In addition, the project aims to give artists the opportunity to create during the time of imprisonment and to remain an open platform for new works. We want to turn Lazaretta into a digital symbol of freedom of expression and representation of vulnerable and socially unprotected groups being far from the spotlight today and their legacy is being lost. The Lazaretta project uniting people's voices seeks to activate local communities by giving them an active and meaningful role in the fight against social pessimism and defeatism. We want to create new cultural paths using new digital technologies. The Project Lazaretta also lays the foundations for the upcoming international cooperation.