Lights of Hope – From Olympiacos to the World

Olympiacos FC Lights of Hope Event 2020  | Braving Covid-19 with a polymedial Olympiacos FC championship celebration | 19.7.2020 | Piraeus, Greece 
Olympiacos FC Fiesta 2020. It was a big honor to create and to direct the double event „From Olympiacos and from Piraeus to the World“ on the occasion of winning the 45th championship of the Greek Superleague 2020 by Olympiacos FC.
Through two multimedia live TV shows (NOVA & MEGA) from Karaiskaki Stadium and from Pasalimani Piraeus harbor I wanted to unite all of them: the players, the fans, the people of Piraeus, all of Greece and the world.
 
Olympiacos FC - Lights of Hope Event
Olympiacos FC – Lights of Hope Event, Karaiskakis Stadium, Piraeus
Olympiacos FC Fiesta 2020. Especially under the difficult and extreme conditions of the Corona pandemic it was important for us to give a sign of hope and confidence. Sport and also the arts unite people in these uncertain times. That’s why I have given my show the name „Lights of Hope“.
 
I would like to thank all my friends and colleagues and the fantastic Olympiacos team for the great cooperation.
 
 
Olympiacos Lights of Hope Event directed by Asteris Kutulas
Lights of Hope Event, Pasalimani Harbor, Piraeus (Photos by © Asteris Kutulas)
About the Olympiacos double event

On the 19th July, Olympiacos Football Club celebrated their 45th Championship title by winning the Greek Super League Trophy.  Taking place amidst an unprecedented crisis and pandemic in Greece, Olympiacos FC wanted this event to be a message of hope and optimism from Olympiacos to Piraeus, from Piraeus to Greece, and from Greece to the World.

They brought in Greek-German artist and director Asteris Kutulas to create a double event, both inside and outside the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus.  His brief was to create the cup presentation event, and to send a message of strength, optimism, perseverance and hope.  The event was made up of two parts. 

The Super League Cup presentation ceremony took place inside the stadium.  The cup presentation ceremony inside the G. Karaiskakis Stadium featured 3D projection mapping, lights, lasers and pyro.  This was synchronised to a symphonic soundtrack composed by Marios Joannou Elia.

Outside in Piraeus Harbour there was a public event for the fans. The events inside the stadium were sent out to LED screens, whilst there was a separate show of lasers, lights and pyro around the water’s edge.  The music was remixes by Alexandros Karozas and DJ Antonis Dimitriadis.

Olympiacos FC - Lights of Hope Event 2020
Lights of Hope Event, Pasalimani Harbor, Piraeus (Photos by © Ralph Larmann)
Lights of Hope | From Olympiacos FC & Piraeus to the World
Created & directed by Asteris Kutulas

19.7.2020 | Piraeus, Greece 

Music by Marios Joannou Elia, Alexandros Karozas & DJ Antonis Dimitriadis 

Projection Art Ross Ashton
Laser Motion Design Achilleas Gatsopoulos
Light Design George Tellos
Laser Design Daniel Brune
Pyro & Fireworks Design Pavlos Nanos

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Technical Director Aris Koudouris
Music Production Nick Elia & Alexandros Karozas
Light Programming & Operator Makis Anastasakis
Lighting Coordinator Irene Samartzi
Laser Programming Bas Verstraelen & Merlin Schaadt
Media Technician Bernd Gröger
Projection Technician Robert Foerster
Technical Director Light & Video Equipment Oliver Schulze
Logistics Uwe Förster
—————————–
Pyro & Fireworks Nanos Fireworks Greece
Laser Equipment laserfabrik GmbH
Projection & Light Equipment OS-VT Veranstaltungstechnik
Light & Sound Equipment Tempo Events

Olympiacos FC - Lights of Hope Event, Karaiskakis Stadium, Piraeus
Rehearsing the show at the Karaiskaki Stadium, Photos by © Ralph Larmann

A Testimonial From “Nana” (Athena) Trandou

Asteris {a Greek name and word —extremely relevant to what follows—, meaning “Star”: That which shines enchantingly, indefinable, granting the wonder which allows for the autonomy in belief, and so, hope, despite antagonism; a light upon us, despite great distance and in darkest moments} has long been, in my eyes, an Ambassador of the Arts, Stage- Production and Greek Heritage for Greece, in Berlin.

