The BIOS is a multidisciplinary center in Athens that organizes each summer a silent movies cycle entitled “Sssh! Silent Movies”: a series of screenings on the rooftop, with sunbeds and wireless headsets which allow the audience to listen either the sound of the movie or a DJ set played live over the movies images.
The BIOS history starts in 2000 as an audiovisual festival. At that time, the team invades an abandoned factory and creates the biggest festival for electronic music, with exhibitions and all kinds of artistic installations. Two years later, they realize that, to get things moving in Athens, they must settle in a more permanent way. In an abandoned neighborhood close to the city center, the team finds an empty spring factory and decides to rent it to create an audiovisual center. They organize screenings and installations and over the years include performing arts into the programming. In 2010, 10 years after their launch, they decide to set their sights even higher: they recover a building on the other side of the street, the Romanzo, which they turn into an art center with the first creative industries incubator of the city. They provide offices and spaces for young creators (architects, graphic designers, movie makers, fashion designers, web developers, etc.)
We are not a closed institution or a faceless one, people know us, what we want to be is the more open and the more available as possible.
The BIOS organizes cinematographic screenings and notably offers a very successful program on its rooftop during summer called Sssh! Silent Movies: “We screen movies on the wall and the audience sits down on sunbeds where they can take a wireless headset. On one channel of the headset, they can listen to the movie, and if they change the channel there is a live DJ set inspired by the movie. And if they turn if off, they don’t listen to anything and can peacefully have a drink.” explains Gabriella Triantafyllis. This program, which starts mid-May until the month of August, celebrated its fifth anniversary this year. Each year focuses on a theme like “The new French New Wave” (Diva by Jean-Jacques Beineix, Subway by Luc Besson and Boy Meets Girl by Leos Carax) or even “Teenage kicks” (If… by Lindsay Anderson, Kids by Larry Clark, Gummo by Harmony Korine). The DJ is directly involved into the choice of the theme and the movies for the season. “Last season, the DJ chose science-fiction movies, previous years, they were more into Classics.”
Nevertheless, the BIOS now faces a difficult time with Greece being stricken by a strong economic crisis which creates an instable environment both financially and socially. The team is unable to preplan anything for the months to come: with a daily expenses limit, banks that cannot wire money abroad, ignorance of upcoming taxes and their rates, they have to change all their music program for the season as they’re unable to send any down payment to artists living outside of Greece for now. “When your revenues depend on the number of tickets sold, it means they depend on what people can spend in your place and if they have no money, then arises a major problem.” Since the referendum has been voted in July 2015, the BIOS has lost half of its receipts and foresees no other source of revenue in the times to come.
But the team members remain full of hope and given the critical situation of the country, they have decided to reinforce their support to local emerging artists by offering free rehearsal spaces to young music bands or theatrical troupes. This year, their theater program is exclusively made of young artists “It was a very important decision for us. Since there are no more funding, no one helps the young generation.” The workshops they organize are occasions to develop the BIOS network and meet new faces. “We are not a closed institution or a faceless one, people know us, what we want to be is the more open and the more available as possible.”
Translation by Garance Boulet ♥