A short story of KavecS
Vana Kostayola and Kostis Stafylakis formed KavecS in 2005. The initiative was a collective response to the cultural and political setting of Athens, one year after the over-celebrated Olympic Games of Athens. But, most of all, the initiative expresses the artists’ experience of maturing in Greece during the late 90s, when the “dream” of economic and political modernization coexisted with cultural and religious clashes. A new middle class culture reflected the dreams of young managers, and big-spenders supported by an investment system that was soon to collapse.
The cultural setting included: traditionalism, religious fanaticism, new waves of incoming immigration and the mobilization of conservative social strata, the renewed popularity of the orthodox church and its ultra-conservative leaders, the boom of private television, new age television gurus and local folk cults, yuppie style youth, the boom and the subsequent collapse of the greek stock market, political populism, the idealized self-image of greek culture offered by the organization of the Olympic games (2004), the following new right wing policies of the K. Karamanlis government, the first signs of economic crisis, the insurgencies of the greek youth and the riots of December 2008, the state’s economic breakdown and the accession to the EU-IMF support program. The projects carried out by KavecS were responses to the massive changes and events taking place in Greece for somewhat less than a decade.
The artists, and their collaborators, put to the test several forms of artistic interventionism in order to reprocess public discourse and its hegemonic “nodal points.” They impersonated authorities and misused positions of power. The artistic practice employed by KavecS is inspired by practices of “overidentification”, but tries to further blur the boundaries between incarnating a hegemonic identity and subverting it. By trying to avoid overt mockery and offer bemusing, persuasive and elaborate situations-speeches-impersonations, the KavecS artists try to test the viewer’s identifications and enhance a detailed reflection on cultural and social dogmas.
Κavecs created in Geneva the nonprofit organization “Arts_I.D.”