From far off, his “Light” has been bright, making clear in every one of his works that an extraordinary ethos lay behind what he produces. Projects completed world-wide with Gert Hof, as well as the recent “Apassionata” Project, only begin to substantiate my claim.

I have seen, and see again in “Lights of Hope”, an urgency, a self-sacrificing effort, a focus of the highest degree in Asteris’ work. Yet it is not this drive, effort or passion which should fascinate us, but rather the meanings, concepts and ethics which incite such a complete focus for giving to others which must be noted. Asteris is sharing an idea which he holds within himself, and which makes this project of the highest level of Stage-Production and Art simultaneously. It informs his decisions and, entering into the process of creation, delivers unto us products only possible when containing such profound significance.

Such messages and ideas arrive by a creator’s sympathetic connection to and observation of past and present voices, events and creations. Having given Asteris energy, meaning, purpose, joy-of-union etc. they now seem to drive him, at all costs, to giving those messages/ideas back to the World.

Olympiacos FC Fiesta 2020 by Asteris Kutulas
Rehearsing with the Children Choir Piraeus, DJ Antonis Dimitriadis & Asteris Kutulas

While it is our choice to sympathetically connect which brings about our growth and happiness, we see an even more profound implication in Asteris work; he realizes and teaches that it is always actions in the immediate —the faith, dreams, hopes, sympathy, and resulting selfless-giving from others during their immediate (appearing to us as coming from the past) – –, that are ultimately required in order to allow any human to receive such growth. It is only by a human’s choosing in their immediate to take action and give, that those in a future moment may find something with which to connect and be inspired; to grow; to find that which drives us, in our immediate, to engage in a way which can provide such sources of connection and guidance towards selfless connection for future generations. It is not by watching in fear, but doing in faith, which may allow ourselves and others to become the links which continue to facilitate an ever-longer chain of connections, the passing of the light of thought, the carrying and passing of the eternal flame. It is only in this way that we, or they, as individuals, may choose to enter into a larger context, a context spanning hundreds or thousands of years, and so, which may be noticed and given to the entire World (no matter where or how it began).

Olympiacos FC Fiesta 2020 directed by Asteris Kutulas
Lights of Hope Event, Pasalimani Harbor, Piraeus (Photos by © Ralph Larmann)

I aim to give testimony to and emphasize for you the major significance of Asteris work by seeing:

1. The Olympiacos Team as a symbol of action and achievement, the production of a sense of union, joy and meaning in the immediate, despite darkness and antagonism; uniting not only the present inhabitants of the region it represents, but also all who have identified with the team over generations; uniting people despite dissonant social and economic conditions; creating the belief that greatness could be achieved in any circumstance and in a way which facilitates an otherwise impossible scale of human connection.

Creating evidence for the belief that it is their action which may become, as it does in Asteris hands, the reality-brought-about which may synergize with the ideas of a creator to show for all other people that it is this celebration in times of difficulty, this union in the face of isolation, this dreaming in the face of limitation, that produces the results in whose connection we may find the inspiration and impetus to continue the sharing, giving and connection which may then cause such beneficial receipt in others, ad infinitum.

2. It is the Olympiacos Team’s emblem and Title which lead us to a historical association of much larger scope and meaning. They, bearing the Daphne/Laurel-Crown and named after the athletes whose competing was a means to honoring the God Zeus, uniting entire City- States in their action, become a microcosm of the type of action which began as an expression of belief, and proof of the miraculous human achievement belief could bring about. Such action led to Panhellenic agreement, and eventually, after many generations of such giving, and the light (the thought, the memory of the results) which follows, the World’s recognition of, interaction with and receipt of the meanings of the event’s source. This birthed a world-unifying Olympic games at which burns a symbolic eternal flame; that fire is the thought, the meaning, the energy, the light which inspires each generation as and by the action which the previous generation took, by choice, to give to them.

