An Article written by
Filia Milidaki
17 June 2024
© illustration: Marion Jdanoff

Eye’s Walk Digital Festival was founded in 2014, and takes place on the island of Syros, in the middle of the Aegean sea. It is all about art in public space. Our aim is to connect art and architectural environments in order to reach local communities, give them power, and let their voices be heard. Joining Circostrada has helped us to expand our projects internationally. In 2021, I was invited to join a larger group of professionals attending Cratère Surfaces in Alès in the south of France — and that’s where I met members of Circostrada for the first time, who were also present in the frame of the network’s annual general meeting. I was immediately very drawn to them and to the network; it was welcoming, people-oriented, unbureaucratic. It was clear that it was not hierarchical, and that equality and togetherness prevailed. We applied to be a member and were accepted – and for me that was the crucial moment at which the work begun. In late 2021, I came across an open call for the European Festivals Association’s Fund for Emerging Artists (EFFEA). To apply, we needed to team up with two other partner festivals, and because of Circostra- da I was able to invite two other members, LEME festival in Portugal and PASSAGE festival in Denmark, to join a project to invite the Chinese sound composer Ban Lei to perform at our events. We were awarded the grant earlier this year. Ban Lei is an amazing sound artist — and he already knows Syros. We invited him to the island in 2019, when he performed for audiences on a boat in the port of Lazaretta. This new collaboration is still in its early stages, but we have agreed on one thing: that he will present his art in the public space. In 2023, we also received a grant from Circostrada’s SAIL – Support for Advocacy, Influence and Leverage programme to work on a psychographic guide for the Port of Hermoupolis in Syros. It will be based on the stories, experiences and atmosphere of the coastal area of Hermoupolis, a place that houses ‘Neorio Shipyard’, which first appeared in the mid 19th century, alongside other industrial public and private buildings. Because the location is logistically, emotionally and psychologically very important for the city today, and because the relationship between the shipyard and the residents is highly sensitive, we decided that an advocacy campaign must go hand in hand with the overall artistic event. The campaign will promote the community’s critical reflection, challenge social imaginaries regarding the coastal area, and create a mutual understanding and pride of our shared cultural heritage. In this way, art can be a medium for present and past to meet. With the festival we turn spaces and monuments into reflectors that invite societal and political issues to be discussed, to arise, to be present. We try to go deeper, and to show the situation beneath the beauty and the amazement of the island. I have lived on Syros since 2003 and sometimes I wonder why I’m still here. I think it is because of the extreme beauty of the island, but also because my work leads me to connect with the people that live and work here. We are islanders, yes. But islanders are also travellers. For me, living on an island doesn’t mean that I am cut off; it means that my horizons are opened and enlarged. I’m always trying to use my life on this tiny island in the sea as a mirror to know the life of a person living in New York or in Paris or Geneva. We are united through our common problems and our common visions.

Corporate Manager and Curator of  "Eye' s Walk Digital festival"