1922: A Century in Ionia, Thrace and Pontus.

I was asked to compose music for the commemorative tribute organized by Thessaloniki International Trade Fair-Exhibition in September 2022. A tribute to the events that 100 years ago led hundreds of thousands of Greeks from Asia Minor, Pontus, Thrace to leave their lands and to run away as refugees to Greece

It is a video installation, a ‘memory walk’ in two video projection rooms, on screens with a total width of 32 meters.

I find the project extremely interesting as well as difficult.

In the cinema, I compose music based on a script, most often fictional. The actors consciously expose themselves in order to ‘dramatize’ the script by stepping into roles outside their personal lives.

The series of music works I have been composing since 2018 is based on historical photos/videos/testimonies. It ‘creates’ musical narratives with the canvas being real heroes, real stories of people, emotions portrayed in eyes, body parts, clothes, houses, which have been photographed without the ‘condition of narration’. The moments depicted are real and hide within them the innumerable personal worlds that I am called today, many years later, to relive, to imagine, to narrate musically – not based on testimony but on emotional identification through a work, an artistic creation in intersection with ‘the real’.

These stories are no longer a historical document but a personal drama. Say, in a photograph of a family that is uprooted – immortalized by the lens- the music I compose for it, it is no longer ‘a historical document of the Asia Minor Disaster’, but the cold, the pain, the hunger in the eyes of the little child, the fear and the anxiety of survival and protection of his family in the eyes of the father.

Every cinema soundtrack requires my ‘transportation’ to the point and moment of the scene. I have to ‘become’ the character I watch on screen, I have to get into his mental and emotional world to be able to ‘render’ this world, add extra layers to it possibly, give to the character second thoughts or innocence, humor, happiness, resentment, all the things that are not easy to say with words or expressions – with all the guises and masks that all of us have learned to wear in our daily lives.

But here my mission (the one I have set for myself): it is nothing more than to ‘go’ mentally to the historical moment, to ‘be’ the child who is cold, the parent who is afraid.

From the comfort of our lives today this is infinitely more difficult.

And obviously I don’t ask my work to be perceived as ‘evidence’, as ‘part of the truth’ that each photograph carries. A tribute it is. An agonizing effort.

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