3. It is Asteris’ observation of this confluence of:
a) This Modern Greek event-occurrence in the context of Pandemic.
b) The achievement-creator’s (the team’s) association with Ancient Greek messages. This achievement in the immediate by that message-bearing, symbolic unit (the football team) in the midst of the very darkness which most-requires the message contained in the Laurel- wearing adolescent, most-challenges us to continue in the immediate to pass that message, and most-demands awareness of the need and reason for selflessly carrying forth the meaning it possesses…
which results in…
c) Asteris, himself, becoming a crucial link —carrying and keeping the meaningful torch lit with the light of his thoughts, those found in its sources, mythologies, and ideas passed; pointing with all of his energy to the need for connection, immediate connective-action and selfless sharing, despite antagonism—, bridging the information gap between modern mankind and the future of our species, exactly by
his being able to observe, synthesize and express the meaning of the past, in and with the choices and actions of the present.

Olympiacos FC Fiesta 2020 directed by Asteris Kutulas
Lights of Hope Event, Pasalimani Harbor, Piraeus (Photos by © Ralph Larmann)

The work is imbued with myriad manifestations of connection; the invaluable bonds of family strengthened, and individuals united in belief and celebration of the symbolic group’s achievement across generations; the team’s emblem cries out the messages which these modern-manifestations of connection utilize and represent. The message-endowed Daphne, the Laurel-Crown, is shown as an emblem and then projected as light onto the field from which the meaning of the team’s immediate action emanates.
The youth of today stand by, applying masks obediently, closing their mouths and stifling their breath of life as they face the darkness, and yet, they are present for the celebration which has been called into appropriateness (by the team’s having competed and achieved despite circumstances isolative; so, proving the awareness of a symbolic and unifying role, as they dreamed and strived together in empty stadiums). The youth stare up in amazement and awe as those who have found a reason to and a way to express that there is something greater than the limited, fixed, defined, oppressive and isolating rules and ways of States and powers, do so. The youth, not yet knowing such reasons or ways, are shown that there
is something to seek; they are offered examples of what type of excitement, energy and increased ability such effort, seeking and selfless giving can grant us. They are encouraged by the words, lights and images, which constitute Asteris’ work, that it is now that they must act, that they

must remember to seek, that they are free to do so, that they will find, and that when they do, they will receive the energy, the belief, the informing meaningfulness, the sense of union which will give them, rejoicing, the purpose and inspiration to create and act in ways so great, for others.

———————

This is a matter of history. It is a matter of individuals taking action, despite difficulty, antagonism or discouragement in their immediate circumstances; to invent beliefs, achieve great feats by believing, and to create meaningful works. It is a matter of the messages of an ancient mythology being embodied by a team whose actions reflect its message, those messages being thereby brought into interaction with the present, alive, and the choice of an artist to see that synthesis and to create in a way which gives completely in order to show, guide to and emphasize that inspiring meaning and synthesis now manifested. This is what makes history; our choices as individuals.

It is our choice as individuals in our immediate time and place to sympathetically observe others and the past (to become inspired by and change due to such interaction) which allows us the choice to give what we have found in such interaction, to the future. We make the choice to selflessly listen and give in order to create and become that which can link our generation to other generations. One football game alone is but one game; but that one game played well, with self-sacrificing effort, is crucial, for it will be seen by the youth (that indefinable thought that drives the player to so risk and greatly perform kindles in the mind of the observer, the youth, an unlimited and imaginative seeking for such unknown value), and inspire the future games which will redefine that first game as the source of a tradition or a way; this is an analogy for all creation. It is when one culture passes one thought, symbol, light or message across generations, by such action in the immediate, that that light then not only has defeated physical death (Time), but also comes to represent an entire culture and so is witnessable by all of humanity; it breaks the barrier of borders, interacting with and giving to all.

As is reflected in a team like Olympiacos offering togetherness, joy, and awe-inspiring accomplishment during moments of darkness throughout history (through War, Crises and now, Pandemic) by sacrificing for collective effort, as a symbolic unit, so we see how creators and athletes alike may connect across time and space. Hence, the synergy of the team’s immediate history, and its emblematic relationship to a larger historical meaning/scope, are displayed powerfully by the artist.

Asteris masterfully assists us in witnessing the Olympiacos team as the present embodiment of the faith and achievement which is the intended result of the mythological messages their emblem boasts. They represent all such message-passing, “Lights of Hope” in any circumstances, and it is the Artist’s job (accomplished superlatively) to guide us to finding that truth in ourselves; to finding the message implied in the action of the team, and how and why we should do the same. That no matter what our vocation, no matter what our circumstances, it is creating such light in darkness which makes such light perceivable to others and so, unites us in ways otherwise impossible; across eras and borders.

