Helen’s Dress @ VIENNA ART WEEK


Helen’s Dress: The Tsakonian Dress (Tzoubelou)

The archaic origins of powerful women’s attire


• e-Residency: 20 – 22 August 2021

• Exhibition I: Leonidio, Arcadia (22 – 29 October 2021)

• Exhibition II: Puuul Gallery_VIENNA ART WEEK (5 – 20 Νovember 2021)

• LIVE online presentation (20 November 2021)

• Catalogue edition in SMCK Magazine For Independent Artists (November 2021 issue)

Open call:

Helen’s Dress – The Tsakonian Dress (Tzoubelou) is a combined digital/physical project consisting of an intensive 3-day virtual residency & workshop (part I), plus a doublegallery exhibition in Leonidio, Arcadia and Vienna, Austria (part II). Additionally, project participants will be presented online in a moderated live online event (part III) and in SMCK Magazine’s 5th digital and print issue.

The project applies to multimedia and interdisciplinary artists, jewelry and fashion designers, performers who wish to combine various disciplines, such as jewelry and textile art, story telling, mythology and performance.

The goal is to create new works and objects, a photo narrative and a video.


Helen is the immortal daughter Zeus and Leda. Like her mother, Helen is the queen of Sparta. She is the personification of beauty, the ruler, the cause of war, the mistress, the faithful and the unfaithful wife, the mother, the scapegoat. Like the moon – her name’s meaning in Greek – Helen gets lost and comes back.

How did this divine woman dress? We may guess by studying the Tsakonian Tzoubelou dress, scarlet and gold, gown and skirt, topped by a delicate velvet fes, and worn over a long white dalmatica shirt.

The art/design project reconstructs Helen’s identity throughthe mediatextile, jewelry, performance, photography and video. Artists and designers participatein an intensive 3-day e-Residency in late August 2021 and reflect on the mythical figure of Helen.

Helen’s Dress e-Residency aims at inspiring artists, designers, writers, performers and photographers to develop their own contemporary version of the ancient Greek myth. The archaic red and golden Tzoubelou dress of Tsakonia will be the starting point to deal with non-verbal expressions of feminity, hierarchy, power, women’s history, glamor, awe and pride. The 3-day workshop program also addresses current issues that have a negative impact on women’s lives, such as misogyny, abuse, manipulation, fake news, conflict.

The e-Residency introduces artists into the tradition of Greek art and culture, emphasizing narrative, Greek mythology, jewelry art, dress culture, women’s history, performance and design.

It also aims to deal with applied art and design questions on how dresses may reflect power, determination, empathy, feminity, dominance, sexuality.

Double exhibition / online and magazine presentation:

Participants’ work – objects, photo narrative, video – will be presented in two group exhibitions.

The first exhibition (22-29 October 2021) will take place in the 19th century historical town of Leonidio in Arcadia, Greece. The town is famous for preserving Greece’s oldest traditions, including textiles, kilims and dresses, the doric dialect, dance and architecture. The dates chosen refer to the autumn holiday season for Greek and foreign visitors. The exhibition will present participants’ photos and videos in public buildings, cultural venues and private spaces in the historical heart of Leonidio.

The second exhibition takes place in Puuul Gallery in downtown Vienna, Austria, from (5 – 20 November 2021), during Vienna Art Week (13-20 Νovember 2021).

An interactive online presentation of participants (interviews and videos), as well as a website documentation, will promote participants’ work to art specialists, collectors and art lovers around the globe.

The project will be documented and presented in the fifth issue of SMCK Magazine.


e-Residency concept:

The idea of the eResidency program reflects the tradition of 18th and 19th century travelers in Greece whose impressions greatly influenced artists and intellectuals in their own countries. Johann Joachim Winckelmann, archaeologist and founder of the Art History discipline, for example, never visited Greece, but developed his approach based on what he had read or heard from travelers. German poets Goethe and Hoelderlin found inspiration in Greek antiquity without ever having visited the country. The rediscovery of “Greek aesthetics” in art, architecture and fashion, and the revival of democracy in the age of enlightenment was more a product of imagination than of physical presence.

references: A similar eResidency – Helen’s Dress – exclusively designed for and funded by Stavros Niarchos Foundation, was realized by us in June 2020 after their original idea “Helen’s Dress”.

For project documentation, please visit:

Helen’s Dress Flipbook: http://www.favelab.net/flipbooks/HelensDress-draft/mobile/index.html

Saturnalia: https://youtu.be/dpefkPDrhmg

Helen in Sparta: https://youtu.be/WWsOJaoTmKg

KLIMT02 / Helen Of Sparta: https://klimt02.net/forum/articles/helens-dress-e-residency-mythology-embroidery-performance-gender-zlr-betriebsimperium

Workshop details (21 hours in total):

• From Greek mythology to narrative: 5 hours.

• Performance: 6 hours.

• Video scenario: 3 hours.

• Easy video techniques: 1 hours.

• From Greek crafts (textile, jewelry, ceramics) to contemporary design: 4 hours.

• Objects as performance inspiration: 1 hour.

• Individual coaching: 2×30 minutes per artist.

Application deadline: 1 August 2021.

Number of participants: Max. 20 artists.

Disciplines: Visual artists, jewellery artists and designers, fashion designers, writers, performers. Daily workshops on mythology, history of culture, performance, Greek crafts, Greek jewellery, Greek traditional dress, narrative and performance guide artists to prepare their own story, performance and objects.

Fee: 380 € paid by each participant in two installments.

Support: We grant letters of support to (selected) artists who wish to apply for funding.

Expectations towards the artist: Artists are expected to attend the eResidency programme, and to deliver for the exhibitions: one to six objects, a performance video, a photographic narrative (1-3 images) reflecting the eResidency theme. Artists’ statements and pictures will be published in SMCK Magazine.

More information / links:





Image Caption/ Open Call:

Tsakonian dancers in Leonidio, Greece.

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