Pytheas Travels | Hypercomf & Maja S. K. Ratkje with Ergon Ensemble

13.10.23 @ 20:30

Onassis Stegi

Four musicians, a video with landscapes of Tinos and Northern Norway, a party on board, and AI developers meeting in the belly of a whale. A surrealistic cruise from the Mediterranean to the northern countries, with the journey of Pytheas the Greek—the unassailable explorer of antiquity—in its very center.

Do you find it hard to float through life? Do you feel tangled in the nets of your daily routine and seek escape? Embark on one of the state-of-the-art vessels of Pytheas Travels cruise fleet and become part of the most oceanic experience of your life. A musical cruise with four musicians of the Ergon Ensemble as passengers and a video screening as a backdrop: a compilation of animation, live shootings on board and in various locations in Tinos and Northern Norway, as well as green screen footage, all inspired by the sea element. The immersive experience of “Pytheas Travels” includes furthermore many surrealistic touches that involve opulent parties, a great wildfire, as well as AI developers that meet in the belly of the whale. Shall we hop on board?

The title of the performance refers to the historical journey of Pytheas the Greek—the Columbus of antiquity—where in 325 BC sailed north from Marseilles to a place he called Ultima Thule, the mythical island, to reach the “frozen seas.” Unable to extend the exploration of the mythical lands of Northern Europe, Pytheas returned to the Mediterranean to document his legendary journey in a manuscript titled “On the Ocean” which vanished forever in the great fire of the Library of Alexandria.

“Pytheas Travels” is a staged audiovisual simulation of the experience of being on board a passenger vessel, traveling from the Mediterranean to the Northern Seas. It is a maritime story, an imaginary journey, and a critical insight into the mass tourism industry and its consequences on environmental, cultural, and societal structures.

The music score is courtesy of pioneering Norwegian composer and performer Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje, for whom in 2015 the Financial Times noted that “she brings a feral disregard for conventional form, combined with an extravagant imagination, linking it all to a fascination with the human voice and its communicative possibilities. Her works are dramatic, engaging, and wildly diverse.”

Athens, Onassis Stegi

* Hypercomf (Paola Palavidi & Ioannis Kolliopoulos) are SNF ARTWORKS Fellows.