Asteris leads us to see that, no matter what —without fans present, without profits, with little time or resources, with fear ever-present—, it is our persistence to hope, dream, believe, give, attempt and share which can allow for messages (whose creation and purpose is seemingly

disparate from our immediate lives or roles; like an ancient mythology) to enter into interaction with the present, affecting all of humanity, at any time.

It is our choice in the immediate to dream and attempt, then creating and acting —despite discouraging darkness driving us to isolation and inactivity—, which become the memories, the truths, the World in which those ‘things’ may be found which inspire the present to create again; so, connecting all humans across all times and locations. It is the action of each ‘team’ in its own time and place, the message in one creation made during one life-time, which connects all teams and all artists across millennia by their and our choice to give now, in the immediate, as individuals. “Lights of Hope” is sympathetically and generously riddled with paths and guidance to such most-crucial metaphysical information for Humanity and so, is of the highest level and value as a Production and a work of Art.

I need no more than mention his exemplary use of every resource available and his message- emboldening interaction with music, aware that we all witnessed the widely-relatable power that such selfless and significance-endowed creation can produce.

 

Lights of Hope by Asteris Koutoulas
Olympiacos FC – Lights of Hope Event, Karaiskakis Stadium, Piraeus

I suggest that, as a light may be used in stage-production for the functional purpose of making the actor visible, so may a set of codified words be used in the newspaper for the articulation of a common occurrence.
Yet, it is when we see stage-lights used to express a thought (a message which has brought the creator a sense of union, meaning, hope, completeness, happiness etc.) by someone who desperately wishes to share what they think, feel and understand —so others may utilize that same source of hope, energy, and sense of union—, that we leave the newspaper and head into the world of message-passing; Mythology; Art.

By looking into “Lights of Hope” this way, we come to see the messages and ideals of Ancient Greece found in the Olympiacos emblem, emphasized, recreated and brought into present interaction most-clearly and profoundly. This message, mind you, addresses all of Humanity, in every place and epoch. The messages found in such a source are not for or about that time or place, but rather about Humanity’s condition and the path to its nourishing connection with the World around it.

So, as I find Asteris growing from a sort of Ambassador for Greek Art/Production/Heritage in Berlin, to shining his light and the light of our people upon the entire World, I too have come to understand that the drive/urgency/effort/selflessness I consistently find in his work is not that of a draconian stage-producer, but that of an Artist using stage-production to and for its highest potential. I find someone using the abstract techniques he has mastered by extensive experience in every facet of stage-production in order to send a message which was birthed inside him, to and for others (having been guided by similar light from the past; and as it seems, largely influenced by his culture’s ancient beliefs).

It is this significance, this meaningfulness and all-giving focus that is the source of our not just saying, “Whoa! Wow!”, upon witnessing his work, but rather, being brought to tears as we watch the “Lights of Hope” unfold before us.

Asteris Kutulas & Olympiacos
Olympiacos FC – Lights of Hope Event, Karaiskakis Stadium, Piraeus

The Olympiacos Football Club is one directly affiliated with these ‘guiding lights’ and ‘beliefs’; the ideals of Ancient Greece, its Gods and mythology, and subsequently the teachings, concepts and meanings therein. This is confirmed and made irrefutably clear in their appellation and emblem.

When we witness such an achievement as Asteris has made occur within just a few weeks, we wonder, we are in awe, and we find it to be magical; impossible. Yet, it is when in the darkness of a pandemic —with fear-derived isolation threatening the passing of knowledge, ego-driven power-structures attempting to remove belief, art, sharing, creation, connection from the list of urgent priorities, in the face of the limiting and discouraging of the activities which spread such knowledge—, it is in such great darkness that stars shine the brightest, bringing us the greatest sense of awe, peace, connection, relief and limitless inspiration.

It is by a team bearing the mark and name of the ancients (the ever-burning torch of knowledge which spreads the light of Wisdom upon millennia), engaging someone who possesses that light, knows how to give it to others and sees the immediate need for the profound nourishment they may gain from it in darkness and lacking, that such creation comes to exist; that a star, Asteris, shines brightest.

