Mouries Collective is a fluid and interdisciplinary group of female artists, researchers and therapists based in Athens, Greece. Originally gathered due to our common interests in healing and divination practices, we recently focused on developing connections with trees, plants and the diverse beings with whom we share this planet. We create encounters and workshops that are multi-media, inter-sectional, inclusive, creative mixes, either intervening in public space or exploring group dynamics through the framework of care.
2023 project Healing Exercises: Inherited and emerging women’s knowledges for collective learning and interspecies connections
The global eco-social crisis we are living in can be seen as a consequence of the separation of the human from nature and an organisation of the reproduction of life based on the exploitation of subaltern beings and an unlimited extraction and depletion of the planet. Capitalism imposes ways of relating based on abstraction, disaffection and the very denial of our entanglement with the Earth and all the beings that inhabit it. To sustain continuous accumulation, capitalism has had to suppress many knowledges, ways of life, modes of sociality, affections and stories, which have been intentionally designated as dangerous or threatening. From indigenous modes of communication with nature to women´s healing practices to the bio-intelligences of animals and trees, they all have been subjected to different degrees of erasure through countless forms of violence often in the name of progress and civilisation.
In the face of this crisis, we want to reclaim and reimagine women’s knowledge and practices of healing, as tools to enlarge the field of relations between all beings that inhabit the Earth and explore the possibilities of more-than-human solidarity and kinship. This will guide us to develop new methodologies that allow us to (re)bond and (re)embody with our interconnectedness that the modern paradigm blocks to consolidate an anthropocentric world.
Through a partnership with several UK-based organizations working on themes related to our inquiries, we will be able to combine efforts and generate contemporary practices as we share experiences, resources and strategies through online and perhaps in-person gatherings. We propose mutual interviews, collective workshops and a collective exhibition as possible modes of exchange.
The trees, as well as the sky that hangs above it and the rocks beneath those trees, may have a lot of knowledge that we as humans wandering on the hills, may not know. How can we learn from them? What do we want to learn from them? Are we ready to hear what they have to tell us? How do we relate to them, how do they relate to us? What is their experience of the city? How would we develop the means to hear their stories? Asking the right questions, one can begin to hear the stories of the trees. And as with any conversation, by listening to others we listen to ourselves.
Maybe we share this knowledge, but we can’t know unless we take the time to listen. We, the Mouries – a circle of women with practices of divination and healing – are interested in building a conversation with the trees. We receive our guests in a picnic in the farangi, where we share our methods, thoughts and intuitions. We then guide each visitor to a different space in the grove where a mediator assists their connection with the trees. Let’s open our senses and new intimacies through one to one encounters, conversations, stories and songs in the forest.
Sketching rituals for the regeneration of forests.A three-hour workshop to imagine, discuss and put in practice ideas for rituals to mourn, accompany, and heal with our lost forests. This encounter is inspired by the recent fires in Greece, and is an open invitation to those who, like us, feel the need to do something without knowing exactly what. Maybe we will find out together.
Oi Mouries are a fluid group composed by different women at different times. Mainly Thalia Dimitropoulou, Isabel Gutierrez, Maria Juliana Byck, Eliana Otta, Vasilikí Sifoustratoudaki and Sanem Su Avcı.mouries_portfolio-Sept-2022-1
Chronology of produced works:
Meeting with the Trees: participatory experience at Lykabettus hill as part of the Lykabettus Festival, Athens.
Reading sessions: weekly gatherings as part of our internal process of work. Self-organized.
Mouries under the Trees: participatory experience at Pedion Tou Areos, as part of the Athens Garden Festival. Invited by the Institut français de Grèce, French Institute, Greece and coproduced with the independent art space Yellow Brick.
Workshop Sketching rituals for forests’ regeneration, as part of the public program of the exhibition Lost and Shared: Approaches to Collective Mourning Towards Transformative Politics, at the independent art space One Minute Space.
February – ongoing:
Care Council: weekly gatherings as part of our internal process of work. Self-organized.
12sqm: Filopappou ́’s Hidden Flowers: performative walk and exhibition at Or.artspace.
Exercises on Dwelling: participatory experience at Pedion Tou Areos as part of the Hills & Fields Festival. Invited by EIGHT / ΤΟ ΟΧΤΩ – Critical Institute for Arts and Politics
RITUAL FOR A BURNED FOREST, 2022, 16′ Surplus Cinema IMAGING ACTION at Beursschouwburg, Brussels, BE
Together we have embarked on two projects: 1) Meeting with Trees and 2) Care Council.
Meeting with Trees is an ongoing exploration of finding ways of communicating with trees. We have organized several events including performative actions and an experimental workshop. Each project expands on our ideas and refines our collective synergies. Our first and second events were encounters that focused on listening to the trees through one on one encounters in urban parks, part of the self-organised Lycabettus Festival and the Athens Garden Festival. We then hosted a workshop to further our practice and inquiries through discussion, exercises and performance under the title “Sketching rituals for the regeneration of forests”, as part of the public program of the exhibition “Lost & Shared: Approaches to collective mourning towards transformative politics”. Following that we organized a guided walk “12sqm: filopappou hidden flowers” in which we mingled with the local flora in central Athens to find stories and images. Our last encounter was ”Exercises on Dwelling” a public space intervention in which we were guided by the concept of home and habitat within urban context as a part of Hill & Fields exhibition initiated by το οκτω, critical institute for arts and politics.
Care Council is a new initiative. This experimental project seeks to develop care practices and relationships that embrace radical re-interpretations of kinship. Through the project we will ask each other: How and what type of care practices can help us become kin in healthy, sustainable and liberatory ways? It attempts to collectively weave broader questions around how capitalism shapes the ways we relate with one another and with more-than-human beings, with situated experiences and personal stories reflecting about how “permanent-crisis” as a contemporary condition of (socio-economic and ecological) breakdown, loss, dispossession and fear affects our capacities to trust, share, engage, care, wish and desire, which modes of care we practice and experience in our everyday lives and how those could be expanded or intensified.
The project wishes to provide tools that can help Oi Mouries reproduce themselves collectively and individually while (creatively yet care-fully) exploring affective modes of relating as the basis of a shared practice. By the Fall of 2022 we will have enriched our practices through this self organized Care Council and be ready to share our learnings with others.