The city of Athens is in the 80’s fever! The reason why is the exhibition “GR80s.Greece in the Eighties at Technopolis”, located in Technopolis City of Athens, with a parallel photography exhibition hosted at Onassis Cultural Center (Stegi). Both exhibitions are supported by various events like lectures, parties, educational programs and theatrical tours. It is easy to guess that these exhibitions present the 80s era in the Greek society. The main exhibition covers a broad spectrum of subjects ranging from politics to fashion, to mass production to the arts, as well as technology and youth culture. It's a great opportunity for the elderly members of the society to remember and the young ones to learn.
The main exhibition is hosted by Technopolis, a cultural venue and home of the Industrial Gas Museum. The thematic categories are scattered around the pavilions, sometimes blending with the permanent exhibition of the museum. The exhibits are everyday objects common for that period and were given as a loan from people who happened to still have the original items. The number of objects on display reached the astonishing 4.000!
What we particularly love about this exhibition is its special shop. The GR80’s shop is a container painted in blue matching the style of the exhibition. Containers, generally, are parts of the exhibition as they house the thematic category of mass media and communication.
The inspiration, of course, derives from the 80s. The merchandises were designed by Alkistis Tsikou, Nikoleta Balothiari and “Idisti – Greece with a twist”. The first two ladies are known graphic designers. The latter is a Greek company that aims to create contemporary design souvenirs inspired by Greek identity and culture.
The objects designed for the exhibition vary, there are bookmarks, pins, pens, pencils, rubbers, mugs, tote bags, a yo-yo and of course the catalog of the exhibition. The bookmarks and the pins have illustrations of objects from the 80’s like a television or a disco ball. The yo-yo, a very popular game back then, has a print of the logo. The rest of the products have Greek phrases printed on them. But, they are not just any Greek phrases. These phrases are slang, commonly used by the teenagers of the 80s. Their meanings literally and metaphorically in English are: “the phase is…” (which is used as “the situation is …”), “I find it with you” (which means “I like hanging out with you”) and “you are screwing it in me” (which means “you’re making me mad”). As funny as it is in English, it has a humorous retro appeal in Greek!
While in the shop we recommend you to look through the book that was a first step and an inspiration behind the exhibition - a dictionary about Greece in the 1980’s by Vasilis Vamvakas and Panayis Panagiotopoulos, who also serve the exhibition’s chief curators. Lastly, you can find issues of an old Greek magazine called “Tachidromos” (meaning “mailman”) which was quite popular back then!
The Industrial Gas Museum’s gift shop also has design objects on offer. There you can find jewelry, stationary and everyday items that stay true to the aesthetics of the industrial vibe.
If you are in Athens and want to take a ride down the 80’s lane, don’t forget to check out both shops! The objects are cheap, fun and well-designed! It will be hard to leave these shops empty handed!