My Yurt
Mixed-Media, Sculpture;  Chora;  

Papadimitriou created her own version of a Mongolian ger tent to rethink mobility and memory as one strategy for alternative living. The circular tent with a hole in the roof and a door is the portable home of Mongolian herdsmen; the same structure – known as a yurt – is used by nomadic herdsmen across Central Asia. […] Its significance is demonstrated in the Kyrgyzstan flag, which features the tent’s roof ring; a family’s history can be measured in the smoke marks that have collected on the ring over the years. The ger and the yurt – easy to transport and quick to construct – are not only a way of life but also a way of living history for nomads in Central Asia. While inspired by these histories, Papadimitriou experienced the ger tent close to her home in Athens during a Reiki treatment. [...] Like nomadic culture, Reiki lives through oral tradition. [...] To combine these nomadic histories – the ger as a home for herdsmen and Reike as a way of moving the body’s energy – Papadimitriou has outfitted her ger with pillows and carpets inside so that people on the move can lie down, relax and perhaps re-energize. To refresh their oral memories, the artist has added storytelling to the ger with recordings of traditional folk tales in Italian, English or Turkish. Lying and listening is an invitation to live with as history as an experience, which cannot be touched, nor possessed, but thrives through circulation.

Jennifer Allen

Excerpts from “Maria Papadimitriou,” in exh. cat. Less: Alternative Living Strategies, p. 207.