Matadero Madrid center for contemporary creation

From January to April 2024

Maria Nikiforaki

Rituals of new futures

Hannah Arendt made the following observation: “we have arrived in a situation where we do not know — at least not yet — how to move politically”. We have not yet arrived at that kinetic knowledge of movement that can lead to freedom, where we find the true meaning of politics. The search for sustainability will be linked to the environmental crisis, ecological urgencies and the technological revolution. And yet, it will also explore “unlearning” in order to “relearn” as a social body and as a collective social body.

Inspired by the idea of unlearning history, the project will seek to “create futures” for precarious communities through ritual forms and performative practices. This process will involve studying communities by focusing on how ritual practices, such as street practices or live events in public spaces, play a role in maintaining community identity and future dreams. How are rituals linked to the past and to the idea of imagining new futures?

The project will address the theme of “sustainability” as a platform from which to explore social ideas that will ultimately inform the process of artistic practice. It will focus primarily on “rituals” as the politics of the future and the politics of resistance. It will also explore science fiction approaches to the environment and fictional histories of the past and future. It will take the form of performative practices that explore human and non-human life and the process will include issues relating to ecology, feminism, gender politics and the politics of care.

Maria is a visual artist working at the intersection of performance art, film and dance. She uses choreography and cinematic strategies to introduce social and political connotations into movement and the body. Her art explores the personal and the political through the medium of choreopolitics.

She graduated with honours from the Athens School of Fine Arts (2012) and completed her master's degree in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, London (2015). She is a recipient of the Vikatos Foundation Scholarship (2013) and has received numerous awards: ARTWORKS Stavros Niarchos Foundation Award (2019), Trinity Laban Dance Award, MA Choreography Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (2019), Performance Voyage 3 Festival Video Performance Award. MUU Artists Association, Helsinki (2013).

Maria has participated in numerous art exhibitions and festivals, including: Wet Heart Exhibition, part of The Office of Hydrocommons (Atopos CVC), Mystery_19 V.A. Iniciador 2021 (2023 ELEVSIS European Capital of Culture), Unhappy Monuments (OPANDA & ARTWORKS, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, 2020), Learning From Documenta Workshop 4 - d14/Narratives Reshuffled (ASFA, Anthropological Research Laboratory and Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, 2017), GOMENES (Athens Biennale “OMONOIA” 2015- 2017), Latitude Festival (Big Screen Film Festival, London England, 2014 and 2015), Performative Labour-ism (Performance Festival, MPABerlin, Month of Performance, Berlin Germany, 2014) , Performance Voyage 3 (Helsinki Film Festival, Finland, 2013), Excentricités 3 (Performance Art Festival, Besançon, France, 2012). María lives and works in Athens and London.

She is a recipient of the Residency for Visual Projects on Sustainability as part of the EU-funded SAiR project.