We see the “Laurel-Crown”, featured in the team’s emblem, appear in Asteris’ projections throughout the work. Accompanied and juxtaposed with words and phrases like “Create”, “Love”, “Be Free”, “Hope” and “Keep dreaming…”, we are given the most sympathetic and selflessly-derived opportunity to receive the message held by that Laurel-symbol, the light long-passed by the Greek culture and now by Asteris himself; a message embodied by the activity of the Olympiads; games crucially rooted in mythology. I will articulate this most- relevant Laurel-message soon.

These games, games not unlike modern football, were engaged to honor Zeus, and so to remind us and teach us of the otherwise impossible feats belief in such Gods could bring to us; how, inspired by the messages found in mythology, Mankind could sacrifice energy-of- self, choose to give increased effort and focus for others, and so achieve things which are beyond the individual’s capacity if/when alone and meaningless. We were offered evidence of reason for and memories by which to recall the potential in/of connection with all things.

These were Panhellenic competitions which, by one person’s sacrifice and effort, could bring together entire city-states; such unification occurs today as each team represents a region or urban area. Notably, the area which Olympiacos represents is Piraeus Port: an age-old gateway to the Western World, suggesting not only the possibility of regional unification, but a message’s ability to unify all of Humanity.

While it is not my place or purpose here to tell, it is integral to mention Asteris’ use and recognition of the Laurel-Crown of fabled Apollo in his portrayal of the significance of this particular team’s achievement in and despite dark times. Again, this achievement and achievements like it will become the inspiring light which unites our immediate reality with a future immediate, forming connections, sources of energy and inspiration otherwise impossible.

The Laurel or Daphne, ‘stefani’ or crown, came to be when Daphne, fleeing from Apollo’s loving pursuit, gave herself to the will of the Gods, praying to her father the River God Peneus, to be saved, changed from her Apollo-attracting form, sacrificing her volition and physical existence so to remain in accordance with her Artemis-oriented beliefs. It was her belief that his catching her would produce horrible results (despite his only wishing to love

her) which allowed her to give herself, to sacrifice herself to the will of a God to such an extent that it resulted in an otherwise impossible, immortality-granting transformation {this is, as a creator or athlete may give all of themselves to give to and for others, the path to discovering new meanings and possibilities in the self, to changes, transformations, metamorphoses, only possible when in such degrees of selfless connection}.

But it is Apollo’s reaction which is of highest relevance here. He approaches and speaks to the tree (once the woman who so vehemently refused him), promising to honor her forever, showing that his love was true, not an animalistic hunger, but a human desire to connect, and so, she droops (as if lowering her defense) and her beauty is seen and remembered as a glistening in her leaves.

This is the message in the Laurel: That there is an autonomy-granting, companionship- providing, all-uniting and meaning-producing value in unconditional Love and admiration of others —despite loss of what we think we should have, what we immediately desire or consciously intend, and no matter what shape or form in which an ‘other’ appears—, available at all times; a type of loving focus always within our choice to give; in all epochs and places. And that this unconditional Love is the selfless human focus which may unite us, by the autonomy in conscious choice, with all others (all other humans, creatures and things, like the Laurel Tree, which exist along with Humanity across millennia) in a way which can offer us a sense of reconciliation, and end to loss and loneliness, increased interaction with surroundings, meaningfulness, purpose, identity, uniqueness etc.

Hence, the Laurel or Daphne Crown (“Δαφνοστεφανομένος έφηβος”, the “Dafne-crowned Adolescent”; a name for the team’s Emblem-Character) holds this ancient meaning. It is this type of love Apollo showed, to focus selflessly on others, to connect to and give to others despite loss or unavailability of the physical or immediate circumstances which may have animalistically, egotistically or fearfully driven us towards them, that the team who wears the Laurel embodied in their immediate, achieving action despite darkness; a modern-day embodiment of a meaning which, more than ever, needed to be reconfirmed, reminded of, brought back to life, shined light upon, and reignited by a great artist like Asteris.

