- Tuesday morning in the winter of '96, I left the manuscript of my first novel with two Greek publishers – the most renowned and the closest friend. A fortnight later, the most renowned left a message on my answering machine: we’re interested in signing a contract with you immediately! That day, I made a remarkable impression as a lame Apache dancer on my young son as he played the Red Indian chief under the table. I’d just walked in, barely had time to prize the one shoe off with the one hand and press the button on the answering machine with the other, when I started leaping round Big Chief’s tent, whooping and hollering a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a with one shoe in my hand and the other on my foot as the celebrated voice repeated her wish over and over: we’re interested in signing a contract with you immediately we’re interested in signing a contract with you immediately. I pressed play every time I danced past the machine. Two days before I signed the contract, I phoned the friend who’d left me in silence for so long: he wasn’t interested, the manuscript needed a lot of work, I should call round for a coffee whenever I felt like it. Ten days later I dropped a note off round his office wishing him a merry Christmas and the renowned publisher’s list of forthcoming publications before going out for him to buy me a drink. The following Christmas, we left Athens for a Roman family holiday, having cashed the cheque that accompanied the Best New Author Award for 1997. In the months that followed, I let my surprise and wonder drive me nuts. What was all that NONSENSE going on with THE BOOK? Another year later, I let the slippery slope get me like Alice Down the Rabbit Hole as I asked myself: To write again or not to write again? And why write again? And why not write again? And write again for who? And for who not to write again? And what if I don’t write again? And what if I do? As I plummeted, my friends grew tired of answering and left me to my fate. Indeed, when one day I handed one of them some pages I called a novel, he angrily retorted, veery very good. Keep this up and we’ll be publishing the COLLECTED WORKS in no time at all. And another one, whom I’d just asked without handing him a thing, replied one drunken evening that I was sooooo right in eeeverything, and that I could head for the precipice all by myself. I found the answer I was looking for on the down and down one morning under TH in my renowned publisher’s catalogue: THalassis Giorgos, THeodorakopoulos Ioannis, THeodoropoulou Viky, THucydides, [TH]Cervantes Miguel, THeotokas Giorgos, THeotokis Konstantinos. And got back to some serious work on the spot! How could I give up company like that?
- LUDENS LABS is a PLAYGRΟUND for the mind brought into being by our desire to learn, express ourselves and create through play. The Dutch historian and philosopher Johan Huizinga (1872-1945) created homo ludens to join homo ergaster, homo habilis, homo erectus and homo sapiens, then Gianni Rodari and John Nash along came to tell us, in their different ways, about game theories. Civilization, Huizinga wrote, is born of Man’s innate tendency to play, and different forms of culture—from justice and philosophy to poetry, prose and art—can be understood as manifestations or transfigurations of that basic human urge. It’s a shame homo ludens has been consigned to the wastebin of history. It’s time to remember him. LUDENS LABS is an ANTI-DEPRESSANT, a slogan that grew out of our need to shout out that we can do things in the ways we want and not the ways that are forced upon us. So we decided to write without recipes, to see without being shown, to hear without waiting, to taste for enjoyment, to laugh without tickles, to be together to come together, to talk without evasions or just to have coffee with friends. So we said we’d play without cheating, put our aces on the table and work together on coaxing the surprise out into the open. LUDENS LABS is an EXPERIMENT which has been set in motion by the signs and seeks to confirm our core suspicions that there are valuable findings lying hidden beneath the sands. Don’t worry, we won’t lose ourselves in poetry. LUDENS LABS is a LOW-BUDGET STORY born of our desire to prove that the Feast is fuelled by Fun. What Feast? What Fun? Well, Fun is a creative feeling off the map of the pompous, the polemical and the competitive in the realms of the dream, levity, magic, laughter, mystery, rivalry, critical thinking, amusement, ritual and peace. In short, Fun lies in the Play Zone—where the Feast is transformed into an expression of creativity that goes off with a multi-coloured bang!. LUDENS LABS games are played in peace, at gatherings where there’s no room for misunderstanding, insult, malevolence, selfishness & co. round the table. This is the spirit in which LUDENS LABS hosts its workshops, conferences, competitions, discussions, exchanges, exhibitions and other in situ situations. Let’s play! And, playing, let’s learn, express ourselves and create. LET’S LIVE.
- Endorse the vibes of a writing Lab that promises nothing but a game with your inner self and self expression through words and thoughts. Travel writing’s privilege is that it does not necessarily need an author’s skills. What we definitely need when we are participating in a drifting game like travel writing, is our ability to adapt new ways of drifting around and writing down. Imagine of a bunch of youth and youth-at-heart talking around a table after a creative site drifting. Then pull over the paper tablecloth and read the words left on it. You will be surprised.
- A five-day Lab carefully designed to make Serifos a perfect springboard for site writing. Ιn tandem with the tutor’s educational strategy, its varied outdoor and indoor ambiences provide ideal material for Lab participants tackling the new big challenge: the site as a fictional character. After some ludic and some entirely realistic dérives – literary drifting – along a route selected by the Lab, everything that caught our gaze and fired our thoughts will become the canvas on which each of us ultimately writes about the place/space. Utopia is forgiven, playing hide and seek is encouraged, arbitrary conclusions lauded. Working tools selected by the tutor, the awarded greek writer Vici Theodoropoulou, will give the thrust required to renew our contracts of eternal literary faith or a tranquil deconstruction of givens. In either case, the next step will be sought out and implemented there and then, within the lab time-frame: a short story? A poem? An Epos? Everyone who involves themselves in the adventure of putting pen to paper while drifting around a place/space, is a writer or a traveler following a path of least resistance? Coming from the not knowing, each participant will be given the bump keys to search for a reason and explore his/her inner mythos while at the same time he/she will be encouraged to encounter landscapes’ mythos, to depict the site as a fictional characher and develop it in chapters that will evolve based on drifting in different locations of the island. The place/space is this time the ambiances to record. Whether it is natural enÿvironment, surrounding architecture, a cluster of boulderstones or an abandoned cell (miner’s stonebuilt sleeping rooms), it is all about the Place. Genius loci becomes the focus point of the Lab, giving the participants the chance to experience it and express it through writing.
Without ruffles and frills, imbued with a sense of calm and serenity, nestled at the foot of the mount hill, a 3min walk down to the sandy beach, set on a lush landscape by a shady arbor with grape vines, juneberries trees, pomegranate, eucalyptus and olive trees, we welcome you to a place of peaceful respite