The Village Omnia

Online app used as theatrical interactive navigation-tool

The Village reveals the village within the city.

An app, available for smartphones and used as theatrical interactive navigation-tool guides you through stories throughout the city. In every village there is someone who works hard for his village and its progression, and there’s someone who opposes it. There’s someone who will follow and someone who simply observes. There’s always a victim. Someone stands still, an other causes trouble. 

And in all of that, there’s poetry. As participant of The Village you walk through the city and we help you to zoom in and find it. Meet 5 key figures in the city through your phone.

Anywhere in the world the project The Village always begins with the search for these personalities. In collaboration with local artists and organizations we interview these key figures using a standard format. These stories are then recorded by actors and provided with images by local sketch artists. Stories become fragments that belong to specific locations. This creates a dynamic walk with one focus: the perceptions of 5 different characters reflecting on one and the same place.

Omonia Square

The Village Omonia is a collaborative project between the Dutch Company New Heroes and UrbanDig Project.  The Greek side of the partnership was supported by John F. Costopoulos Foundation. After many encounters between the Dutch and the Greek side, walks in Omonia, interviews, workshops, fruitful collaborations with local artists and lots of hours of working and discussing, The Village Omonia was created to introduce its visitors to an invisible side of reality.

Omonoia Square (Πλατεία Ομονοίας) is one of the oldest squares in the city of Athens and an important shopping centre. It is located at the intersection of six main streets and is served by Omonia Metro Station.

All though Omonia used to be the thriving commercial centre of Athens it has decayed in the last decade. It now is considered an ugly and dangerous place and lost much of its function as public space. However, being in the the northern corner of the downtown area and one of the city’s principal traffic hubs it’s still the place where many layers of city life cross, connect and interfere.

Refugees waiting for a pass into Europe, businessmen rushing people in their morning commute, shop owners envisioning of a revival of the square and many, many more stories are to be discovered on this square… Once you’ve revealed this hidden sides, suddenly the square opens up and feels less threatening. Do you climb the wall in the middle? How do you behave?
Wherever The Village is built, it always starts with finding these key personalities. In collaboration with local artists and institutions we interview those people and ask them a standard set of questions. Their stories are recorded by actors and local fine art artists add images. Stories become fragments matching specific locations. This way a dynamic route is formed, focussing on the experiences from five figures reflecting on the same spot. Your participation turns you into an inhabitant of The Village, how are you behaving?

Project Credits

Directed by Bas Van Rijnsoever (Company New Heroes) in collaboration with Katerina Protonotariou (UrbanDig Project) and UrbanDig Project’s team.

Characters’ voices: Irini Alexiou, Klimis Embeoglou, Irini Iliopoulou, Emmanouela Korki, Katerina Protonotariou, Giorgos Sachinis

Recordings: Studio AUX (Giotis Paraskevaidis)

Drawings by Asimina Kordatzi, Anna Lioliou, Viktor Malistas, Marina Mersiadou, Christina Mitselou, produced during a workshop run by the two companies.

Bonus part “Trobadours”

Lyrics by Christos Kanellopoulos – based on interviews of local shop owners by Mirsini Antoniou and Giorgos Sachinis

Musical Composition and Orchestration: Christos Theodorou

Musicians: Victoria Tangouli (singing), Christos Theodorou (piano), Giotis Paraskevaidis (guitar and acoustic bass), Nikos Georgakopoulos (Mpouzouki).

Recordings and mixing by Giotis Paraskevaidis, Studio AUX

Drawings by Nantia Siokou

Special thanks to The UrbanDig_Omonia research community for the great research and support, to “En Omonia” and “Idrogios” for being extremely hospitable and  to the AD&PR Lab of Panteion University, under the guidance of Matina Magkou(UrbanDig Project).