What we bear witness to here is the work of an Artist carrying an ancient message, a Light, the energy of thought, coming off a torch which is always burning. And yet, a Light which has nearly gone out many times and will go out without our sympathetically receiving it and choosing to pass it forward; by lovingly listening and then sympathetically giving and creating in the present. Asteris is one of the few who has comprehended such messages; been inspired, nourished, informed, guided, energized, given new meaning and purpose by such light. It is guidance towards the path to finding this experience and its source in and for others, for which he shares it.

All the while, he remains aware of and emphasizes in his work that it was the selfless choice of others to take action by creating, sharing and giving in their immediate, in their present, during the now, in our Life, in their Life, in his Life, which is the only thing that could allow him to receive such knowledge. Were there no immediate action in the present of ancient times, there would be no mythologically-derived messages to take present action in order to share the light of.

It was creation, sharing, human connection, his own hope, the guidance to believe, being shown means to finding more meaning, sources of value, purpose, increased possibility in life, being offered limitlessness in imagination, which allowed him to receive such

knowledge, by choosing to sacrifice his own energy for connection; to receive the messages existing within that which was once given, for connection.

Olympiacos Lights of Hope Event directed by Asteris Kutulas
Lights of Hope Event, Karaiskakis Stadium, Piraeus, Photo by © Ralph Larmann

It is a team, a group giving their full effort for the sake of others, a symbolic entity providing a sense of unity for a larger group of individuals (again, small connections producing great ones), having succeeded, having come to achievement and redefinition in a time of great darkness, and despite such darkness producing joy, new accomplishment and increased connection —and all while bearing the mark of the Apollo’s Laurel—, that seems to be so meaningful and valuably illustrated by Asteris. For he could have shined light on the participants, he could have adequately and functionally produced, but he did not; he did much more.

Hence, we see in the first moments, in the exposition of the work:
1) The Heart: The physical embodiment of the choice to unconditionally love and focus on others.
2) The Star: The light which shines and enchants us, which by its indefinableness gives us the chance to think and believe in a way which, unique, causes a positive psychological effect, and especially in the greatest darkness.
3) The Emblem of Olympiacos: The Laurel Crown which carries the meaning of such unconditional love which, worn on the head of the adolescent (symbolically meaning that it is shown/offered/demonstrated/taught, by whatever means, to the youth of any generation), may guide them to finding within the self the purpose of selfless giving and connection, of the unconditional focus of love, and come to receive the nourishment which results from a completer truth or understanding of self, a growth, aliveness as the interaction which is change or redefinition having found new meaning during sympathetic identification with others; what arrives when we dream, hope, observe, interact, give selflessly to those distinct from us, seemingly separate from us (like a tree), despite antagonistic conditions (like a pandemic), by having been guided by others to see that there is something to seek and that it can bring great joy, meaning, energy and connection (as in the achievement of a team, or the creation of Asteris).

Soon after in the work, the emblem, as with the people, athletes and fans of history, become purely light (light, as they are when carried across time and space, as meaning) which is shined onto the field. They become perceivable again, they come into interaction with the present now as energy, meaning, light, yet, alive again (as life is interaction) when they are redefined, changed by this immediately enacted 45th achievement (and one which took place despite darkness). What happened on the field where they now become perceivable, as light/meaning, is what has made them perceivable. They, shining, becoming apparent and interacting, alive, remind us of and unify us in their meaning and their source. We are reminded that they may only come to be seen if and when an individual or group of individuals enters into choice and action in the immediate to give themselves, their effort, for others; so, bringing into the present interaction and making available for the future the light of the past which guided them to make such selfless choice.

We see here, and from Asteris poignant text, that “We are the World”. That the World will become what we give to it, and what we become within it; that it will become based on what we do with it today, now. That “Life is Beautiful”, “Όμορφή ζωή”. That it is our admiration of and connection with the World immediate, no matter how seemingly distinct, antagonistic,

dissonant, or enigmatic its forces/factors/conditions, which is our source of that loving identification which may bring us meaning, connection and nourishment.
Images of peace, brotherhood across cultures and peoples, connections between eras, within families and across borders all lend more implications to the possible power of the meaning held within the Laurel Crown, now saturating the field as light; the light which great immediate action has incited, again, into existence; the light which has burned and been passed, as a torch, for millennia, now held by Asteris.

It is shown that it is dreaming, “We keep on dreaming!”, which brings about such greatness, union, reason for celebration and creation; which brings into interaction with the immediate the light of the past. It is limitlessness findable by the unfixable meaning/potential/value in the nature of stars and stories, Gods and mythologies, symbols and creations, that permits the belief which allows us to interact selflessly, unassumingly, in a non-encumbering way with a tree, with someone different from us, an uncertain future or an antagonistic immediate; in a way which can show us new meaning about ourselves and others. Redefine the past. Create the World.

{We are no longer the 44-time winners; we are the 45-time winners who, despite darkness and recalling our role as a symbol, a connector of people, and carrying ancient messages which have united all of our people throughout history —changing the world entirely—, sacrificed today, to shape the World in this way.

I am no longer Apollo chasing Daphne, but the God who shows that, despite the loss of the physical/material object of his admiration, he retains the choice to love that in which he may see, imagine or remember his beloved; no matter how distinct from him an ‘other’ appears, he may look into it lovingly and find that of the beloved which he admired, and feel connection; that it is that unconditional love which allows one to find in that which is ever- present, like a Laurel tree, a sense of union; he becomes the one which holds the light of this meaning, the function and purpose of unconditional love, in a crown made of Laurel.}

It is that which we may hold in autonomy, which we may choose (especially provided by that which is indefinable), which is our freedom. “Have Faith”, “Be Free”, “…Keep on dreaming”, Asteris says. It is this type of choice and freedom of thought which redefines and changes something like ten years of loss or failure into an “Uphill” battle toward a most- rewarding success. Ten years of loss is redefined as the qualifying factor and necessary process for our most profound success. This is how we shape the World. Only with belief, by dreaming, by choosing to have faith in that which we can belief in ourselves, by ourselves, can we look out, can we seek without fear, without self-doubt, ego or assumption, in a way which allows us to find new meaning through our connection to others.

Asteris draws the parallel between the winning a team can do, the belief a person can have, and the survival of a species (“Survive!”) which, for its idiosyncratic humanness to be present (without these human-particular traits, it is not humanity that survives, but rather humanity which is extinguished, becoming a non-human entity), must engage in such connective gestures during each generation, no matter the circumstances.

He shows the masked children of the future looking out with some unsureness, donning their masks in obedience and concern, and yet being shown that there is a reason to win, to succeed, to fight, to be free, to search, to find, and to create the World by their choices and actions. He makes clear that this message offered by himself and the Olympiacos team is not only to the youth, not only to Olympiacos fans, not only to the Greek people, but to the entire World; for it is the World which is addressed by such messages.

And he shows that it takes real individuals, on single days, from specific neighborhoods and tiny villages, making the choice to connect, to give, to be selfless and sympathetic in identification with all others —as is symbolized/embodied by the unconditional Love of the Laurel-Crown, the love of the other, the tree, allowing us to find identification within it and a sense of union through it, in autonomy, forever—, a choice which we always possess the ability to make, but which can only be made alone, during each generation, for such a message to reach future.

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Asteris reminds us, shows us, guides us to seeing that it is having a dream, a belief, hope, faith, and by creating, attempting, connecting, sharing, giving, in the now, which is the very foundation of the message offered in the mark worn by the team which executed such choice in this year’s competition. His astounding and profound artistry asks the viewer to wonder why they are weeping, why they are so awestruck beyond that way they might be by some gymnastic and bombastic display. He shows us through what he chooses to emphasize, repeat, vary and place before us in elapsing time, such truths, and makes perceivable such messages.

It is our possessing the “Hope”, “Dreaming”, using the “Love”, and choosing to “Create” in the immediate, in the now, despite darkness and antagonism —despite what seem to be limitations and discouragement; despite a sense of uselessness, fear and unsureness—, that allows us to find in others, in connection, that which inspires us. And it is by taking action now, creating now, spreading the light we found represented and embodied in the choice of others to take action, as did the Olympiacos team for their region, as did the creators of the mythology which, passed for millennia, still burns with meaning on the team’s flag, that we become the Light for the next one who needs it; “Lights of Hope” in the dark, like Asteris, for Humanity across the World and all of Time.

Nana Trandou and Daniel J. Hyde